July 30, 2015

Nature Conservancy and East Haddam Conserve 133 Acres of Priority Lower Connecticut River Lands

Logo

EAST HADDAM — A project providing a key addition to a 10-mile conservation corridor has been successfully completed by The Nature Conservancy. Protection of more than 130 acres of forest will connect two popular conservation and outdoor recreation areas, while safeguarding three-quarters of a mile of streams and wetlands that feed into one of New England’s most important natural resources: the Connecticut River.

“Protecting the forests and wetlands that border Connecticut River tributaries benefits the health of the entire lower Connecticut River, as well as everything—and everyone—that relies on it,” said Sarah Pellegrino, land protection and strategies manager for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

“In this case, the newly protected land will help preserve water quality for brook trout, migratory fish and mussels; provide habitat for migratory birds and other animals and secure beautiful outdoor spots where current and future generations can hike, birdwatch and simply get out in the woods,” Pellegrino said.

Located within the basin of the Eightmile River, a Connecticut River tributary, the acreage includes two separate acquisitions on which the town of East Haddam and The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut collaborated. Both acquisitions were awarded Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition grants from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Both areas will be open to the public for passive recreation.

The acquisitions are adjacent to the Conservancy’s Burnham Brook Preserve, which was the first land protected by the Conservancy in the entire Connecticut River watershed, starting in 1960.

Conservation of one of these properties—the 113-acre Lefebvre property—accomplished a long-standing Conservancy goal of connecting Devil’s Hopyard State Park and Burnham Brook Preserve. It adds to a roughly 10-mile conservation corridor that extends to the confluence of the Eightmile and Connecticut rivers.

This project was awarded a DEEP open space grant of $263,700 towards the total purchase price. The property will be jointly owned and managed between the Conservancy and the town.

The second acquisition—the 20-acre Zeleznicky property—is a 20-acre parcel that supports mixed hardwoods and contains over 1,000 feet of Burnham Brook. To protect this land, the Conservancy and East Haddam jointly applied for a DEEP open space grant and were awarded $78,000 towards the purchase price. The town will own and manage the property.

“These acquisitions were possible only because of the patience and commitment of willing land owners and of the conservation partners who played a role,” Pellegrino said “We’re extremely pleased both of these properties will remain as natural areas.”

Editor’s Note: The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 18 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 117 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org/connecticut.

Share

Audubon Society’s CT River Lecture Series Starts This Afternoon

painting
The Connecticut River Estuary Lecture Series hosted by the Connecticut Audubon Society begins this afternoon with a presentation on conservation education at Essex Meadows starting at 4 p.m.

Michelle Eckman, director of education at Connecticut Audubon Society, will discuss her efforts to advance science-based inquiry through Science in Nature, Connecticut Audubon’s award-winning environmental education program. She will be joined by a science teacher from Essex Elementary School, which is participating in Science in Nature, as well as Dr. Paul Spitzer, nationally known Osprey researcher, who will discuss the Osprey’s return from near-extinction.

Admission to the lecture is free but RSVP’s are required. To RSVP, contact Allison Bryant at the Connecticut Audubon Society at abryant@ctaudubon.org or 203 259-0416 x106.  A reception follows each lecture.

The second lecture focuses on the ecology of the estuary (May 24) presented by Dr. Wayne (Rocky) Geyer, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and Dr. Gail Kineke, associate professor at Boston College and a Woods Hole scientist.

The final lecture will look at the role of the estuary in painting and writing (June 4) and be presented by Jeffrey Cooley, founder and owner of The Cooley Gallery in Old Lyme.

Each lecture starts at 4 p.m. at Essex Meadows.

For more information on the lecture series, visit www.ctaudubon.org/2015/04/connecticut-river-estuary-lecture-series/.

These lectures are one of the initial projects  of a new regional board formed by the Connecticut Audubon Society to focus on the lower Connecticut River valley and southeastern Connecticut.

The new board will work in conjunction with Connecticut Audubon Society staff and state Board of Directors to provide direction and support to the organization’s conservation and education work in Old Lyme, Lyme, Essex, Old Saybrook, and other communities in southeastern Connecticut.

The board’s other seminal projects include the introduction of Connecticut Audubon’s award-winning Science in Nature outdoor education program at Essex Elementary School and an effort to expand Osprey Nation, Connecticut Audubon’s citizen science Osprey monitoring program.

For decades Connecticut Audubon Society has maintained nature sanctuaries in Montville, Haddam, East Haddam, Stonington and Middletown. In addition to being a key component of the region’s native habitat, the sanctuaries serve as portals of opportunity into nature for children and families in the region.

The chair of the new Regional Board is Herman Blanke of Old Lyme. Other members are Patsy McCook (secretary) of Old Lyme; Emily Bjornberg of Lyme; Elsie Childs of Old Lyme; Jim Denham of Essex; Margarita Emerson of Niantic; Eleanor Robinson of Old Lyme; Dr. Ted Vanitallie of Old Lyme; and Claudia Weicker of Old Lyme.

Herman Blanke and Jim Denham are also members of Connecticut Audubon Society’s Board of Directors.

In addition, Old Lyme resident John Forbis and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder have provided essential support to this effort.

“Having had the fortune to live in Essex for 15 years, I have always appreciated the values of the Connecticut River; its incredible aesthetic beauty, its ecological contributions, and its great historical legacy to the people of this nation., said Alexander Brash, president of Connecticut Audubon Society.

He continued, “In keeping with the great tradition of conservationists of the area, we are looking to work with its citizens and school children in order to highlight and protect the area’s birds, unique biodiversity and habitats, and leverage such interactions for greater awareness of conservation issues across the state.”

