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Grants preserve land in Fairfield, Guilford, Hamden, Oxford, Shelton

December 17, 2018

Tracts of open-space land will be preserved in Fairfield, Shelton, Guilford, Hamden and Oxford among other towns in a $4.8-million grant to buy 1,139 acres of land in 14 Connecticut communities, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Monday.

The grants, administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, will help water companies, local governments and land trusts in securing open space for future generations. The local entities must provide matching funds.

In Fairfield, a grant of $82,500 will be used to purchase 3.6 acres at 760 Oldfield Road, mostly tidal wetland in the Pine Creek Open Space Preserve, to be used as a bird-spotting area.

The Guilford Land Conservation Trust will get $162,500 to help acquire 32.18 acres to protect a section of a 1,000-acre forest called Westwoods on land owned by the state, the land trust, and the town.

In Hamden, the town-owned Brooksvale Park will be enhanced by 42 acres through a $432,250 grant that will help protect an underground drinking-water supply called an aquifer.

More than 130 acres in Oxford, including 4,500 feet of frontage along Quaker Farms Road, also known as state Rte 188, called Schreiber Farm, will be saved through a $1.1 million grant. The farm includes wetlands and open fields along Eight Mile Brook, which originates at the Papermill Pond uphill at Southford Falls State Park.

In Shelton, $82,500 will be used to help purchase 6.7 acres in what is called the Pearmain Preserve. The site includes part of an approved, but not-yet-filed, housing subdivision. The purchase is aimed at providing a buffer to a hiking trail known as the Pearmain Path, which leads to a campsite spot known as Nicholdale Farm, which is owned by a local land trust.

“Connecticut’s tradition of preserving open space has helped define our landscape and preserve its important natural resources and geographical beauty,” Malloy said in a statement. “These grants continue our open space preservation legacy and will increase the availability of open space for our residents across our state.”

There is a statewide goal of protecting 673,210 acres of land, about 21 percent of the state. About half a million acres have been designated at this time.

“Since the program began in 1998, more than $125 million in state funding has been awarded to municipalities, nonprofit land conservation organizations, and water companies to assist in the purchase of more than 36,400 acres of land, including farmlands, in 139 cities and towns,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said. “These important open space properties protect natural resources and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.”

Other acquisitions supported by the grants will occur in Bethany, Canton, Town: Canton, Cornwall, Deep River, East Haddam, Griswold, Ledyard, Madison and Salisbury.

kdixon@ctpost.com Twitter: @KenDixonCT

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