March 31, 2015

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.


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.


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

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


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

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 or call 413-772-2020, ext. 201


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, 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

(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 town site or


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:

With many thanks to Dan .. enjoy!


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.


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!


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.


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


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


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

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:



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.


Lyme Land Conservation Trust Earns National Recognition

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 More information on the accreditation program is available on the Commission’s website,  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


Potapaug Offers Archaeology, Natural Studies Walk in Old Lyme, Saturday

Join Potapaug Audubon and Old Lyme’s Town Historian Dr. John Pfeiffer for an Archaeology and Natural Studies Walk on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 10 a.m. at Ames Rockshelter, 130 Whippoorwill Rd. Old Lyme.

This is a follow up walk to Dr. Pfieffer’s Nov. 6, lecture on the Native Americans, the Nehantic. The walk is about three miles long.

For more information, call 860-710-5811.


Bye, Bye Beavers? Rodents Raise a Ruckus in Essex

Beavers are causing a bit of bother in Essex.

Beavers are causing a bit of bother in Essex.

There’s a small storm brewing in our near-neighbor Essex about – of all things – beavers!  The Essex Conservation Commission voted unanimously at a Nov. 6 meeting to pursue the possible lethal trapping  of beavers in a pond at Viney Brook Park.  The proposed trapping, which would be carried out by a state licensed trapper who had worked with the commission previously, has drawn an outcry from Essex residents.

As a result of complaints to the Essex Board of Selectmen, the conservation commission will now discuss the trapping at its next regular meeting on Dec. 4.  The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall.

Click here to read our sister online newspaper, which is packed with Letters to the Editor on the subject.


Nature Conservancy Holds Deer Hunt at Lyme’s Selden Creek Preserve to Support Deer Management Program

deer-290x300The Nature Conservancy is coordinating a deer hunt at the Conservancy’s Selden Creek Preserve in Lyme starting Wednesday, Nov. 19 and continuing  through Wednesday, Dec. 31; however, the preserve will not be closed because the hunting area is safely separated from the part of the preserve with public trails.

The Conservancy is also coordinating a hunt at the Burnham Brook Preserve in East Haddam during the same timeframe.  The Preserve will be closed to public access during that period.

The goal of the hunts is to reduce the negative impacts of forest overbrowse in these important habitats, restore balance and foster regeneration.

Safety for the hunters and neighbors of the preserves is a top priority for the Conservancy. Signs will be posted at Burnham Brook Preserve informing visitors the preserve is closed during the hunting season, and neighbors have been notified that hunting will take place. At both preserves, the hunters involved have been hunting together for many years and have hunted on the land before.

Deer overbrowsing impacts forest regeneration, wildflowers and the shrub layer.  This not only affects the health of the forest but also the animals that depend on it.  Birds that nest and feed on or near the ground have lost the groundcover necessary for protection from predators as well as sources of food.

Managed hunting is believed to be an effective tool that can reduce deer populations and curb the damage deer cause, allowing native natural communities, plants and trees to recover their full vigor and diversity.


Connecticut River Gateway Commission Donates $5,000 To “The Preserve” Fund

Connecticut River Gateway Commission Chairman Melvin Woody presents a $5,000 contribution to The Preserve Fund to Kate Brown (center), Trust for Public Land Project Manager for “The Preserve” acquisition. On the far left is Commission Vice Chair Nancy Fischbach, and on the right are Commission Secretary Madge Fish & Treasurer Margaret (“Peggy”) Wilson.

Connecticut River Gateway Commission Chairman Melvin Woody presents a $5,000 contribution to The Preserve Fund to Kate Brown (center), Trust for Public Land Project Manager for “The Preserve” acquisition. On the far left is Commission Vice Chair Nancy Fischbach, and on the right are Commission Secretary Madge Fish & Treasurer Margaret (“Peggy”) Wilson.

The Connecticut River Gateway Commission has contributed $5,000 to the Trust for Public Land Campaign to Preserve the 1,000 Acre Forest

The donation will help ensure that the parcel known as The Preserve in Old Saybrook, Westbrook, and Essex will be permanently protected as forestland and wildlife habitat.

The Gateway Commission was established in 1973 to administer the Connecticut River Gateway Conservation Zone.  Eight towns in the lower Connecticut Valley including Lyme and Old Lyme along with Chester, Deep River, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam and Old Saybrook joined together in a compact to create the Conservation Zone in order to protect the scenic, historic and environmental resources of the lower Connecticut River.