“There is a great conservation tradition to uphold in this region,” said Herman Blanke. “Roger Tory Peterson of Old Lyme helped make birding the popular pastime that it is and also drew the connection between birds and conservation. A century ago, the painters of Old Lyme turned this beautiful landscape into art. We view it as our goal and our responsibility to carry on that tradition of conservation and appreciation for the beauty of the natural world.”

Jim Denham said, “From its inception, Connecticut Audubon Society has made conservation education the foundation of its work. Each generation is responsible for helping the next generation understand how the natural world works and why conservation is important, and for making sure the wonders of nature don’t get lost amid all the distractions of the modern world. That’s what we are trying to accomplish at Essex Elementary School, and we intend for it to be a stepping stone to collaborations with other schools as well.”

Science in Nature, which provides curriculum-based outdoor science education to students in elementary and high schools, recently completed its first session at Essex Elementary, with a field trip to Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingworth. The second session is set for May 28 at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison.

Science in Nature teaches the principles of conservation science in local outdoor settings, focusing on climate and weather, rocks and soils, ecological adaptations, and wetland ecology. The goal is to increase environmental literacy among elementary, middle and high school students so they will understand basic environmental science principles and be more likely to participate in finding solutions to environmental issues within their communities.

In October it was named the best outdoor conservation program in the region by the New England Environmental Education Alliance. Schools from almost 50 communities in Connecticut have participated in Science in Nature, although Essex Elementary is the first in southeastern Connecticut to take part.

Osprey Nation uses volunteer citizen scientists, working under the direction of Connecticut Audubon’s conservation staff, to find and monitor nests of the state’s resurgent Osprey population.

More than 400 Osprey nests have been identified and plotted on a map. The greatest concentration in the state is on Great Island in Old Lyme. Connecticut Audubon is hoping that increased awareness of the project will propt more local residents to volunteer to as Osprey stewards in Old Lyme and elsewhere throughout the southeastern part of the state.

Founded in 1898, Connecticut Audubon Society is the state’s original and still independent Audubon Society. The Society manages four nature centers, two museums, and 19 sanctuaries across the state. It uses the charismatic nature of birds to inspire the next generation of conservationists, and to work with the current generation to protect and improve the state’s natural habitats for the betterment of state residents, birds and other wildlife.

Connecticut Audubon Society’s headquarters are at Birdcraft Sanctuary in Fairfield. It has regional centers and associated boards in Fairfield, Pomfret, Glastonbury and Milford.

Share

With Protection of The Preserve, Partners Secure Historic Conservation Gain

Conservation acquisition of almost 1,000-acre coastal forest in Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook expands Connecticut’s conservation legacy and is the culmination many years of work.

OLD SAYBROOK, CT—A coalition led by The Trust for Public Land and including The Nature Conservancy today announced protection of The Preserve, a huge swath of undeveloped forest located primarily in Old Saybrook.

To support this project, The Nature Conservancy will hold a conservation easement over almost 900 acres of The Preserve.

Over the years, the Conservancy was involved in many efforts with partners to protect the land. In the end, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) took the lead and, in 2013, negotiated The Preserve’s acquisition from River Sound Development LLC. TPL secured $10 million for project costs with financial commitments from the state, Old Saybrook, Essex and many public and private donors. The state and Old Saybrook are sharing ownership, with the Essex Land Trust owning 70 acres in Essex. The state will hold an easement over the acreage in Essex.

“Helping protect a place of this magnitude is an opportunity that simply does not come around often. When it does, you take it,” said Frogard Ryan, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “It’s gratifying for the Conservancy to be able to play a crucial role in this milestone—a success that adds substantially to Connecticut’s remarkable legacy of conservation.”

The Preserve is an extraordinary expanse of forest, wetlands and vernal pools. It includes the headwaters of the Oyster River. It is a stopover spot for migratory birds and provides habitat for dozens of animal and plant species.

“The Preserve was the last remaining opportunity in Southern New England to protect a block of coastal forest this large,” Ryan said. “We’re inspired—and galvanized for the future—by the leadership and vision of the many partners who made this achievement possible.”

In 2014, to provide extra protection for public lands, the Connecticut General Assembly gave the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection authority to grant protective easements over state park and forest land to nonprofit organizations. Lawmakers also granted authority for an easement over The Preserve. Because of the Conservancy’s experience, the state, TPL and Old Saybrook asked the Conservancy to hold that easement.

The Conservancy is thrilled to be able to accept the easement and is grateful for financial support for long-term costs from TPL and philanthropist Joan Livingston Tweedy, her family and their Tortuga Foundation.

“This is an iconic conservation success story, and we’re honored to play a part in it,” said Sarah Pellegrino, land protection and strategies manager for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “The Trust for Public Land, the Tortuga Foundation, the state of Connecticut, the towns of Old Saybrook and Essex, Connecticut Fund for the Environment: The list goes on. So many people have played a part in making this dream a reality.”

David Sutherland, government relations director for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut said: “Connecticut’s conservation community long has been working to preserve this property. Through years of hopes and setbacks, the impact of raging real estate markets and the weight of global financial forces, The Preserve and the wildlife that lives on it has endured. This acquisition will enable them to continue to thrive for decades to come.”

Share

Lyme, Old Lyme Presents Rogers Lake Weed Study Findings

A view across Rogers Lake in Old Lyme.

A view across Rogers Lake in Old Lyme.

The Towns of Lyme and Old Lyme have scheduled a public presentation on the recommendations of the Rogers Lake Weeds Study, completed by New England Environmental (NEE),  for Monday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium.

The recommendations are to use the herbicide flumioxazone to target certain areas of the invasive weeds that are a nuisance and safety concern, and to employ hydroraking in areas that contain nuisance pond lilies.

