The addition of a 1,250 acre farm brings the total amount of contiguous protected lands to more than 10,000 acres.
The Taylors Bridge Roberts Farm near Odessa in southern New Castle County had been one of the biggest tracts of land yet to be protected from development in the coastal zone. But that’s changed now thanks to funding from the Mt. Cuba Center. Using a grant from Mt. Cuba, The Conservation Fund purchased the farm and donated it to Delaware Wild Lands for permanent protection and management.
“The Roberts Farm is a key linchpin for wildlife habitat and water quality protection in the upper part of the Delaware Bay because of its large size, important location and careful management,” said Blaine Phillips. “This property has been a priority for protection for over twenty years.”
The newly protected land features freshwater tidal wetlands and the remnants of forested coastal plain ponds. DWL will put together a management plan for the long term, which will include farming, hunting, trapping, wildlife tours and bird walks. The property will also be made available for research and educational groups.
“Protection of the Roberts Farm represents an extension of Delaware Wild Lands’ success 50 years ago in preventing the construction of a Shell Oil Refinery in this Bayshore region,” said Kate Hacket executive director of Delaware Wild Lands. That fight against the refinery eventually helped secure passage of the Coastal Zone Act of 1971, Hacket said.
The Roberts Farm joins the 5,500 acre Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area and another 4,500 acres owned and protected by DWL.
“Protection of these 1,250 acres and my family legacy is a remarkable accomplishment for my family and for the future of Delaware,” said former landowner Chris Roberts. “I am pleased to know that this property will be forever protected.”
DWL will host an open house at the farm next spring.