Newsletter Spring 2015

What’s New with NBLCT
Spring 2015

In the 5 years since NBLCT was re-energized, your land trust has been holding monthly meetings, usually the 1st Wednesday of each month at the Atwater Library, 7:00 pm. Open to the public, the issues and challenges facing the land trust are addressed at these meetings under the leadership of David Sargent, its president, members of the board and our membership. We are actively engaged with the town and townspeople seeking to acquire and preserve quality open space. We mark the boundaries on our properties, deal with encroachments, build trails, and host special events. We make our presence known to townspeople by leading hikes on Connecticut Trails Day, a national event held each June. We make a visible presence with our booth at the Potato & Corn Festival. We work with the Regional Water Authority in scheduling field trips and to protect open space on watersheds draining to reservoirs that are sources of public drinking water. Saving land with limited resources means we must work with the Planning and Zoning Commission to assure that land along water courses and land with environmentally sensitive features is spared from development. 

Here is a brief overview of what we’ve been doing and what we are planning to do.

We are developing an inventory of land in town which has outstanding qualities for open space. We refer to these lands as “Critical Choices for Open Space”.
 
We are planning a field trip on Regional Water Authority property later this year.

Early this year the board authorized formation of an investment committee that is charged with recommending prudent investments that will generate income for land acquisition, maintenance and on-going expenses.  Led by Hank Petroskey, this committee has developed prudent investment policies for NBLCT.

Our 2015 Annual Meeting will be held at the Stanley T. Williams Community Center on Wednesday, June 3. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Scott Williams, a scientist of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. The title of his talk, “Ticked Off” will reveal a surprising connection between Invasive plants, ticks, deer and Lyme disease. More specific information about the Annual Meeting will be available on our website.

Last year we celebrated National/State Trails Day with a hike over a trail built by land trust members on its Notch Hill Brook property. Named after the brook that flows through it, this parcel is located in the southeast corner of town. 30+ people hiked the trail that day.  In September, a high school senior, Conner Gilbert, to earn an Eagle Scout badge, designed, organized acquisition of materials, engaged other scouts and adults to construct a bridge where none existed over the brook. The bridge now makes it a lot easier for people to cross the brook. 

This year the trails-day hike will be on the former Augur Farm property, (much of it is along the Farm River) now owned by the Town, on Saturday, June 6. Meet at 9:30 am at the Totoket Valley Park. The hike will be led by land trust board member, Geoffrey Smith. A person familiar with the history of land use and natural features of the river will provide hikers with an interesting and entertaining commentary as the hike progresses. (Note—in case of rain, the hike will be held the next day, Sunday June 7, 9:30 am.)

Creating maps of all land trust parcels, other “Critical Choice” parcels displaying outstanding environmental features would be an enormous task. Technology, however, has simplified the job making it possible to display overlays of wetlands, soil types, contours, aerial vegetative cover and man-made features on or nearby each of these parcels. One of our members is expert at creating these kinds of maps.

Working with the Planning & Zoning Commission, developers and the town:

1) We saved a parcel of open space along the Farm River, part of a subdivision on Mill Road, downstream of the “waterfall” of an old mill pond dam.
2) We expect to be given a 26-acre tract of open space within a subdivision of a portion of the former Schanz Farm. Much of the open space is along the Farm River in Northford.
3) We are working with the Town Planner on saving open space and better access to open space that we own in the NW corner of town.
4) We are working with the Town in clearing up encroachment-dumping on town-owned land and land trust property, some of which extends to the Farm River.
5) Working with neighbors we helped persuade the Town Council to vote against commercial development (a cell phone tower) of town-owned open space in a residential neighborhood. NBLCT owns adjoining property accessible from Briarwood Drive. After some boundary issues are resolved, the town may transfer ownership of this land to NBLCT.

And,
• The public is invited to our monthly meetings at the Atwater Memorial Library Community Room: 1st Wednesday of each month, 7:00 pm. Bring a friend.
• Check us out on Facebook.  If you don’t Facebook don’t worry.  Simply Google ‘North Branford Land Conservation Trust’ and click on the link that says ‘Facebook’.  You don’t have to sign up to look at it.
• Our web site is up and running! NBLandTrust.org