State’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Program Continuing to Preserve Land for Connecticut Residents
Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that $4.8 million in state grants are being awarded to support the purchase of 1,139 acres of land for 15 projects in 14 Connecticut municipalities that the state will designate to be preserved as open space.
The grants are being awarded through the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition program, which is administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and assists local governments, land trusts, and water companies in purchasing open space using funding from the Community Investment Act and state bond funds. This grant program requires match by the grant recipient and requires the open space land be protected by a conservation and public recreation easement, ensuring that the property is forever protected for public use and enjoyment.
“Connecticut’s tradition of preserving open space has helped define our landscape and preserve its important natural resources and geographical beauty,” Governor Malloy said. “These grants continue our open space preservation legacy and will increase the availability of open space for our residents across our state.”
These open space projects move the State of Connecticut further in achieving its goal of protecting 673,210 acres of land – approximately 21 percent of land in the state. At this time, Connecticut has more than 500,000 acres designated as state or local open space land.
“Since the program began in 1998, more than $125 million in state funding has been awarded to municipalities, nonprofit land conservation organizations, and water companies to assist in the purchase of more than 36,400 acres of land, including farmlands, in 139 cities and towns,” DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said. “These important open space properties protect natural resources and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.”
The December 2018 Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition grant awards announced today include:
Project Title: Simpson Preserve
Sponsor: Town of Bethany
Acreage: 50.88 acres
Description: A wooded, undeveloped parcel of 50.88 acres close to Hockanum Lake, can become part of a greenway of over 980 acres. Found within the Naugatuck River watershed, the Hockanum Brook (aka Lebanon Brook) runs through this bi-geomorphic landscaped parcel. The multi-habitat parcel supports listed/protected species. Existing trails allow the public to link to trails found on town, land trust and state owned open space.
Project Title: 45 West Road
Sponsor: Canton Land Conservation Trust
Acreage: 12 acres
Description: This project constitutes the rear portion of 45 West Road. This parcel will be assimilated into a 39-arce, trust-owned parcel known as Sweeton Pasture Lot (OSWA-293, 2005). This undeveloped woodlot borders 600 feet of Cherry Brook, a major tributary to the Farmington River.
Project Title: Furnace Brook Preserve
Sponsor: Cornwall Conservation Trust
Acreage: 106 acres
Description: This undeveloped, forested parcel (about 80 percent) abuts Wyantenock State Forest and will become part of an unbroken forest block. The project, which composes three separate parcels, includes the northern portion of Coltsfoot Mountain, 800 linear feet of Furnace Brook, and almost a mile boundary with the State Forest. Easily accessible from Route 4, the property has great value for hiking, with an interconnection to the blue-blazed Mohawk Trail.
Town: Deep River
Project Title: Pratt Cove Marsh
Sponsor: Deep River Land Trust
Acreage: 7.2 acres
Description: This project constitutes two separate parcels, a 0.64-acre parcel with waterfront and a 6.75-acre upland parcel, both abutting existing protected open space within Pratt Cove marsh, a critical habitat of the Silvio Conte National Wildlife Refuge. The two parcels abut existing protected open space forming an interconnected habit of just over 28 acres. Both parcels provide public access with parking to trails, a dock, and kayak/canoe launch, with open vistas.
Town: East Haddam
Project Title: Nichols Property
Sponsor: East Haddam Land Trust
Acreage: 87 acres
Description: This undeveloped woodlot has frontage on Tater Hill Road and A.P. Gates Road. The property is fairly level with elevations of 590 to 550, east to west, toward three wetland areas and their associated wildlife habitat. The property is within the Lyme Forest Important Bird Areas, adjacent to the Eightmile Wild and Scenic Watershed. The property features several logging/tractor trails that would enhance public access.
Project Title: 760 Oldfield Road
Sponsor: Town of Fairfield
Acreage: 3.6 acres
Description: This 3.6 acre parcel is principally made up 2.8 acres of tidal wetland, which is part of the Pine Creek Open Space Preserve. The property will offer direct access to Pine Creek, its prime habitat, and Oldfield Road Bridge. The Conservation Commission intends to construct a bird blind for wildlife viewing.
