Facts about the Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve
A publication by the Bioreserve
What is the Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve?
The Southeastern Massachusetts
Bioreserve is a large area of protected land just east of downtown
Fall River.The purpose of the over 13,600 acre Bioreserve is
to protect, restore and enhance the biological diversity and
ecological integrity of a large scale ecosystem representative
of the region; to permanently protect public water supplies and
cultural resources; to offer interpretive and educational programs;
and to provide opportunities for appropriate public use and enjoyment
of this natural environment.
What is a bioreserve?
A bioreserve is a large land area that is permanently protected from development and managed to ensure the long term health of the natural resources. The concept, which originated in a program of the United Nations, aims to balance conservation of biological diversity, protection of cultural resources, economic development, and human activity.
Why establish a bioreserve here?
is one of the fastest growing regions in the state. Statewide
we lose 44 acres of open space to development every day, and
in this region sprawl is consuming land at three times the rate
of population growth. In establishing the Bioreserve, we seized
a rare opportunity to protect a large, contiguous forest with
diverse habitats and natural communities.
What is the economic development component of this Bioreserve?
In exchange for the City of Fall River's participation in the Bioreserve partnership, The Fall River Redevelopment Authority will receive 300 acres of the state forest from the Commonwealth to create a business park. This executive park will generate up to 2,200 new jobs for Fall River and the surrounding communities. There will be no economic development activities within the protected lands of the Bioreserve.
Who owns the Bioreserve?
The Bioreserve lands are owned and managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Fall River, and The Trustees of Reservations. The state will continue to own the state forest and wildlife area and is purchasing most of the Acushnet Saw Mills property. The City will continue to own the watershed lands, which will be managed by the Water Board and Water Department. The Trustees of Reservations is purchasing 508 acres of the Acushnet Saw Mills property. In addition, the state will own a conservation restriction on the City's watershed lands and The Trustees' property, which is an added layer of legal protection that ensure's the land will never be developed.
How will the Bioreserve be managed?
The partners, working with a group of local stakeholders, are developing a joint management plan for the Bioreserve that will cover a wide range of issues, including forest and wildlife management, water supply protection, and public access. Each partner has agreed to manage its lands in a manner compatible with the plan and designed to achieve the goals of the Bioreserve. The partners have also pledged to jointly manage and maintain the Bioreserve so as to maximize the use of funding and staff resources.
How can the public participate in developing the plan?
The partners and the advisory group hold monthly meetings on the second Thursday of every month that are open to the public. In addition, the planning team will hold several public forums and a public comment period to gather ideas for and to discuss the management plan before it is finalized. The draft and final plans will be available at local libraries and other public locations.
Will the public be able to use the Bioreserve?
in a way compatible with the long term protection of the ecological,
water supply, and cultural resources of the Bioreserve is one
of our primary goals. The joint management plan will state what
activities are permitted in specific areas of the Bioreserve.
Will there be a visitors' center or programs at the Bioreserve?
As part of the partnership agreement, The Trustees of Reservations will build and operate a visitors center for the Bioreserve that will offer a range of interpretive and educational programs related to the history, land use, water resources, and ecological features of the Bioreserve. The Trustees will work with community leaders, local organizations, and the public to develop programs that serve the needs of the residents of greater Fall River and New Bedford.
Where can I get maps showing current trails and information about permitted uses?
Maps with current property boundaries and trails, as well as information about permitted uses, are available at the headquarters of the Freetown/Fall River State Forest, Slab Bridge Road, Assonet, MA - 508-644-5522; and at the DEM website: http://www.state.ma.us/DEM/Parks
Key features of the Bioreserve:
Significant natural features:
Significant historical and cultural features: