Wareham: Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, History and More at Iconic Fearing Hill

  Katherine Harrelson 

The iconic Fearing Hill in West Wareham is a forest of pristine biodiversity and should be preserved, not developed.

The map below, courtesy of MassMapper, shows that the site contains state-identified Prime Forest Land, wetlands, and a potential vernal pool.

Location: 91 & 101 Fearing Hill Road, Wareham

Owner: Joe Crespi, 96 Realty LLC

Area Impacted: Approximately 22 acres of deforestation for solar proposed

Natural Resources: The site consists of 44-acres of pristine, untouched, globally rare Pine Barrens forest. The site forms a continuous expanse of forest and wildlife corridor with the adjacent 66-acre town-owned Fearing Hill conservation land. The forest is home to native species of plants and animals.

Water Supply: Although not located on a high yield or medium yield aquifer, the site serves as a groundwater recharge area for many private downgradient wells.

Wetlands and Waterways: According to a wetlands delineation report by Goddard Consulting, LLC, a bordering vegetated wetland system is located on the northeast portion of the property, which extends into the Town-owned conservation land adjacent. The center of the property is Fearing Hill at an elevation of 94 ft above msl. There is a slight north-south ridge along the center of the property; the northeastern portion of the property drains to the bordering vegetated wetland system, located within the Weweantic River watershed. The southwestern portion of the property drains to an isolated vegetated wetland system located along the western property boundary, located within the Sippican River watershed. Fearing Hill serves as a watershed divide between the two rivers.

Threatened and Endangered Species: Wareham is home to the Red Bellied Cooter turtle, the Northern Diamond Backed Terrapin turtle, and the Eastern Box Turtle. Abutters to the site have found Red Bellied Cooter, Eastern Box Turtle, and the endangered Eastern Rat Snake on a property adjacent to the site. Fearing Hill provides ample habitat for all of these species; a rare species survey of the property is recommended.

Archaeological Significance: The Wampanoag People have lived within, cultivated, and honored this land since Time Immemorial. There is an ancient way (a road pre-dating colonial times) running along the property. An archaeological survey conducted by the Public Archaeological Laboratory in 2023 found evidence of Indigenous use of the land.

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