delware environmental institute

News Journal: 1,200 acres preserved near Odessa

At 1,250 acres, the Roberts family farms were one of the last large holdings in southeastern New Castle County. Late last month, three conservation groups, The Mount Cuba Center, The Conservation Fund and Delaware Wild Lands, purchased the properties. The land, to be managed by Delaware Wild Lands, becomes part of a swath of thousands of acres of protected open space that stretches from the state-owned Augustine and Cedar Swamp wildlife areas south to Wild Land's 3,500 acres at Taylors Bridge and more state holdings at Blackbird Creek Reserve.

"This is one of the last big properties in the heart of the coastal zone," said Blaine Phillips Jr., senior vice president with the Conservation Fund. "This is the linchpin for Delaware Bay."

The land, with wetlands, rolling high grounds, woods and plenty of history, has been on the conservation community's radar screen for years. Some 639 acres of it were targeted for a 250-home subdivision.