Nonprofits in three local communities - Cohasset, Kingston, and Middleborough - have been awarded a total of $180,000 by the state to protect open space.
Each community received $60,000, the maximum amount this round, in Conservation Partnership Grants, according to Ian A. Bowles, secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The three were among 11 nonprofits awarded nearly $600,000 to protect more than 463 acres.
Here are what the grants will preserve:
In Cohasset, the Trustees of the Reservations will use the grant to protect 5.6 acres of the Brass Kettle Brook parcels, which have been identified as a core habitat for rare and endangered species, such as the Eastern box turtle and spotted turtle, said Wayne Beitler, a community conservation specialist with the Trustees.
The deal will help protect public drinking water supplies, said Beitler. The land, which will be open for hiking, indirectly connects to the Trustees' Whitney and Thayer Woods and other open spaces, about 4,500 acres.
In Kingston, the Jones River Landing Environmental Heritage Center will use the money for .4 acre of land at the Holmes/Watson Historic Jones River Boatyard, protecting the area from inappropriate development.
In Middleborough, the grant was awarded to the Nature Conservancy for 69.66 acres of the Freitas Property. The three parcels are in what the state called "the heart of a significant archeological district."
The site harbors animals protected under the state Endangered Species Act and includes a portion of the Nemasket River, location of the state's largest herring run. Protected species include wood turtles, red-bellied cooters, and the American bittern, said Robb Johnson, the southeastern Massachusetts director for the Conservancy. A 16-acre parcel surrounds historic Peter Vaughan house, helping preserve the landscape, he said.
The grants are designed to help nonprofit organizations purchase land or interests in lands, such as with conservation agreements, for conservation or recreation, according to the state.
For fiscal 2008, the state is spending more than $1 million to protect land, in two sets of grants.
Matt Carroll can be reached at email@example.com.