Maintenance & Management Plans
Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation has the distinct honor of being the steward of the more than 2,000 acres of Martha’s Vineyard that we own, and the steward of the 850 acres of land over which we hold conservation restrictions. As the steward, Sheriff’s Meadow is responsible for caring for each property and the natural resources of each property. Stewardship includes such tasks as providing good habitat for rare plants and animals, making arable soils available for island farmers, maintain trails, footbridges and points of public access, tending fields and meadows, caring for woodlands, monitoring for rare birds, restoring native plants and eliminating invasive ones, posting signs, maintaining public views and more. For the land that Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation owns the fee interest in, all stewardship proceeds according to property management plans.
A proper management plan considers the goals for a given property, examines the natural resources of that property, and, based on the goals and the resources, establishes how the property is to be managed. For each property, we consider the ecological, agricultural and community potential of the land. At Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, Director of Stewardship Kristen Fauteux drafts our management plans. Each plan is reviewed by the Executive Director, and then each plan is submitted to our Property Management Committee for review and approval. For some properties, this level of plan approval is sufficient to adopt the plan and to begin to implement it. Yet for most of our lands, we also obtain the approval of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Specifically, for properties that fall within what the Commonwealth’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program has determined to be zones of “priority habitat,” these plans must be approved by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.
Once all plan approvals have been obtained, Sheriff’s Meadow then implements the plan. All plans are based on an ecological inventory, and Sheriff’s Meadow is striving to improve and update our inventories, and thereby our understanding of our properties. Plans may call for a more thorough or targeted inventory to be conducted. Currently, Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation conducts inventories through the work of our staff, through contract ecologists, and through volunteer assistance. We strive to provide the most complete and accurate record of the plants and animals living on and using our lands, and to monitor how this changes over time. Sheriff's Meadow Foundation has management plans in place for all of its lands. These plans will be updated every ten years, on a rotating schedule. If the situation warrants, though, a plan can be revised at any time.