Sen. Tony Hwang Applauds Land Grants in Preservation of Open Space and Watershed Land

January 9, 2020

Hartford, CT — State Senator Tony Hwang today applauded the release of bond allocation funds to support regional open space preservation organizations to acquire and preserve two parcels of land in Weston and others throughout Connecticut. These grants are made through the state’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Program and administered by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The program is intended to protect wildlife habitats, offer recreational opportunities, and serve as a countermeasure to climate change. Recipient projects are required to supplement the state funding with matching funds or other grants, and the land being purchased must be protected by a conservation and public recreation easement that will ensure the property is forever protected for public use and enjoyment.

“This is a win for land preservation efforts,” said Sen. Hwang. “It is good public policy to be conscientious stewards of our fragile and priceless natural habitats in our dramatically changing environment. It is our duty as legislative leaders to embrace our role in preserving precious and priceless natural ecology for future generations to experience, discover, and treasure. I am honored to play a small part in ensuring the preservation and conservation of open space and watershed areas for future generations to come.”

Specific details of the grants in Weston advocated by The Nature Conservancy and Aspetuck Land Trust are included below:

Project Name: Weston Farms

Sponsor: The Nature Conservancy

Grant: $602,000

Total Area: 74.16 acres

Description: The Nature Conservancy aims to purchase 74-plus acres of forest directly adjacent to Devil’s Den Preserve. This is The Nature Conservancy’s largest preserve in Connecticut and is part of 15,300 acres of contiguous forestland with high conservation value. Weston Farms is a mature, mixed hardwood forest that lies within the Saugatuck Central Greenbelt. The parcel lies entirely within the West Branch sub watershed of the Saugatuck River, a Class A stream. A hiking trail will connect to the 20-mile loop trail at Devil’s Den.

Sarah Pellegrino, Land Protection and Strategies Manager for The Nature Conservancy in CT said, “This property has been a top conservation priority for The Nature Conservancy for decades and we are thrilled to add it to Devil’s Den Preserve.”

Project Name: Fromson-Strassler Acquisition

Sponsor: Aspetuck Land Trust

Grant: $625,000

Total Area: 85.86 acres

Description: This property is adjacent to the Aspetuck Land Trust’s 118 acre Honey Hill Preserve. The site is part of a forest block assemblage of more than 350 acres. There are 5 wetlands on the property covering 22 acres. The wetlands on the northern end of the property form the headwaters of the West branch of the Saugatuck River. American eel and Black-nosed dace have been collected in the West branch. Migratory bird species and amphibians inhabit the site. A trailhead and parking area at the end of Upper Parish Drive will create a link to the area’s regional trail system.

David Brant, Executive Director, Aspetuck Land Trust said, “This property forms the core of a 711-acre forest block in partnership with the Wilton Land Conservation Trust and is part of Aspetuck Land Trust’s Green Corridor which will traverse 6 towns. The new property, which is adjacent to Aspetuck Land Trust’s Honey Hill Preserve, will provide better public access to the forest block and new hiking trails including a unique opportunity to create a “Fairfield County Long Trail” that connects the Norwalk River Valley Trail which begins at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk to Huntington State Park in Redding. This is an incredible opportunity in our region.”