NCLT Partners with Sterling Land Trust on the Gaw Property for Wekepeke Brook Protection in Sterling

The Wekepeke Brook as it flows through the Gaw property.
The Wekepeke Brook as it flows through the Gaw property.

Thanks to the generous donation of Vern and Vikki Gaw of Sterling, North County Land Trust recently acquired a Conservation Restriction on 8 acres of land that will now be open for passive recreation. The Gaws donated their land to Sterling Land Trust who in turn, donated a CR to NCLT.

Straddling the Sterling/Lancaster town line, the property consists generally of wooded marsh with hemlocks, red maples and yellow birch. It is bisected by the Wekepeke Brook, one of the best cold-water streams in Eastern Massachusetts and part of the Nashua River Watershed. It has good tree cover for shading to maintain cold water temperatures, high fertility, moderate acidity and, consequently, has self-supporting populations of brook and brown trout. It is surrounded by land that is considered Priority Habitat by the Natural Heritage and and Endangered Species Program and is close to permanently protected land of Leominster Water Department and Lancaster Town Forest. The entire parcel is in a well head protection zone.

The property is an oasis of beauty in an area that is scarred by man-made alterations. It is bounded on one side by Interstate 190 and on the other by power lines and gravel pits. It is a goal of the most recent Sterling Open Space and Recreation Plan to protect the water resources and wildlife habitat of the Wekepeke Brook and it is hoped that the conservation of this parcel may encourage other landowners along the brook to consider doing the same.

NCLT would like to thank Vern and Vikki Gaw and Sterling Land Trust for making this CR possible.