Chappy farm protection effort gets $1.25 million boost

The Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation and Land Bank received funding to help preserve Pimpneymouse Farm.

Poucha Pond— Courtesy of Michael Johnson

Efforts to acquire and protect over 100 acres on Chappaquiddick are set to receive a significant state-backed boost, the Healey-Driscoll administration announced Monday.

Through the Landscape Partnership Grant Program, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) will be supporting six projects to improve and expand public recreational opportunities, water supply, ecosystems, and habitats.

One of those projects is the protection of 166 acres at Pimpneymouse Farm on Chappaquiddick, which consists of farmland and forestland, along with part of the Island’s largest salt marsh, Poucha Pond. 

The hopeful stewards of the property, Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation and the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission, will be awarded $1.25 million to help with the purchase. They plan to enhance responsible access to the vast landscape by improving existing trail connections to abutting protected areas. 

“We’re delighted,” Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation president Adam Moore told The Times this week. “It’s an honor to be working on preserving this beautiful property.” 

While the organization is still working on raising money for the purchase, Moore said the foundation is looking forward to carrying on the legacy of Edo Potter, perhaps Pimpneymouse’s most noticeable resident. 

Before her death in 2018, Potter, a lauded Vineyard conservationist, had helped in the creation of the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation and the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, in addition to having served on boards for the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, Edgartown Conservation, and the Trustees of Reservations.

In her role as an Edgartown Select Board member in the 1980s, Potter is credited with having spearheaded efforts to protect more than 500 acres in town. 

Potter was the daughter of Charles Welch, who first bought the land in the late 1920s with hopes to use it as a hunting camp, before it was transformed into a working farm — later dubbed Pimpneymouse. The property has since been in the hands of Welch’s descendants, who will remain on existing, neighboring property.

The state grant funding is part of a larger effort aimed at building climate change resilience, and enhancing and protecting large acreages of land throughout the commonwealth. 

“We’re investing to protect our forests and agricultural land, while strengthening our communities. This program is just one example of how we’re taking a whole-of-government approach to making Massachusetts more resilient,” Gov. Maura Healey said in Monday’s press release. “Our administration is proud to assist these communities in acquiring land and creating vibrant, accessible green space that will boost the quality of life in Massachusetts.”

State Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante said that the investment will help strike a balance between preservation of natural areas and wildlife and maintaining access for residents who “respectfully use these places as areas of respite and recreation, [providing] improved quality of life for our residents.” 

“Wilderness conservation and access to green spaces are critical to the balance of life for both the commonwealth’s environment and that of its residents,” she said.