The Rogers Lake Weeds Study Committee voted 4 to 1 to approve the recommendation for the treatment and to proceed to a public information presentation. Representatives from NEE will be on hand to present their findings and answer questions on the options that were considered and the recommendations.

The Water Quality Report, Well Impact Report and the Final Report are all available on the town website at www.oldlyme-ct.gov, under Current Projects.

Share

Middlesex Land Trust & CT River Gateway Commission Announce New Open Space Acquisition in Haddam Neck

haddamNeckMapRaulBrownFINAL031815_v2In February of this year the Middlesex Land Trust, in partnership with the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, purchased 50 acres of open space for permanent protection in Haddam Neck. This new preserve offers breathtaking views across the Connecticut River to Haddam Meadows State Park from a rough path that runs along the base of dramatic cliffs created from the property’s historic use as a quarry.

The Middlesex Land Trust now owns the preserve and is planning to develop a trail system for the public to enjoy for hiking, passive recreation and education. The tract lies along Injun Hollow Road just north of the 585 acres Connecticut Yankee property.

The land has been named the Brainerd Quarry Preserve to reflect the historic importance of the Brainerd Family in Haddam. Daniel Brainerd was one of the 28 founding settlers of Haddam in 1662, and a century later, in 1762, Deacon Esra Brainerd opened a quarry on the now preserved site. The quarry operated for more than 150 years, shipping stone down river to New York and as far south as Maryland, Virginia and New Orleans.

A 2011 study of the history and archeology of the area describes the Brainerds as “a family of entrepreneurs in the forefront of early industry and commerce in the Connecticut River Valley” and recommends the quarry site as “an ideal candidate for use as an outdoor classroom for studies in local history, geology, mining, early American industry, the Industrial Revolution in Connecticut and other related topics for grammar school, high school and college students.”

This significant property along the Connecticut River is now owned and managed by the Middlesex Land Trust, a regional not-for-profit volunteer land conservation organization that, since 1987, has been dedicated to the preservation of open space in northern Middlesex County.

The purchase was initiated by, and made possible through grant funding from the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, a state-local compact that protects the Lower Connecticut River Valley, one of the “most important ecological landscapes in the United States” according to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

A dedication ceremony for the new Brainerd Quarry Preserve and the opening of the preserve to the public is anticipated for the summer of 2015.

Share

Old Lyme Land Trust Presents McCulloch Family with Land Saver Award

At its 49th Annual Meeting on March 22, the Old Lyme Land Trust (OLTT) presented its Land Saver Award to the McCulloch Family in recognition of the family’s extraordinary vision and generosity.

Inspired by their mother, “Rook” Metzger McCulloch, who instilled in them the principle of stewardship, and by their love of the land, David and Jean McCulloch, Catherine Taffy Holland and Mary Jean McCulloch Vasiloff donated a conservation easement on 434 acres known as the McCulloch Farm in 2000. The easement, held by The Nature Conservancy, restricts the use and prevents further development of the property.

Lying in the Black Hall River Watershed, the land has extraordinary conservation value. With this portion of the watershed protected, the Great Island tidal marsh complex with its rich and diverse wildlife is protected as well.

Christina Clayton, President of OLLT, noted that Old Lyme residents receive benefits from the donation in addition to the conservation ones. The McCulloch Farm lies along Whippoorwill Road in the center of town and contributes significantly to the rural character of Old Lyme. And the taxpayers remain unburdened by the cost of services that residential development of this large tract would have imposed.

Dr. Robert A. Askins, Katherine Blunt Professor of Biology at Connecticut College, was the guest speaker at the annual meeting. Dr. Askins is a renowned ornithologist and expert on ecology and conservation biology, who recently published a book entitled, “Conservation of Deciduous Forests in New England, Japan and Europe.”

Dr. Askins spoke about the need for a blended approach to the conservation of New England’s forests, in order to protect the greatest number of both plant and animal species. Large tracts of unfragmented forest are necessary for a number of threatened and endangered species, but others, such as the endangered New England cottontail and several species of songbirds, require early successional habitats, such a thickets and grassy openings in the forest canopy.

The OLLT plans to incorporate Dr. Askins’s recommendations into the management plans for its preserves.

Share

CT River Museum Offers Canoe, Kayak Paddle Program This Summer, Partly Funded by Cabela’s

Connecticut River Museum Expands On-water Experiences with the Development of a Canoe and Kayak Paddle Program. Photo credit: Joan Meek.

Connecticut River Museum Expands On-water Experiences with the Development of a Canoe and Kayak Paddle Program. Photo credit: Joan Meek.

The Connecticut River Museum (CRM) will launch a canoe and kayak paddle program on the museum campus in Essex this summer as a major expansion of its environmental outreach. The Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion, conservation and improvement of wildlife and wildlife habitat, hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor sporting and recreational activities, has made a generous contribution to CRM that will fund the purchase of 10 boats as well as assorted equipment that will make this important educational program possible.

According to the museum’s director, Chris Dobbs, “The Connecticut River Paddle Explorations Program is an exciting expansion of our ongoing environmental education activities and will allow more members and visitors to get out on the water. We are thankful to the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund for making this possible.”

“Cabela’s Outdoor Fund is proud to support the Connecticut River Museum and its efforts in educating and exposing the community to the great outdoors,” said Jeremy Wonch, vice president of Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. “The Connecticut River Paddle Explorations Program will be great for both the community and the conservation efforts on the Connecticut River.”

Between June and September, CRM will offer canoes and kayaks at a nominal fee as a member benefit and to the public. The program will allow visitors to explore the local marshes and tributaries around CRM, a great way for adults and families to access the River.

