Water conservation

NW CT Land Conservancy passes preservation milestone

KENT— Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy recently announced a new milestone in conservation: 13,000 acres of land and water permanently protected.

Newly conserved land in Bridgewater, Kent, Sharon and Washington includes a public nature reserve, working farmland and habitat for rare species, members said.

“Connecticut is not on track to meet its statewide land conservation goals. To help address this issue, NCLC is ambitiously accelerating its pace of conservation and has set a goal to protect an additional 2,500 acres by 2025,” said NCLC Executive Director Catherine Rawson.

According to the reservation:

In Bridgewater, NCLC completed two conservation projects in 2021. The first, a land bequest from longtime resident Susan Hansen, protected 73 acres of central forest with exceptional biodiversity and established a permanent wildlife corridor to other retained lands of the city. The second was the permanent protection of the 100-acre Jane Pratt Farm in partnership with the Bridgewater Land Trust (BWLT). For this conservation project, NCLC guided BWLT through the process of selling a conservation easement to the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, ensuring that this remarkable community resource will remain available for agricultural use forever.

Julie Stuart, Executive Director of Bridgewater Land Trust, said: “Our partnership with NCLC was key to our registration in the state farmland protection scheme. The experience and support they brought to the process was key to success. We are delighted to be the first land trust to receive this added protection from the state, and we hope it will pave the way for others.

In Kent, NCLC and the Kent Land Trust have established another innovative model of partnership to ensure the perpetual conservation of Iron Mountain Reserve, a 300-acre public hiking reserve. The property, which was previously owned by The Nature Conservancy, was transferred to KLT in 2021, and KLT subsequently granted a conservation easement to NCLC. The addition of the conservation easement provides the highest level of conservation protection possible and ensures that the public nature reserve will be maintained in its natural state in perpetuity.

In Washington and Sharon, landowners Ben Nickoll and Chrissy Armstrong continued their tremendous conservation legacy by conserving 14 acres and 59 acres respectively. The properties, which protect core forest and farmland, provide critical habitat for rare species and wildlife connections to other conserved lands. According to NCLC, Nickoll and Armstrong have protected nearly 800 acres with NCLC in Litchfield County over the past seventeen years.

Paul Elconin, Director of Land Conservation for NCLC, said, “Over 90% of the lands protected by NCLC are conserved through private donations. We feel immense gratitude for Chrissy and Ben’s commitment to conservation, and for each of our land donors who have chosen conservation over other potential outcomes. Their charitable donations benefit our communities, help keep our air and water clean, and provide places for us all to explore and enjoy.

To learn more about NCLC or to get involved, visit ctland.org