It's About the Land 12-1-2010

Totoket Times, December, 2010

The North Branford Land Conservation Land Trust, Incorporated
It's About the Land

Some of you may be unaware that there may be a land trust parcel in your neighborhood. A few may not know that an organization such as a land conservation trust even exists in our town. If you were outdoors on a recent Saturday morning you might have seen a group of our members with loppers (big pruning shears), bow saws, light chain saws, compass and measuring tape walking on a piece of woodland. And you might have seen another group posting small round signs with the Land Trust logo to mark a land trust parcel boundary. It is some of the work that a land conservation trust such as ours needs to do. Although we are a small organization when compared with the land trusts of Branford and Guilford, our 225 acres held in mostly small woodland parcels also provide important natural functions. They act as a natural buffer for water courses. They are habitat corridors for wildlife. Among other environmental benefits, they also provide a degree of privacy for adjoining land owners (most likely a back or side yard). Most of the parcels held by our organization were deeded to us by developers to satisfy the zoning requirements for an approved subdivision.

Our goal is to identify boundary lines of all the parcels held by NBLCT. This will take months, perhaps years, depending on the number of people who join our organization and become actively involved in this work. And if you are physically unable to do much outdoor work, there is other work to be done. We still need a treasurer to help manage our finances and maintain compliance with the IRS. We will need someone to help tabulate, organize maps and photographs, and write up brief summaries of environmental attributes of each of our parcels for posting in an electronic data file.

One of the more serious problems we are encountering in the field is the proliferation of invasive species of plants, shrubs and in rarer cases, trees. They seem to be everywhere and are the result of "escaped" ornamental plantings that have begun taking over much of the forest understory. While it would be impossible to eradicate invasive plants and shrubs, their proliferation can be brought under control. But doing so will require a virtual army of well informed concerned citizens. That will be a topic for future articles.

There are other goals. Chief among them, through partnerships with other organizations, we hope to acquire land before it is subdivided. If that approach is beyond our reach, we want to be instrumental in securing portions of the land that have features valuable for protection of streams and rivers, provide habitat for wildlife, preserve farmland soils, protect views of the country-side, and are suitable for hiking trails.

In closing, our board meetings are open to the public. They are held once a month, usually the first Wednesday of the month (January 4, 2011 is our next meeting) at the Atwater Memorial Library. Meetings begin at 7:00 pm. Check out our web site, nblandtrust.org, for details about membership and other information about our organization.

Sincerely,

Otto Schaefer, Secretary
The North Branford Land Conservation Trust, Incorporated