Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust and North County Land Trust (NCLT) have joined forces, with local residents, to protect 200+ acres of forest at the southern reaches of Lake Monomonac. Originating in the hills of New Hampshire’s Wapack Range, the Millers River flows south to Winchendon, MA, where dams dating back to the colonial era form the distinctive 700-acre Lake Monomonac.
Conserving forestland is especially important to water quality because forests function as natural sponges, collecting rain and releasing it slowly into rivers and lakes. The forest’s soil filters sediments and other pollutants from the water, producing clean water more cost-effectively than any human-made water treatment system.
The construction of over 200 camp lots overlooking the lake had been proposed at one point, which would have dramatically impacted the water quality and scenic beauty of the lake. Conserving this land also helps secure the watershed of both the lake and White’s Mill Pond which then flow into Whitney Pond and the Millers River.
We’re all connected by water and the forested lands through which it flows, and by working together we can protect both. Watershed boundaries are created by mountains, valleys or ridges and rarely fall neatly within city or state lines. This makes the partnerships among many organizations essential for the conservation of these important regions. Mount Grace and NCLT are working in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, a local private conservation buyer, town administrators, both the Winchendon Springs Lake Association and the Monomonac Lake Property Owners Association, and many concerned Winchendon and New Hampshire residents.
Conserving this land would link the Winchendon Springs Wildlife Management Area to hundreds of acres of forest conserved by the Town of Winchendon. Parts of this landscape are considered crucial habitat by Massachusetts’ Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, so this larger connectivity ensures that species can migrate through diverse habitats to provide greater resilience to climate change.
Mount Grace’s Leigh Youngblood Conservation Opportunity Fund was utilized for initial costs, but the permanent conservation of these forested hills, vernal pools, wetlands and river channel on the south end of Lake Monomonac will require broad community support. Mount Grace and NCLT are unified on the goal of ensuring the land is open for recreation and continues to provide critical wildlife habitat for the Millers River headwaters.
You can support projects like this by supporting the ongoing work of Mount Grace. Find out more by visiting: savemonomonac.org!