Dobbs commented, “Through the generosity of the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, the museum will be able to use these boats for a variety of education programs.” He said that this would include “guided paddles, exploration of nature preserves along the River, and places further afield.” As part of the expanded vision for the museum, Dobbs would like the paddle program to partner with land trusts, historical societies, and other organizations up and down the River as a way to build appreciation for this “magnificent cultural and environmental resource.”

For more information about this program, to volunteer with the paddle program or to provide additional support, contact the Connecticut River Museum at 860.767.8269 or via email at crm@ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM and closed on Mondays until Memorial Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.

For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

Share

Become Part of FrogWatch USA! Learn How at Lyme Library Presentation, March 25

Learn how to identify the American toad (pictured above) at the upcoming Lyme Library presentation. Photo by Jill Sharp for Frogwatch USA

Learn how to identify the American toad (pictured above) at the upcoming Lyme Library presentation. Photo by Jill Sharp for Frogwatch USA

Come learn how to be an amphibian scientist!

On Wednesday, March 25, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Lyme Public Library, The Nature Conservancy will be hosting Jim Sirch, the Education Coordinator of the Yale Peabody Museum.  He will guide participants on becoming FrogWatch USA volunteers.

FrogWatch USA is a program created by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help engage the public in monitoring local frog and toad populations.  Frogs and toads serve as important clues to environmental health because they are highly  sensitive to changing environmental conditions.  They also help keep insect populations low, preventing the spread of disease.

Sadly, however, frogs and toads are on the decline.  Thirty eight species of the 280 native amphibian species in the United States are currently listed under the Endangered Species Act.

At this training, Sirch will teach you how to identify different amphibian calls, where and how often to monitor your local wetlands and how to submit your data to the larger FrogWatch USA effort, so you can help contribute meaningful information about the frogs and toads in your neighborhood.

Space is limited.  Contact Liz Robinson of The Nature Conservancy at (203) 568-6270 x 6409 to register.

Share

Presentation of Nehantic State Forest 10-Year Forestry Plan This Afternoon in Old Lyme

Nehantic-State-Forest-map.mediumthumb.pdf
A presentation of the proposed 10-year Forestry Plan for Nehantic State Forest will be given from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall.  The Old Lyme Open Space Commission and the Old Lyme Land Trust are hosting the event.  All are welcome to attend.

Emery Gluck from the Division of Forestry, Bureau of Natural Resources, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, will open by discussing, “Management Goals and Proposed Bio-Indicators for Nehantic State Forest Management Plan”

The next speaker will be Margo Burns, Environmental Planner for the Lower Connecticut River Council of Governments, who will present, “The Lower Connecticut River  and Coastal Region Natural Resource Base Strategic Conservation Plan: A GIS Overlay Analysis”

Tom Worthley, UConn Extension Forester, will discuss, “Background and Rationale for Managing Forests,” and Lisa Wahle from the DEEP Wildlife Division’s will present, “Connecticut’s New England Cottontail Program.”

Other speakers will include Dick Raymond, a DEEP Forestry, Municipal and Private Lands Forester for New London, Tolland and Windham Counties and Elizabeth Robinson, Land Steward for The Nature Conservancy Eight Mile River Watershed.

All are welcome to attend the program. An open discussion will follow the presentations.

The goals of the Nehantic State Forest Resource Management Plan are:

1) To promote biological diversity (viable populations of all forest species of plants and animals native to the area) by promoting upland ecosystems and populations that are not adequately sustaining themselves under current conditions.

2) Maintain or improve aquatic system integrity

3) To promote healthy and sustainable forests

Indicators will be used to measure and monitor progress toward the management goals. Proposed indicators use a “Bio-diversity Scorecard” format developed by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences as a guide. It can be found at A Forest Biodiversity Scorecard

A landscape wide approach has been incorporated into the plan so management strategies in Nehantic take into account the condition and trends of the surrounding forest.

The plan will follow a “natural disturbance model of management” to promote biodiversity.

The model uses nature as a guide for management. A combination of active and passive management will be used to promote an array of all the different forest types and structures that have historically sustained all native plant and animal populations.

Active management generally involves trees harvests. Background information can be found at DEEP: Why We Harvest Trees in Connecticut State Forests and DEEP: Young Forest and Shrubland Initiative

Share

Watershed Council Appoints New Steward to Protect Lower Connecticut River

Alicea Charamut

Alicea Charamut

The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) has announced the appointment of Alicea Charamut as the new Lower River Steward for the Connecticut region. She works from CRWC’s office in the deKoven House in Middletown, CT. However, she is responsible for protecting the Connecticut River basin from the Massachusetts border all the way to Long Island Sound.

“Water is one of our planet’s most critical resources,” notes Alicea. “Unfortunately, our rivers and streams are taken for granted. It is up to organizations like CRWC with its passionate members, staff, and volunteers to protect and restore our watersheds for future generations. I consider myself fortunate to join the staff and begin work on behalf of the Connecticut River watershed.”

Charamut is already working on a number of important projects, including: Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), upcoming water quality standard revisions, Long Island Sound clean-up plan revisions, extension of the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail into MA & CT, Connecticut Yankee barrier, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for tires, state-wide Water Planning, and is co-lead on CRWC’s Source to Sea River Cleanup.

An advocate for Connecticut’s rivers and streams for nearly a decade, Charamut has a strong background in biology and water resource issues. She currently serves as the President of the Farmington Valley Chapter and on the Executive Committee of the State Council of Trout Unlimited. Her work as a volunteer leader has given her many useful skills and knowledge of water issues, which she is eager to put to work for our rivers.

Charamut can be reached at 860-704-0057 or acharamut@ctriver.org.

