The Department of Conservation & Recreation partners with Falmouth Housing Trust and 300 Committee Land Trust on new project that conserves land and creates affordable housing on Cape Cod.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) today announced they have partnered with The 300 Committee Land Trust and the Falmouth Housing Trust on a project that will conserve and protect the water quality and ecological health of Bourne Pond in Falmouth and create much needed affordable housing in the community. This collaboration reflects the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect and enhance the state’s natural resources for the well-being of residents across Massachusetts.

“At DCR, we’re committed to working with our partners on projects like this that create healthy communities by preserving and promoting our public lands,” said DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo. “This public private partnership is a great example of how we can work with our partners to achieve our shared goals – of protecting our environment and creating much needed affordable housing in a region of critical need.”

The transaction was successfully completed on Friday, June 7, 2024, after a three-year effort by DCR and the Trusts. The project, located in Falmouth, will combine DCR’s land and resource protection work with the production of urgently needed affordable housing in a 3.7-acre area between Bourne Pond and the Waquoit Highway. The initiative showcases the state’s commitment to innovative solutions for complex challenges. The project will permanently preserve 2.7 acres on Bourne Pond under DCR’s stewardship as part of the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (WBNERR). The remaining acre of land along the Waquoit Highway was acquired by the Falmouth Housing Trust and will be used for the creation of five affordable deed restricted housing units for sale to households earning up to 80% and up to 120% of area median income for Barnstable County. The work between these three groups demonstrates the power of collective action in achieving shared goals.

“Although our primary focus will always be preserving open space, The 300 Committee Land Trust is increasingly on the lookout for redevelopment opportunities with non-profit partners to alleviate Cape Cod’s dire shortage of affordable housing,” said Jessica Whritenour, The 300 Committee’s Executive Director. “This partnership marries two goals so often pitted against each other: open space preservation and affordable housing development.”

“The Falmouth Housing Trust is very excited to be a part of this land acquisition partnership,” said Laura Moynihan, Executive Director of the Falmouth Housing Trust. “Which brings together state and local resources to allow for housing to be built and sold to our working families while at the same time preserving environmentally significant land.”

DCR’s 2.7 acre parcel falls within the Waquoit Bay Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), a designation that recognizes the area’s extraordinary natural resources. This project will safeguard the water quality and ecological health of Bourne Pond as well as the downstream waterbodies of Bog Pond, Caleb Pond, and Waquoit Bay, all of which have seen a sharp decline in water quality over the past decade.

Through this partnership with The 300 Committee Land Trust and the Falmouth Housing Trust, DCR is setting a precedent for future endeavors that address both conservation and housing challenges. The agency remains committed to preserving Massachusetts’ natural beauty and enhancing the quality of life for all residents in Falmouth and beyond.