HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – A big announcement about preserving green space in Connecticut. This morning, Governor Dannel Malloy announced nearly $7.8 million dollars in state grants, to purchase 2,237 acres is 25 different communities. The spaces will be left natural, or turned into community gardens.
“Conserving land is an important investment in our future, and today’s grants move us closer to meeting our goal of protecting 21 percent of Connecticut’s land as permanently protected open space,” said Governor Malloy. He also emphasized how these grants will benefit residents. “Our residents and visitors will soon have many new open space areas in which to enjoy family time together outdoors and all that nature has to offer. It is also important to note that these lands will provide very convenient access to the outdoors, as more than 685,000 Connecticut residents – or about 20% of our population – are within a 10-minute drive of one of these properties.”
Grant Award Summaries
LAND ACQUISITION/EASEMENTS FROM DEEP
Project Title: Carrington Preserve
Sponsor: Town of Bethany
Grant Award: $232,500
Total Acres: 73.75
Description: This undeveloped property is wooded with oaks, hickories, birches and maples, and has 937 feet of frontage on an unimproved road know as Atwater Road. With a varied topography ranging from 500 to 600 feet in elevation, about 45% of the property is steep or influenced by wetland. There is an unnamed stream that runs from this property into Pine Brook and then Bladens River (Naugatuck River Watershed).
Project Title: Rogoz Property
Sponsor: City of Meriden
Grant Award: $60,450
Total Acres: 30
Description: This property is heavily forested with substantial ground cover. It has a sloping terrain from both Chamberlain Highway and Park Drive. The central portion of the property is rolling to partially level terrain. This acquisition is being proposed because the property is classified as Class II watershed land and would be managed as a preserve protecting and enhancing the drinking water supply of Elmere and Merimere Reservoirs.
Project Title: Humphrey Property
Sponsor: Canton Land Trust
Grant Award: $17,500
Total Acres: 12.5
Description: This property abuts land owned by the Canton Land Conservation Trust on three sides. Acquisition of this property would be added to the adjacent Canton Land Conservation Trust area, totaling 300 acres. Located in Canton’s northwest quadrant, this undeveloped wooded parcel with beech, birch, maple, hemlock, oak, and pines is part of a larger mixed deciduous forest typical of Ratlum Mountain. This property provides habitat for nesting interior forest bird species and other wildlife.
Project Title: Moroch Property
Sponsor: Town of Colchester
Grant Award: $33,183
Total Acres: 10.21
Description: This parcel expands an existing property the Town purchased in 2001 under the grant program, the Ruby Choen project. The undeveloped, forested property contains two streams and a 4.1-acre wetland and will become part the “Cohen Woods Focus Area,” a designated Connecticut Greenway. The Sponsor aims to combine this greenway with the local Judd Brook Greenway.
Project Title: Trinity Camp Project
Sponsor: Cornwall Conservation Trust
Grant Award: $464,750
Total Acres: 317
Description: Located just south of the Cornwall Bridge, this unfragmented forested property rises from the Housatonic River and will now create an unbroken greenway of over 3 miles in length. Abutting Housatonic State Forest, the property contains two significant upland wetlands and almost two miles of stream corridors. Habitats include steep cliffs, riparian forest, and a beaver pond. A rough trail network exists and provides ready access to the public to this large track and abutting open space area.
Project Title: Williams Property
Sponsor: Town of Coventry
Grant Award: $262,600
Total Acres: 61.76
Description: Among this property’s major assets are undeveloped forest that abuts existing protected open space land owned by Joshua’s Trust and 430 feet of frontage on the Willimantic River (Eagleville Pond). With a total 570 feet of frontage and modest slopes from Cooper Lane to the Willimantic River, acquisition of this property adds to the insightful planning of a green corridor along the Willimantic River and provides public access to aquatic resources.
Town: East Haddam
Project Title: Lena Property
Sponsor: Town of East Haddam
Grant Award: $487,500
Total Acres: 207
Description: This undeveloped, moderately wooded, recently logged property is located within the federally designated Eightmile River Wild & Scenic Watershed. The property has 1,200 feet of frontage on Tater Hill Road and 2,200 feet on Babcock Road. The topography is varied, as expected for its size, gradually rolling with some steep slopes and areas with little slope that have been used for pasturing. The parcel has a mix of upland forest, intermittent streams, vernal pools, and woodland wetlands that support a variety of woodland wildlife species. Along Babcock Road there is an active agricultural field, and the potential for reclaiming two additional fields for agricultural use.