The Connecticut River Watershed Council works to protect the watershed from source to sea. As stewards of this heritage, we celebrate our four-state treasure and collaborate, educate, organize, restore and intervene to preserve its health for generations to come. Our work informs our vision of economic and ecological abundance. To learn more about CRWC, or to make a contribution to help protect our rivers, visit www.ctriver.org or call 413-772-2020, ext. 201

Share

OS Land Trust Hosts ‘A Place Called Hope’ at Annual Meeting, March 22

Zen, A Barred Owl, rehabbed by A Place Called Hope. Photo by Spirit Hawk Photography

Zen, A Barred Owl, rehabbed by A Place Called Hope. Photo by Spirit Hawk Photography

Join the Old Saybrook Land Trust (OSLT) for a program featuring A Place Called Hope and First Selectman, Carl Fortuna Jr., Sunday, March 22, from 3 to 5 p.m., at Grace Episcopal Church, 336 Main St., Old Saybrook.

Fortuna will offer a brief update on The Preserve purchase and plans for public access, then ‘A Place Called Hope’ will offer a live bird demonstration with some examples of birds that inhabit the 1,000 acre forest.
The brief OSLT Annual Business Meeting follows the program.
A Place Called Hope often draws a big crowd, so seating may be limited. Reservations are requested but not required. To reserve a seat, RSVP to oldsaybrooklandtrust@oslt.org, or call 860-575-4831, walk-ins are welcome up to room capacity. This is a free event with light refreshments served.
For more information about OSLT, visit oslt.org.
Share

(Ice) Dammed If You Don’t …

An example of a roof ice dam in Willimantic, Conn.

An example of a roof ice dam in Willimantic, Conn.

Ice dams form when water from melting snow refreezes at the eaves or gutters. Water can then pond above the ice dam and even leak into the building. This is almost always a sign that (1) the attic is not properly insulated, (2) the roof is not properly ventilated, and (3) if there is leakage, the membrane beneath the shingles is not working.

In an ideal situation, proper insulation does its work to keep heat inside the house, and the roof is merely a means to keep rain or snow out. If your attic is not a living space, lots of insulation between the ceiling below and the attic space ensures that very little heat gets up there. Proper ventilation of the attic space then ensures that the roof never gets warm enough to melt snow on top of it.

Even if the room directly beneath the roof is a living space, the same principles apply. In this case, it is much harder to install enough insulation, but there should be a space between the insulation and the roof’s inside sheathing so that cold air can flow from eave vents up through that space to carry away any heat that gets through the insulation.

Modern materials such as “snow and ice membrane” provide a very good seal beneath the shingles. If your roof is old, it may have tarpaper, which degrades and becomes brittle. If so, it may be time (this summer) to have your roof stripped down to the sheathing and to have lots of membrane and good flashing installed. It may be possible to have soffit vents and adequate roof ventilation installed at the same time.

But in the meantime, if you have ice dams, it is important to drain the pond above the dam. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to do this with heat or an ice pick. Here’s a suggestion of a good temporary fix: make “sausages” by filling a stocking or similar porous tube with either rock salt or calcium chloride crystals and lay this across the ice dam so that it melts a channel through the dam to drain the pond.

Good Luck!

Rick Holloway is a longtime member of the Chester Energy Team. Look up the E-Team on the www.chesterct.org town site or Facebook.com/ChesterCTEnergyTeam

Share

While Living Through Linus, Enjoy a Post-Juno Video of Lyme Street!

Lyme Street's iconic First Congregational Church

Lyme Street’s iconic First Congregational Church

We were thrilled to open our mailbox over the weekend and find that the incredible musician and Old Lyme resident (and LymeLine reader!) Dan Stevens had sent us a link to a wonderful video he made the day after Winter Storm Juno had hit.  It depicts a walk down Lyme Street before most residents had begun digging themselves out from the two feet of snow, which had fallen overnight.

As we currently live through Winter Storm Linus, we thought many of our readers might also enjoy Dan’s video, which is accompanied by an excellent — and, oh, so appropriate — soundtrack by the Old Crow Medicine Show.

Here’s the link to Dan’s video: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=926065094092702&pnref=story

With many thanks to Dan .. enjoy!

Share

Winter Storm Linus to Impact Lyme, Old Lyme All Day; Schools Closed

Snow is already piled up at White Sand Beach in Old Lyme.  Soon there will be more to add ...

Snow is already piled up at White Sand Beach in Old Lyme. Soon there will be more to add …

Winter Storm Linus  is now affecting Lyme and Old Lyme, and will impact our area through Tuesday with a combination of snow, wind and freezing temperatures. Region 18 schools and the Lymes’ Senior Center are closed today, but trash and recycling pick-up will happen as scheduled.

A parking ban has been announced throughout Old Lyme starting at 11 p.m. Sunday and will be in force until further notice. The parking ban means all vehicles should be kept off the roads so that the roads can remain open for emergency vehicles and be safely cleared when the storm ends.

The Old Lyme Town Hall is tentatively set to open at 11 a.m.  That time could be adjusted later if conditions worsen. The ‘Solarize Old Lyme’ meeting scheduled for this evening has been cancelled.

To report a power outage, call 800-286-2000, or text the word “outage,” followed by a space and your zip code, to 24612.

Share

Juno Made his Mark in The Lymes — and Here are the Photos to Prove it!

Winter Storm Juno brought nothing like the amounts of snow forecast along many other areas of the east coast, but here in The Lymes, we received more than 20 inches, but amazingly (and thankfully), retained power throughout both towns.

We asked readers to send us their favorite photos of the snow and many of you obliged — we thank you sincerely!

If we have missed any, then please let us know because we have had some strange gremlins in our email these last few days and some of the photos below turned up in our Spam folder.

So, let’s start with the big question … how much snow did we really get?

Time for tea?

Was it this much?

