Shoreline Lawmakers Announce Open Space Grants for Branford and Madison
Grants to allow for the protection of nearly 100 acres in Branford and Madison
Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford) joined Representatives Lonnie Reed (D-Branford), Sean Scanlon (D-Guilford), and Noreen Kokoruda (R-Madison) today to announce the approval of state grants that will be used to preserve open space in Branford and Madison. These grants, administered by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition program, will be used by the towns and local conservation organizations to conserve nearly 100 acres of open space.
“These two projects will protect and preserve large plots of open, undeveloped lands for future generations to enjoy,” said Senator Kennedy. “The natural character of Connecticut’s shoreline communities is what makes them such great places to live. These open space projects will ensure that plants and wildlife will continue to thrive in our communities. The shoreline’s legislative delegation has supported funding for projects like this, and legislation that is making it easier for open space to be acquired and protected. Protecting our natural environment is the right thing to do, and an economically important thing to do. I will continue working on these initiatives as we enter the 2017 legislative session.”
“This DEEP grant helps expand and protect existing open space assets along the Branford/Guilford border that are enjoyed by shoreline residents of all ages and that also attract visitors to our area who come to explore and stay to shop and dine,” said Representative Reed.
“I’m very pleased to have partnered with Sen. Kennedy and local and state environmental leaders to ensure the Warner/Hull Property will remain open and preserved for generations to come. Preservation of this 29 acre property which runs through Guilford and Branford will ensure wildlife habitat, help with water qualify and forest protecting, and enhance public recreation. We value open space here on the shoreline and I’m proud to have been able to help expand protection to yet another nearly 30 acres of land in our beautiful communities,” said Representative Scanlon.
“The funding for the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (CCRWA) will provide generations to come with the opportunity to enjoy unencumbered landscapes and expanded trails, right here in Madison” said Representative Kokoruda, who serves the 101st General Assembly District representing Madison and Durham. “During difficult economic times like these, it’s really great to see organizations making strides and forming partnerships to fulfill their common mission, which is to preserve the natural beauty and rural character of our shoreline towns. Although the state has granted $715,000 to be used for this project, it’s important to note that the Madison Land Conservation Trust is planning to raise an additional $380,000 for a total investment of $1,095,000. These funds will allow for two parcels of land to be added to the land near and adjacent to the Summer Hill Preserve and is a critical next step in expanding Madison’s greenway. This project is an example of a true partnership between the state of Connecticut and the Madison Land Conservation Trust and I would like to express my gratitude for their continued effort and hard work.”
Branford will receive a $91,000 grant for the purpose of protecting the Warner/Hull property. Located abutting and just south of I-95 along the Branford-Guilford town line, this 29.1 acre undeveloped wood lot within the Hoadley Creek watershed contributes to an existing greenway of unfragmented forest and complements existing preserved open space. Wildlife habitat, water quality, forest protection and public recreation will be enhanced or permanently protected. This preservation project will be sponsored by the Branford Land Trust.
“The Red Hill Woods property has some unique features, including a floodplain forest, and is also adjacent to a large parcel of open space on the shoreline managed by the Branford and Guilford Land Trusts. These larger parcels are particularly important for upland conservation and protecting downstream ecosystems and we thank DEEP, Senator Kennedy and shoreline representatives Reed, Scanlon and Kokoruda for making this possible,” said Branford Land Trust President Pete Raymond.
Madison will receive a $715,000 grant for the acquisition of two parcels that are currently owned by the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (CCRWA) in the Town of Madison. These undeveloped woodlots are located on Summer Hill road and Route 80. Acquisition would protect this land, the forest, and the associated habitats, provide for expanded trail development and interconnect several abutting open space parcels for a continuous Greenway. These parcels are a combined 63,78 acres in size, and their preservation will be sponsored by the Madison Land Conservation Trust (MLCT). These new properties will link lands already preserved by MLCT, establishing over 300 acres of connected open space.
MLCT President Michael J. Maloney hailed the grant award as a real victory. “Land purchases such as this help our environment and water resources, open up passive recreational opportunities, and help to preserve the rural character of Madison. One of the MLCT priorities is land along our rivers, and these two parcels abut Hammonasset River watershed land. Conserving them will benefit not only that land, but also the health of the river and Long Island Sound.”
Open space projects like these are helping Connecticut achieve its goal of protecting 673,210 acres of land and preserving twenty-one percent of state land by 2023. To date, Connecticut has over 500,000 acres designated as state or local open space lands, close to 75 percent of the goal.