Statement on Cumberland Farms property
Michael P. O'Connor
Over the past several weeks, Mass Audubon has received a number of requests from members and stakeholder groups to play an active role in protecting the 1,500-plus-acre Cumberland Farms property in Middleboro and Halifax.
Mass Audubon designated the Cumberland Farms land as an Important Bird Area (IBA) due to its large concentrations of a variety of bird species, including migrant shorebirds and waterfowl, wintering raptors, and some grassland breeding birds. The area contains at least six state-listed species, and six species of high conservation priority, including; American Kestrel, Northern Bobwhite, American Woodcock, Alder Flycatcher, Bobolink, and Eastern Meadowlark.
Over the years, Mass Audubon, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlands Trust, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts made numerous attempts at protecting the land, most recently in 2011 when our market-rate offer was flatly declined by the landowners.
When we became aware that the Cumberland Farms property was scheduled to go to auction, we quickly engaged in due diligence with our partners—Wildlands Trust, Manomet, the Conservation Law Foundation, and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.
After many meetings and discussions recently with stakeholders, we are exploring all options to protect the property again. As deliberations continue and as the auction nears, we hope to find a viable path to saving this IBA.
Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 160,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at www.massaudubon.org.