... or this much?

… or this much?

Or even this much.  Linda Graham sent in this photo of her husband John  digging out.

Or even this much?  Linda Collins sent in this photo of her husband,             John Graham, digging out on West End Drive.

Fran Gumkowski solved the problem for us by supplying this photo, which tells us that 21 1/2 inches accumulated.

Fran Gumkowski solved the problem for us by supplying this photo, which tells us that 21 1/2 inches of snow were accumulated.

Our four-legged friends definitely enjoyed the (with apologies to Thomas the Tank Engine!) “silly, soft stuff.”

Here's Flash unperturbed by his size (he's a corgi) having a fine old time.  Photo by Heather Supesano.

Here’s Flash, unperturbed by his size (he’s a corgi), having a fine old time.  This delightful photo was sent in by Heather Supersano.

And here's Buddy just loving the snow!

And here’s our Buddy just loving the snow!

Some feathered friends flew in for breakfast on Lyme Street and Dini Mallory managed to catch this beautiful shot of a cardinal on camera.

Some feathered friends flew in for breakfast on Lyme Street and Dini Mallory managed to catch this beautiful shot of a cardinal on camera.

How about the Winter Wonderland that the snow created?

Here's a view of Laurel Heights by Emily Snow.

Here’s a view of Laurel Heights by Emily Snow.

Here's Hawks Nest Beach looking east by Linda Graham ...

And here’s Hawks Nest Beach looking east by Linda Collins…

... and west, also by Linda Graham.

… and west, also by Linda Collins.

Oh, what a snowy scene!

Oh, what a snowy scene!

And finally, how did all that shoveling go at your house?

Jake Quaratella had the solution to shoveling as this photo, sent in by mom Martha, shows!

Jake Quaratella found the perfect solution to the shoveling challenge, as this photo, sent in by his mom Martha, shows!

Share

Winter Storm Juno Arrives, Two Feet of Snow Possible, Parking Ban Announced in Old Lyme

Updated map of predicted state snowfall accumulations.

Updated map of predicted state snowfall accumulations.

As Winter Storm Juno begins to affect our towns, a parking ban has been announced throughout Old Lyme from 6 p.m. tonight until further notice. Keep all vehicles off the roads so that they remain open for emergency vehicles and can be safely cleared when the storm ends.

Governor Dannel Malloy has announced that all non-emergency travel must cease on all roads in the state tonight after 9 p.m.

If there is a fire hydrant on or near your property, please help by keeping it clear for emergency use.

The following cancellations and early closings have been announced in Lyme and Old Lyme:

  • The Solarize Meeting and Annual Town Meeting have both been cancelled for tonight and will be rescheduled
  • The Lymes’ Senior Center is closed for the remainder of the day and will be closed on Tuesday
  • Region 18 schools have early dismissal today, all evening activities cancelled and will be closed on Tuesday.
  • There will be no trash or recycling pick-up on Tuesday.

The Old Lyme Emergency Operations Center  @ 860 598 0120 will open mid-afternoon.

To report a power outage, call 800-286-2000, or text the word “outage,” followed by a space and your zip code, to 24612.

Stay away from downed power lines and call 911 to report them.

Travel will be hazardous. Stay off the roads during the storm.

Your cell phone will be an important tool during this emergency — make sure it is charged.

Exposure to cold temperatures and sustained winds will contribute to hypothermia and dehydration. If you go outside, dress in layers and wear hats, scarves and gloves. Remove wet clothing as soon as you are back indoors.

Call 911 to report all emergency situations

Snow has already begun and will intensify during the afternoon commute.

Snow tonight will increase with rapid intensity at rates of 2-4 inches per hour.

High winds will also be present, gusting up to 60 mph along the coast.

Expected snow accumulation is from 12-25” across the state, with wind gusts up to 40 mph, and the risk of blizzard conditions through 6 pm Tuesday.

Tidal flooding can be expected with tides being 3-4 feet above normal.

Flooding can also be expected in low lying areas around town.

High tides are predicted at 3:04 pm Monday.

Tuesday’s high tides will be 10:15 am and 11:18 pm. 

This is the map issued by the state’s Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) showing predicted snowfall totals for Winter Storm Juno.  It looks like there’s little chance we’ll dodge the snow this time, in contrast to last week when we were let off pretty lightly

Here’s a link to track the storm and another on how to prepare for the storm.

Share

Nature Conservancy Applauds U.S. Department of Agriculture Program to Help Long Island Sound Watershed

The Nature Conservancy offers the following statement of gratitude for U.S. Department of Agriculture support of efforts to reduce excessive runoff and nutrient loading to Long Island Sound from private lands within the Sound’s multistate watershed.

The Long Island Sound Watershed Regional Conservation Partnership Program is one of 115 high-impact projects that will collectively receive more than $370 million in federal funding as part of the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program, a new program in the 2014 Farm Bill administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS.) The grant awards were announced Wednesday, and the Long Island Sound program is the focus of an announcement today and event in Hartford, Conn.

“The Nature Conservancy is excited to be part of the Long Island Sound Watershed Regional Conservation Partnership Program,” said Kim Lutz, director of the Conservancy’s Connecticut River Program. “These funds will provide critical dollars to address conservation needs in two connected natural systems that are priorities for the Conservancy: the Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River systems. We’re especially happy to have the opportunity to expand our work helping improve resilience in the face of a changing climate.”

“The Conservancy is extremely grateful to Congressman Joe Courtney, of Connecticut’s 2nd District, and Congressional representatives throughout the multistate Long Island Sound watershed for support of this funding,” Lutz said. “We look forward to working with the NRCS and a diverse array of partners throughout the region to achieve the project’s ambitious goals.”