Project Title: Boyd Rixtown
Sponsor: Avalonia Land Conservancy
Acreage: 54 acres
Description: This undeveloped forested acquisition, located in Griswold, will be an addition to the recently approved 409-acre Tri-Town Ridgeline Forest (part of a greenway of over 1400 acres). The parcel has rough terrain (180’ – 510’ above sea level), with rocky ledge, upland forest, ponds and vernal pools. The property is in the PA490 program, and in geographically in two watershed basins – Pachaug River and Miller Brook/Broad Brook.
Project Title: Dutka Property
Sponsor: Avalonia Land Conservancy
Acreage: 62.58 acres
Description: This property is located along the southern portion of Pachaug Pond (Griswold) and in combination with land owned by Avalonia and DEEP (Pachaug State Forest) would create over 120 acres of unfragmented, mature forest block. The property will enhance public access to Pachaug Pond, through its water frontage and the use of seasonal dock. The property will also be used to provide access to Barton Island (Avalonia). Known state listed species of concern may be located on this property.
Project Title: Westwoods
Sponsor: Guilford Land Conservation Trust
Acreage: 32.18 acres
Description: This is the last "central inholding" that will protect an established forest block that has been utilized by the public and maintained as open space, known as Westwoods. The Westwoods open space area has received several grants from this program in the past. Westwood is a forest block of over 1,000 acres made up of land owned by the State (Cockaponset State Forest), the Guilford Land Conservation Trust, and the Town of Guilford.
Project Title: 370 Brooksvale Avenue Rear
Sponsor: Town of Hamden
Acreage: 42 acres
Description: This parcel will be used to expand the existing Town-owned Brooksvale Park. In addition, the parcel is classified as a Level A Aquifer Protection Zone. With frontage on Brooksvale Avenue, it is the remainder of a parcel that received a grant in 2008 from this program.
Project Title: Athinson/Dirlam Preserve
Sponsor: Avalonia Land Conservancy
Acreage: 230 acres
Description: This acquisition will add significantly to the Great Oak Greenway by adding open forest and associated habitats, and by adding miles of trails in one of the longest trail systems in southeast Connecticut. The conservation of this property will protect the water quality of Thompson Brook and Great Brook and serve as an addition buffer through filtration for the Morgan Pond Reservoir (Groton Utilities). The property abuts protected open space owned by Groton Utilities and the Town of Ledyard and links to other land of Avalonia Trust.
Project Title: Lowry Woods
Sponsor: Madison Land Conservation Trust
Acreage: 73 acres
Description: Located in western Madison, just north of the high school, this parcel is entirely within the Neck River watershed corridor. This undeveloped wooded parcel, abutting Cockaponset State Forest, will provide protection to several water-based wildlife habitats, ensure high water quality, and contribute to a recognized greenway. By adding to existing preserved parcels (State Forest and other Madison Land Conservation Trust lands), the public will have access to and existing trail system with opportunities for expansion.
Project Title: Schreiber Farm Open Space
Sponsor: Town of Oxford
Acreage: 132 acres
Description: Located along Quaker Farms Road (4,500+/- feet frontage) the property is characterized by its undulating terrain with extensive wetlands and gravel soils that has been used for agriculture purposes (open fields and prime farmland soils). The Eight Mile Brook that is buffered by early successional habitats and supports listed species runs the length of this parcel feeding and draining two ponds. This property is also the location of an aquifer for the Town of Oxford.
Project Title: Yoakum/Wolf Hill
Sponsor: Salisbury Association
Acreage: 240 acres
Description: This undeveloped forest contains core forest, ridgelines, summits on Mount Riga, a portion of Pettee Brook, and a headwall that drains into Lakeville Reservoir No. 1. The parcel is located in one of the largest forest blocks in the CT-MA-NY region (14,000 acres). This property abuts land owned by The Nature Conservancy and contains critical habits that support rare, state-listed species.
Project Title: Pearmain Preserve
Sponsor: City of Shelton
Acreage: 6.71 acres
Description: This acquisition includes a portion of an approved, but yet to be filed, subdivision. The acquisition would provide a critical buffer to an established trail known as the Pearmain Path, which is located on a property protected with a prior grant from this program. The trail leads to a popular youth campsite within a parcel known as Nicholdale Farm, which is owned by the local land trust. This project falls within the Means Brook Greenway.