Priority Ponds Project

pond with fall foliage in backgroundSpecial focus on preserving pond watershed lands

In 1990, the first land given to Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT) for preservation was a property on Mill Pond donated by Helen & Ellsworth Standish. Since then, HCT has protected over 740 acres, including 283 pond watershed acres with more than 10,000 feet of shoreline across 14 different ponds.

The goal of the Priority Ponds Project is to provide landowners with land conservation options that help protect pond water quality and wildlife habitat.

The Priority Ponds Project is a campaign under the Trust’s broader Save Land—Save Water Initiative to save lands that help protect both fresh and coastal water resources.

The Trust’s Harwich Priority Ponds Project is important because according to a two-year regional study completed by The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts (, click Regional Projects) many Harwich ponds are at risk.

Capewide, the study identified 200 high priority pondfront lands, which, if acquired as open space, could help protect water quality, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities.

Harwich holds 10% of the total Capewide priority acreage. Properties are strung across 14 ponds in Harwich, tied with Barnstable for the most ponds with priority parcels.

HCT is striving to save the most important pond watershed lands before they are lost to development.

With its Priority Ponds Project, the Trust has preserved significant acreage around sensitive ponds, including:

  • 1990: 0.33-acre with 95 feet on Mill Pond (land donated by Helen & Ellsworth Standish)
  • 2001: 5.9 acres with 775 feet on Sand Pond (purchase from Valerie Wester)
  • 2002: 8.7 acres with 563 feet on Katie’s Pond (purchase from Dorothy Rose)
  • 2002: 5.3 acres with 660 feet on Long Pond (conservation restriction donated by Janet Griffin; land & home remain privately owned)
  • 2003: 0.08 acre with 20 feet on Sand Pond (land donated by Victoria Doane)
  • 2003: 5.2 acres with 471 feet on Hinckleys Pond (conservation restriction donated by Anne & Joe Welch; land & home remain privately owned)
  • 2003: 13.3 acres with 900 feet on Walkers Pond (town purchase from Flora Krumin; HCT holds conservation restriction)
  • 2005: 0.5 acre with 174 feet on Katie’s Pond (land donated by Sumner & Lilian Tye)
  • 2007: 24 acres with 1,248 feet on Hinckleys Pond and 783 feet on Seymour’s Pond, plus a total of 959 feet on two herring runs (conservation restriction donated by Rita Root & family; land remains privately owned)
  • 2009: 5.86 acres with approximately 402 feet on Long Pond, Cape Cod’s largest pond and also a herring spawning pond (land donated anonymously)
  • 2011: 38.7 acres with 225 feet on Mill Pond (town purchase from Robert Fratus; HCT holds conservation restriction)
  • 2013: 1.48 acres with approximately 150 feet on Seymour’s Pond, a herring spawning pond, as well as 145 feet on the historic Cahoon Canal herring run (land donated by Don & Nancy Bates)
  • 2013: 0.5 acre with 100 feet on Skinequit Pond (conservation restriction donated by James David Power III; land remains privately owned)
  • 2014: 11.34 acres with 171 feet on Sand Pond (purchase from Portside Division, LLC)
  • 2016: 4 acres with 725 feet on West Reservoir (town purchase from Arthur Hall, Sr. & family; HCT holds conservation restriction)
  • 2017: 7.2 acres with 346 feet on Hinckleys Pond (land donated by the Brown family)
  • 2018: 14.9 acres with 1,000 feet on Cornelius Pond (purchase from the Ovaska family)
  • 2021: 6.65 acres in the watershed of Sand Pond (purchase from Martin & Janice Rich)
  • 2022: 30 acres with 225 feet on Hinckleys Pond (purchase from Fred & Barbara Jenkins)
  • 2022: 3.3 acres with 660 feet on Robbins Pond (purchase from Scott Trask)
  • 2022: 1.5 acres in the watershed of Walkers Pond (purchase from Michael London & Emily Friedman)
  • 2023: 42 acres in the watersheds of Aunt Edies, Cornelius & Walkers Ponds (purchase from the Copelas family)
  • 2023: 1.37 acres with 300 feet on White Pond (purchase at bank auction)
Cornelius Pond Woodlands in Autumn by Gus Romano