According to the project description: Excess nutrients have been identified as the primary driver of hypoxic conditions in Long Island Sound and are also impacting upland water resources within the watershed, which encompasses areas of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. This project will develop a comprehensive, whole-farm management certainty program for farmers in the area and use both working lands and easement programs to improve soil health and nutrient management, establish community resiliency areas with a focus on enhancing riparian areas, and institute a land protection program to protect agricultural and forestry areas.

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.

Share

Connecticut River Watershed Council, Partners Receive $10M in Federal Funds to Help Improve Long Island Sound 

CWRC_60th_anniversary

The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) is one of seven partners receiving a $10 million federal grant funded through USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program. This new project brings together seven partners to improve the health of Long Island Sound. The funding will be matched dollar for dollar by other local, state, and private funding sources. Excess nutrients have been identified as the primary driver of hypoxic conditions (lack of oxygen) in Long Island Sound and are also impacting upland water resources within the watershed, which encompasses areas of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

This project will develop a comprehensive, whole-farm management certainty program for farmers in the area. It will use both working lands and easement programs to improve soil health and nutrient management, establish community resiliency areas with a focus on enhancing riparian areas, and institute a land protection program to protect agricultural and forestryareas.

“The Council is very pleased to be one of the many partners on this important project to improve the health of both the Connecticut River basin and Long Island Sound,” says CRWC Executive Director Andrew Fisk. “Funding will allow CRWC to continue working with landowners on restoration projects on their land that will improve our rivers and protect their investment in productive farm and forest land.”

The Connecticut River contributes over 70 percent of the freshwater to Long Island Sound and plays an important role in the health of the Sound. “We are proud to be working with landowners to help them do their part to restore and protect the public’s water,” notes Fisk. “Many individuals working together across the entire watershed will have a great impact to improve the health of our rivers and Long Island Sound.”

The CRWC works to protect the watershed from source to sea. As stewards of this heritage, the organization celebrates its four-state treasure and collaborates, educates, organizes, restores and intervenes to preserve its health for generations to come. The work of the CRWC informs the communal vision of economic and ecological abundance.

To learn more about CRWC, visit www.ctriver.org.

This project is one of more than 110 high-impact projects across all 50 states that will receive a portion of $370+ million as part of this new effort.

More information on the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program and other awards is available at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/farmbill/rcpp/

 

Share

Local Legislators Applaud $2 Million Bond Issue to Help Purchase The Preserve

From left to right, Rep. Jesse MacLachlan, Essex resident Suellen McCuin, Chris Cryder of Save the Sound, Kate Brown of The Trust for Public Land, Sen. Paul Formica, Rep. Phil Miller, Sen. Art Linares, Rep. Devin Carney,  Rep. Terrie Wood, Jim Millard of The Trust for Public Land and Lori Fernand of The Trust for Public Land.

From left to right, Rep. Jesse MacLachlan, Essex resident Suellen McCuin, Chris Cryder of Save the Sound, Kate Brown of The Trust for Public Land, Sen. Paul Formica, Rep. Phil Miller, Sen. Art Linares, Rep. Devin Carney, Rep. Terrie Wood, Jim Millard of The Trust for Public Land and Lori Fernand of The Trust for Public Land.

Five state legislators, State Senators Art Linares and Paul Formica, and State Representatives Phillip Miller, Devin Carney and Jesse MacLachan have applauded the Jan. 12, approval of a $2 million state bond issue to assist in the acquisition of the Preserve. The Preserve property consists of 1,000 acres along the shore of Long Island Sound that is presently open space.

“This is terrific news,” said Sen. Art Linares, who represents Essex, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. “Permanently protecting this forest and wetland is critical, not only for the animal and plant species whose survival greatly depends upon it, but also for the local communities whose water supplies and recreational enjoyment of Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River could be irreparably damaged if development were to occur.  This news is the result of the determination of the many environmental champions in our region, like Rep. Phil Miller and former Rep. Marilyn Giuliano.  We also thank Gov. Malloy for his commitment to this effort.”

“I am delighted to see this vast expanse of land will be protected for future generations. Residents in southeastern Connecticut care deeply for the environment and enjoy hiking and bird watching in The Preserve, among other recreational activities.  This wise purchase by the state will ensure that future generations will be able to continue the stewardship of this land,” said Sen. Paul Formica, who represents Old Saybrook and is a member of the Energy and Technology Committee.  “I thank Rep. Phil Miller, former Rep. Marilyn Giuliano, The Trust for Public Land and the many environmental advocates from our region who have worked so hard for this funding.”

“The approval today by the Bond Commission of $2 million in funding to ensure the purchase of The Preserve shoreline property represents an important landmark decision that is certainly welcomed.” said Rep. Philip Miller (D – Essex/Chester/ Deep River/Haddam). “This will enable us to protect and preserve open space property that will benefit not only people who live in the region, but all of Connecticut’s citizens, for generations to come.”

“The funding for the Preserve will allow generations to come the opportunity to enjoy some breathtaking landscape in its unencumbered state, right here in Connecticut” said Rep. Devin Carney (R), representing Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. “Many people in Old Saybrook and along the shoreline will be thrilled by the finalization of these funds. For many, it has been a long time coming – I am happy to see that all of their passion and hard work has paid off.”

“The citizens of Connecticut value the abundance of beauty within our state and want it to be protected in perpetuity,” said Rep. Jesse MacLachlan (R), representing Clinton, Westbrook and Killingworth.  “It’s wonderful to see that we
are making it a top priority to preserve the natural beauty and rural character of towns along the shoreline. Only through initiatives like these can our state’s rural areas obtain the true protection they need for years to come. I’d also like to express my sincere gratitude to all parties involved in seeing this come to fruition.”

