The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island is protecting 82 acres of land from housing development in East Providence.
The organization bought the conservation rights from Agawam Hunt, a private country club with a golf course that sits on 130 acres along the Ten Mile River.
The club was facing bankruptcy until the conservancy recently paid $2 million for the development rights to about two-thirds of the property.
"On the piece we just conserved it could have been 68 houses, which would have dramatically changed the watershed there," Scott Comings, associate state director at The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island, said.
A watershed is an area of land that drains into a body of water. Housing development there could have increased the risk of polluted stormwater running off of driveways into the Ten Mile River.
Comings added this piece of land is also important to the local ecosystem.
"Right now, if we were walking there today, we’d see all sorts of birds that are starting to migrate through that wouldn’t have anywhere else to go if it wasn’t for this spot," Comings said.
This fall, The Nature Conservancy plans to construct a new public walking trail on the land and lead up to five guided nature walks each year.
If the country club ever closes permanently, the conservancy plans to turn the area into a public park.
Funding for The Nature Conservancy's purchase was provided by members of Agawam Hunt.