Town: East Haddam
Project Title: Zeleznicky Property
Sponsor: Town of East Haddam & The Nature Conservancy
Grant Award: $78,000
Total Acres: 19.26
Description: The Town of East Haddam and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) cooperatively protected this property. The property is surrounded on three sides by TNC’s Burnham Brook Preserve and contains 1,000 feet of Burnham Brook, an important tributary to the Eightmile River. This forested, undeveloped lot with its associated habitats adds to a large network of conserved properties in the surrounding area.
Project Title: The Preserve
Sponsor: Essex Land Trust
Grant Award: $471,250
Total Acres: 70.6
Description: With about 70 acres located in the Town of Essex, “The Preserve” is a 1,000-acre coastal forest that has a nearly 15-year history towards its preservation. The property is an undeveloped, dense canopied forest. This vast area is an important refueling stopover site for migratory birds. Along with The Preserve’s varied wildlife habitats, the Peqout Swamp, and 38 vernal pools, it is also the headwaters of three watersheds which eventually flow into Long Island Sound.
Project Title: Lot 8 Collinsville Road
Sponsor: Town of Farmington
Grant Award: $69,875
Total Acres: 10.75
Description: Located in the extreme northwest corner of Farmington, this undeveloped wooded parcel has almost 1,700 feet of frontage on the Farmington River. The parcel abuts Lot 7 Collinsville Road, a 29.2 acre property along the Farmington River which also received a grant under the OSWA program, thus contributing to the development of the greenway along the River. The property has an existing trail system for public recreation.
Project Title: Robinson Property
Sponsor: Town of Sprague
Grant Award: $180,000
Total Acres: 111
Description: The Town of Sprague requested the grant funds for the acquisition of this property. Located mostly in the Town of Franklin, the property creates a 577 acre preserve with two abutting parcels in which Sprague previously received funds for under the OSWA program, the 236-acre Mukluk project and the 230-acre Watson property. The Robinson Property is an old growth forest interior lot with a mix of maple, birch walnut, cherry, and a few small pine stands. The size of this property supports a variety of wildlife habitats including upland wetland, stream (some seasonal), rock ledge outcroppings, and vernal pools. Its proximity to the Shetucket River enhances the assurance of water quality protection. The acquisition of this property permanently protects and expands an existing trail system along the river and within the interior.
Project Title: Somers Open Space
Sponsor: Town of Glastonbury
Grant Award: $279,500
Total Acres: 25.46
Description: This property is a continuation of the supportive roles that the Town of Glastonbury and DEEP have had in preserving open space and protecting habitat for the Timber Rattlesnake. The acquisition of the mixed hardwood forest here protects the Timber Rattlesnake’s habitat, a flow-through watercourse, and unbroken forested area. An existing house on the property will be razed and the lot may serve as a public recreation access point to the property.
Project Title: Fisher Property
Sponsor: Goshen Land Trust, Inc.
Grant Award: $382,500
Total Acres: 127.31
Description: Located in northwestern Goshen on Route 63, this parcel slopes gradually upward to the east and reaches a summit at the end. The property is diversely covered with a mix of northern hardwoods, over 6 acres of early successional habitat important for the New England Cottontail and other wildlife species, and over 12 acres of grasslands with an identified wetland area and small flow-through stream. This property abuts the DEEP-owned Northern Goshen Wildlife Management Area to the northeast.
Project Title: Dandio Property
Sponsor: South Central Regional Water Authority
Grant Award: $396,500
Total Acres: 61.05
Description: This property, protected by a drinking water supply company, qualifies as Class I and Class II watershed lands. The land is located in the Town of Guilford, abuts Regional Water Authority property to the south, and is associated with Lake Menunketuc Reservoir. Currently in a wooded, undeveloped state, the property has several unnamed tributaries to Lake Menunketuc flowing through it. Based on the planned uses (i.e., drinking water supplies) and exceptions sometimes given to Class I and Class II water company lands in the OSWA program, public access was not required on this property. The property will be managed as a buffer to the reservoir left in its natural state.