Other Facts about The Preserve

Voters in Old Saybrook authorized the town to provide $3 million in funding to purchase a portion of The Preserve located in Old Saybrook and a small piece in Westbrook. The Trust for Public has also raised an estimated $1.2 million to cover the final portion of funding for the purchase, and the Essex Land Trust has agreed to purchase 70 acres of land in Essex that is a portion of The Preserve with the help of a $471,250 open space grant from DEEP.

One of the numerous  vernal pools found on The Preserve.  Photo by Jerome Wilson.

One of the numerous vernal pools found on The Preserve. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

The Preserve consists of approximately 1,000 acres of land along Long Island Sound in three towns: 926 acres in Old Saybrook; 71 acres in Essex; and four acres in Westbrook. The Preserve includes 38 vernal pools, 114 acres of wetlands, more than 3,100 linear feet of watercourses, high quality coastal forest, and an Atlantic White Cedar swamp.

The dense canopy of forest and the Pequot Swamp Pond act as a critical refueling stop for many migratory birds, and the many freshwater seeps on the property are home to amphibian species such as the northern dusky salamander, spotted turtles, and box turtles. In all, more than 100 species of amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds thrive on this property, some of which are state-listed species of special concern and others of which are declining in other areas of the state.

In addition to its recreational and habitat resources, The Preserve provides important water quality benefits to residents.  Surface waters on the property drain to three different watersheds: the Oyster River, Mud River and Trout Brook, as they make their way to Long Island Sound.  The protection of The Preserve will ensure that storm water on the site is recharged to local aquifers.  An aquifer protection area is located just east of the Preserve and supplies an average of 200,000 gallons per day of drinking water to Old Saybrook and surrounding communities.

The Preserve also offers benefits for coastal resiliency in the face of climate change, and conservation of it will ensure lessened storm water impacts from hurricanes and other intense storms. The Preserve acts act as a sponge for storm water, releasing it slowly into the tributaries and rivers that lead to the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound, protecting downstream property owners from flooding.

Editor’s Note: This article was prepared directly from a press release issued by the House Republican Office.

Share

Lyme Land Conservation Trust Earns National Recognition

IMG_5744
The Lyme Land Conservation Trust has been awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.

“This accreditation demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation that benefits the entire community,” said Land Trust President John Pritchard in making the announcement. “Our land trust is a stronger organization today having gone through the rigorous accreditation program.”

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust was awarded accreditation this December. It is one of only 285 land trusts in the country that have been accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. There are more than 1,700 land trusts nationwide.

LTAC_seal_green“Accreditation provides the public with an assurance that, at the time of accreditation, a land trust has met high standards for quality and that the results of their conservation work are permanent,” explained Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn.

Each accredited land trust submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. “Through accreditation land trusts conduct important planning and make their operations more efficient and strategic,” said Van Ryn. “Accredited organizations have engaged and trained citizen conservation leaders and improved systems for ensuring that their conservation work is permanent.”

Accredited land trusts are authorized to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.

“This round of accreditation decisions represents another significant milestone for the accreditation program; the 285 land trusts now accredited account for three quarters of the more than 20 million acres currently owned in fee or protected by a conservation easement,” said Van Ryn.

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust was founded in 1966 and currently manages more than 3,000 acres of forests, farms and marshes that are preserved as wildlife habitat and productive agricultural land for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations.

In making the announcement, Pritchard thanked the many volunteers and staff who work to maintain the properties under Lyme Land Trust management and singled out those who spent hundreds of hours preparing the Land Trust’s accreditation application.

He personally thanked Environmental Director Lisa Niccolai, who led the Land Trust’s accreditation team, as well as Vice President Don Gerber, Treasurer Andy Baxter, Executive Director George Moore, and former President Linda Bireley for the hundreds of hours they worked in preparing and organizing the Land Trust’s records and operations documentation to meet the exacting standards of the Accreditation Commission.

Pritchard also thanked and recognized the Lyme community leaders who have served as officers and board members of the Land Trust during its almost half century of preserving the town’s bucolic farms, wetlands, and back country.

“They were the leaders, the visionaries,” said Pritchard. “What Lyme has achieved today in preserving its beauty and natural environment was made possible by earlier generations of Lyme civic leaders who were committed to conservation.”

According to the Land Trust Alliance, conserving land helps ensure clean air and drinking water; safe, healthy food; scenic landscapes and views; recreational places; and habitat for the diversity of life on earth.

In addition to health and food benefits, research has shown that conserving land increases property values near greenbelts, saves tax dollars by encouraging more efficient development that require less public service infrastructure, and reduces the need for expensive water treatment facilities.

Across the country, local citizens and communities have formed land trusts to save the places they love. Community leaders in land trusts throughout the country have worked with willing landowners to save over 47 million acres of farms, forests, parks and places people care about, including land transferred to public agencies and protected via other means.

Strong, well-managed land trusts provide local communities with effective champions and caretakers of their critical land resources, and safeguard the land through the generations.

Editor’s Notes: The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., awards the accreditation seal to community institutions that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Commission, established in 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. See a complete list of all recently accredited land trusts online at http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/newsroom/press-releases. More information on the accreditation program is available on the Commission’s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org.  The Land Trust Alliance, of which the Lyme Land Conservation Trust is a member, is a national conservation group that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America. It works to increase the pace and quality of conservation by advocating favorable tax policies, training land trusts in best practices and working to ensure the permanence of conservation in the face of continuing threats. The Alliance publishes Land Trust Standards and Practices and provides financial and administrative support to the Commission. It has established an endowment to help ensure the success of the accreditation program and keep it affordable for land trusts of all sizes to participate in accreditation. More information can be found at http://www.landtrustalliance.org

Share