“YES” on Question 1 could Protect the Pawcatuck’s Wild and Scenic Status
We offer this example of Charlestown land that could be preserved to protect both wildlife and outdoor recreation. This is just one of many examples of the remaining land in Charlestown that is worthy of protection.
The Pawcatuck River forms the Northern border of Charlestown. The United States Congress has nominated this river that forms a beautiful frame around our town for Federal designation as a Wild and Scenic River. The Wild and Scenic River status recognizes the presence of plant and animal species of national significance. The Pawcatuck River watershed supports more than 60 percent of our state’s populations of rare plants and animals, including those listed under the regulatory authority of Federal and State Endangered Species laws.
Hundreds of acres of undeveloped land in Charlestown border the river and contain not only the river and associated wetlands, but also uplands that are easily developed. The river is rated “pristine” through most of Charlestown. Undeveloped land along the river benefits wildlife, but also enhances the experience of canoeists and kayakers who come from all over Rhode Island to paddle the Pawcatuck.
All of this remaining land along the river may eventually be developed, but we believe there is still time to save some of it. DEM and the Nature Conservancy have made preservation of land along the Pawcatuck a priority, but their investment usually requires matching funds, funds that might be available if voters approve Question 1 at the June 1st referendum.