The Nantucket Land & Water Council, Inc. was conceived and organized in 1974 by Nantucket citizens who cherished the island’s pristine natural setting and who were troubled by increasing environmental degradation and loss of rural character.  The purpose of the NLC is to astutely defend Nantucket’s natural resources–ground water, ponds and harbors, salt marshes, rare species, beaches, dunes and natural habitats.  The most effective method is to preserve open space.

The founders also were offended that a few individuals were converting “owners unknown” land into personal gain. Therefore, from the outset, part of NLC’s mission was to be prepared to take legal action to shield undeveloped land from dubious claims and to protect it for public benefit.

Over thirty years, with the enabling endorsement of an expanding and dedicated membership and a diverse and dynamic Board of Directors, the NLC has effectively undertaken extensive title research and conducted costly court challenges solely to preserve significant open space areas throughout Nantucket County. These techniques, coupled with the NLC’s determined patience and tenacious commitment to do whatever it takes to conserve the Island’s special natural resources, have proven highly successful.

The Nantucket Land & Water Council is the island’s sole non-profit organization dedicated to advocacy on behalf of the environment. We pay attention, raise awareness and take action on proposed land uses, including developments and projects, as well as systemic issues with a potential or actual negative impact to our land and water resources. Today we are proud to: advocate for the protection of natural resources; seek further conservation opportunities, particularly through Conservation Restrictions (Easements); monitor local growth and development; conduct environmental research; participate in local planning and policy and offer educational grants and programs that foster an appreciation for Nantucket’s natural world.

Since its founding in 1974, the Nantucket Land & Water Council has effectively protected more than 1,500 acres of land through our Conservation Restriction program alone. Of the additional properties which were purchased outright, most have now been conveyed to other Nantucket conservation groups, particularly the Nantucket Conservation Foundation and Nantucket Islands Land Bank, which are equipped to manage large tracts of land.