Historic Tiverton Farm Protected from Future Development

The Peckham property in Tiverton, R.I., adds to an existing 310-acre protected area that includes the state-owned Sapowet Marsh Wildlife Management Area. (TNC)

The Peckham property in Tiverton, R.I., adds to an existing 310-acre protected area that includes the state-owned Sapowet Marsh Wildlife Management Area. (TNC)

By ecoRI News staff

TIVERTON, R.I. — The late Lucinda Wilcox Peckham left a conservation easement on a historic 32-acre farm, according to The Nature Conservancy. The parcel is just west of the former Nonquit School on Puncatest Neck Road, near Tiverton Four Corners.

Peckham, a longtime Tiverton resident who died in September 2015, provided for the farm’s preservation in her estate plan. According to her wishes, the property has been transferred to her niece, Penelope Neville, ensuring that the land remains in the family as it has been for more than 300 years. She also directed that a permanent conservation easement be assigned to the The Nature Conservancy (TNC), guaranteeing that the farm, with its areas of hayfield, forest and salt marsh, will be kept as such forever.

“This is a wonderful capstone gift, building on 20 years of land protection work around Sapowet Marsh,” said John Berg, manager of TNC’s Sakonnet program. “We are deeply grateful to Mrs. Peckham for her generous gift, and for entrusting The Nature Conservancy with the preservation of her farm, which has immense value for wildlife.”

The Peckham property adds to an existing 310-acre protected area that includes the state-owned Sapowet Marsh Wildlife Management Area and the Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge, held by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. It also preserves a vital habitat connection of coastal shrubland, oak-hickory forest, hayfield and freshwater swamp between Sapowet Marsh to the north and Nonquit Pond and the TNC’s Fogland Marsh Preserve to the south.

Sapowet Marsh provides outstanding habitat for saltmarsh sparrows, egrets, ducks and many other water birds, according to Berg. In addition, the coastal zone of the Peckham property contains a significant border of coastal thicket, which provides food and cover for migratory songbirds. Protection of the Peckham property also helps maintain the character of Sapowet as a coastal marsh framed by forest.