Although not within the Conservation Zone, The Preserve lies within the lower Connecticut River watershed.  It is the last thousand-acre coastal forest between New York and Boston and includes the headwaters of streams that flow into the Connecticut.

The Commission believes that its protection is important to the ecological health of the watershed and the river.

According to Gateway Commission Chairman Melvin Woody “The Gateway Commission is gratified to join in this vital preservation project.”

For more information about the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, visit or contact J. H. Torrance Downes at (860) 581-8554, or email him at


Clarification: Deadline for Annual Land Trust Photo Contest Extended to Dec. 1

2013 Land Trust Photo Contest winner by Hank Golet.

2013 Land Trust Photo Contest winner by Hank Golet.

Amateur photographers, no matter where they live, may submit photographs of the scenic countryside, wildlife, plants, and cultural and historic features in the towns of East Haddam, Essex, Lyme, Old Lyme, and Salem.
Submissions are being accepted up to Dec. 1. Contest rules are available online at . Entry forms for the contest will be available after September 1 by email only at
A panel of three judges will award cash prizes in the following five categories:Landscape/Waterscape ~ Plants ~ Wildlife ~ Cultural/Historic ~ Youth (photographs of any of the above subjects by photographers aged 14 and younger).Additionally, a special John G. Mitchell Memorial Award will go to the photograph determined to best promote and support biodiversity and the environment.
The Contest judges are William Burt, a naturalist and wildlife photographer acclaimed for his beautiful books; and Amy Kurtz Lansing, an accomplished art historian and curator at the Florence Griswold Museum. New to the panel of judges is Skip Broom, a respected, award-winning local photographer and antique house restoration housewright. Broom replaces the much-appreciated retiring judge, Rudy Muller, who volunteered with the Photo Contest for many years.
All entered photographs, plus all winning photos, will be displayed and celebrated in a public reception in March 2015.
Organizers of the contest, East Haddam Land Trust, Essex Land Trust, Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Old Lyme Land Trust, and the Salem Land Trust, and encourage amateur photographers to join the fun and share wonderful photos from these southern Connecticut towns.Previous Land Trusts Photo Contest winning photos, viewable at, highlight the beauty of these towns and the pressing need to preserve the environments within these towns.

Substantial State Grants Announced for Lyme, Old Lyme Open Space Properties

State Rep. Marilyn Giuliano (R-23) along with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced state grants of: $351,000 to preserve 2.87 acres of open space in Lyme, $162,500 to preserve 40.76 acres of land on 106 Four Mile River Road in Old Lyme and $650,000 to preserve 186 acres of Horse Hill Woods – Phase II in Westbrook.  The collective grants will help preserve over 405 acres of open space.

Open Space projects are a continuation of the supportive roles that these Towns and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) have had in preserving open space and protecting habitat.

Sheldon Creek River Access in Lyme will receive $351,000 to preserve 2.87 acres of land.  Currently, the property is maintained as a meadow with 157 feet of waterfront access along Sheldon cove on the Connecticut River.  This parcel is recognized as a “Wetlands of International Importance,” with public parking and recreation to the river are easily accessible.

The 106 Four Mile River Road property in Old Lyme boasts over 1,250 feet of frontage and public access which will seek to be added to a open space parcels totaling 147 acres.  The $162,500 grant will protect the property, which is traversed by two wetland tributaries of the Three Mile River and is covered by diverse upland forest and stands of mountain laurel.

Additionally, the state also awarded a $650,000 grant to the town of Westbrook, aimed at protecting Horse Hill Woods – Phase II, which consists of two separately owned – but abutting – parcels of land: the Russo (143 acres) and Miele (43 acres) properties.

Giuliano lobbied to secure the purchase of “The Preserve” – a 1,000 acre coastal-forest area that the state is seeking to purchase along with the Town of Old Saybrook and surrounding towns.  The $471,250 award to the Essex Land Trust supports that organization’s plans to purchase a 70.6-acre section of “The Preserve”.

“An investment in preserving open space in Connecticut is one which will surely pay off.  These grants will help safeguard the natural beauty and habitats our district is known for.  Through these grants, we will ensure that generations to come will continue to enjoy the abundant natural beauty,” said Giuliano.

Aiming to preserve 673, 210 acres of undeveloped Connecticut land by 2023, the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) developed the Open Space program.  To date, the state has reached nearly 74 percent of its goal, preserving an impressive 496, 182 acres.