Project Title: Avery Farm
Sponsor: Groton Open Space Association
Grant Award: $611,000
Total Acres: 297.7
Description: The Avery Farm spans the Towns of Groton and Ledyard. The Sponsor was awarded a grant to purchase 151 acres from a landowner in Ledyard, and the remaining 145 acres located in Groton will be donated to Ledyard. The property is part of a large block of diverse wildlife habitats including grasslands, early successional and upland forest, rocky outcrops, Atlantic white cedar swamp, marshland, vernal pools, and the Ed Lamb and Haley Brooks. The Avery Farm has a confirmed colony of New England cottontails and other recognized endangered and threatened species inhabiting it. This property abuts the 89-acre Candlewood Ridge project funded by the OSWA program in 2012. The Groton Open Space Association will reserve the right to continue farming, pasturing and haying on areas that are currently being used for such purposes.
Project Title: Sheldon Creek River Access
Sponsor: Lyme Land Conservation Trust & Town of Lyme
Grant Award: $351,000
Total Acres: 2.87
Description: This property, currently maintained as an open meadow, includes 157 feet of waterfront access along Sheldon cove on the Connecticut River. Brackish tidal wetlands and river marshland along the creek provides breeding, foraging, and resting habitat for migratory bird species, and is recognized as a “Wetlands of International Importance.” Fish diversity within this region is recognizably high. Public parking and recreation to the river are easily accessible.
Project Title: Botti Farm
Sponsor: Manchester Land Conservation Trust, Inc.
Grant Award: $594,750
Total Acres: 62
Description: This project is located in the southwest corner of Manchester and spans into Glastonbury. It is contiguous with the Sponsor-owned Manning Ferris Farm, a 13-acre mature woodlot. This property also contains a mature woodlot at the Manchester/Glastonbury town line, and open farm and meadow fields in the interior. Underneath, the property contains 12 acres of prime farmland and 10 acres of important farmland soils. There are remnants of famous fruit trees that made this farm popular, but the trees have not been managed since 1998.
Project Title: Pierce Property
Sponsor: City of Middletown
Grant Award: $243,750
Total Acres: 113.58
Description: This property contains Mount Higby, characterized by steep slopes, thin soils, and a rolling topography in an undeveloped, heavily forested matrix. At one time, the property was an accepted route for the Mattabesett Trail, and the acquisition will now relocate the Trail to its original route. The property abuts existing open space previously protected under this program, known as the “Wesleyan Parcel.”
Project Title: Farnhan Farm Easement
Sponsor: Morris Land Trust, Inc.
Grant Award: $422,500
Total Acres: 129.8
Description: The purchase of a conservation easement on the Farnhan Farm protects lands historically used for dairy production and other agricultural fields. In addition to 38 acres of prime and 8 acres of statewide important agricultural soils, the property is composed of a heavily forested area to the north, 18 acres of wetlands with associated ponds, brooks (Slab Meadow Brook), streams and vernal pools, and habitat recognized for New England Cottontail. The property shares a common boundary with nearly one mile of Class I and Class II watershed land associated with the Pitch, Morris and Wigwam Reservoirs, and has over one-half mile of the Mattatuck Trail located on it.
Project Title: Chestnut Hill Open Space Preserve
Sponsor: Town of Newtown
Grant Award: $110,000
Total Acres: 36.98
Description: This property is located in the southeast corner of Newtown near the Monroe and Oxford town lines, and will add to existing town-owned open space to create an over 70-acre preserve. The property is within the Halfway River Watershed and contains wetland, vernal pools and deciduous forest floodplains in an undeveloped natural setting. An unnamed tributary to the Halfway River runs through and is likely enjoyed by an Eastern Box Turtle that was recently discovered on the property. The ridgeline topography runs north-south and has a steep slope to the east toward the Halfway River.
Town: Old Lyme
Project Title: 106 Four Mile River Road
Sponsor: Old Lyme Land Trust
Grant Award: $162,500
Total Acres: 40.76
Description: This property boasts over 1,250 feet of frontage and therefore public access along Four Mile River Road. Upon acquisition, it will be added to a complex of protected open space parcels now totaling 147 acres. The property is traversed by two wetland tributaries of the Three Mile River and is covered by diverse upland forest and stands of mountain laurel.
Project Title: Biehn Property
Sponsor: Town of Redding
Grant Award: $170,000
Total Acres: 30.704
Description: This undeveloped, mostly wooded property has over 1,600 feet of frontage on Hill Road (Route 107) and about 300 feet on Rail Coach Road. The topography of the property is heavily influenced by wetlands and three watercourses or tributaries that run to the Saugatuck Reservoir. The property abuts Class I watershed land owned by the water supply company Aquarion. The State of Connecticut has designated Redding as a Water Conservation Area, and acquisition and protection of this property meets several water protection goals and objectives in State and Town recognized planning documents.
Project Title: Culver Pond
Sponsor: Northern Connecticut Land Trust, Inc.
Grant Award: $273,000
Total Acres: 125.5
Description: This property abuts a section of the Shenipsit State Forest, located in the far northwest corner of Stafford on Gilbert Road. It also abuts 1,400 feet of Culver pond, and Rockadundee Brook passes through the property. With 1,700 feet of frontage, the parcel will add to a large, 1,500-acre protected un-fragmented forest block. The property is currently managed under an approved and active forest management plan, and the public is allowed to access using established logging trails.
Project Title: Mill River Easement
Sponsor: City of Stamford
Grant Award: $263,647
Total Acres: 0.41
Description: The sponsor negotiated with 11 separate property owners to acquire a trail easement along the owners’ back yards that abut the Mill River. Approximately 50 feet in width, the trail easement will add to the 28-acre, three-mile long Mill River Park and Greenway. Acquisition of the easement will not relocate residents or businesses, but it will restore natural habitat along the river. A long time goal of Stamford, the trail easement along Mill River will provide public access to Long Island Sound.
Project Title: Knofla Pond Property
Sponsor: Town of Tolland
Grant Award: $395,200
Total Acres: 67.59
Description: Located in northwest Tolland, this property has 1,700 feet of frontage on Bakos Road. It contains a 5.74-acre pond that is about 9 feet deep and fed by Cemetery Brook (a tributary to Shenipisit Lake) and underground springs. The acquisition protects Class I and Class II drinking water supply lands, water quality, and protects an area identified as an “Important Wildlife Area and Corridor with Significant Wildlife Habitat” in the Tolland Open Space and Conservation Plan. The property is currently managed under an approved forest management plan, and provides public outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities, as well.
Project Title: Horse Hill Woods – Phase II
Sponsor: Town of Westbrook
Grant Award: $650,000
Total Acres: 186
Description: Phase Two of this project is the acquisition of two separately owned but abutting parcels of land: the Russo (143 acres) and Miele (43 acres) properties. Both parcels have road frontage on Horse Hill Road. The Russo property is characterized by wetlands and mixed hardwood forest ridges. A palustrine forest and scrub-shrub wetlands dominate the area between the ridges. The Miele property also consists of mixed hardwoods, but was logged in 1992 and 2011, creating a more open canopy and edge habitat.
URBAN GREEN AND COMMUNITY GARDEN GRANTS
Project Title: Ina Clark Community Garden
Sponsor: City of Norwalk
Grant Award: $46,250
Description: The Ina Clark Community Garden is located in South Norwalk, in one of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the city. Currently, 88 garden plots exist on a 2-acre parcel. The award will be used to upgrade the Community Garden with lighting, fencing, a pavilion for educational and other public gatherings, signage, and paved pathways for ADA accessibility.
Town: New Haven
Project Title: Various Community Gardens
Sponsor: City of New Haven
Grant Award: $50,000
Description: The New Haven Land Trust operates the Community Garden program in the City of New Haven. Over lands owned by the Land Trust, the City of New Haven, and the New Haven Housing Authority, 3 community gardens will be newly created and 10 will be upgraded. Some improvements will include: restoring dilapidated beds, amending soil, building sheds to secure tools, expanding space, extending growing seasons with hoop houses, low tunnels and cold frames, installing fencing and irrigation, and improving ADA accessibility.