Defending Your Local Lands

Our region is known for its lush tree canopy, healthy forests, and acres upon acres of water company-owned open space. Whether you’re a mom who wants pure drinking water for your kids, a retiree savoring a tranquil moment of solitude, a group of friends sharing a hike or bike ride, or a resident of an urban area seeking fresh air and the regeneration nature can bring, defending these lands is vital.

A full-length report on land conservation in Connecticut, Conserving Northwest Connecticut: Adaptive Strategies for Accelerating the Pace of Conservation (2023) was  prepared for Save the Sound and the Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy (NCLC) by The Conway School. Read the full text here.

Current Lands Actions

Six Lakes: Six Lakes is a 102.5-acre parcel in Hamden, CT featuring mature forests, hiking paths, and six beautiful ponds. Owned by the Olin Corporation, the property was historically used for gunpowder storage, munitions testing, and a dumping ground for battery waste, solvents, and other industrial materials, leaving behind localized contamination. Once the necessary remediation is complete, Six Lakes can safely become a public park–the last remaining open space in southern Hamden with that potential. Read more here.

Strong’s Storage: The Strong’s Yacht Center – Proposed Boat Storage Buildings project in Southold, NY calls for the construction of two massive structures with footprints of about 50,000 square feet—more than an acre each—on Mattituck Creek on Long Island’s North Fork. The expansion would require clear-cutting 630 mature trees and removing 134,000 cubic yards of sand from a steep slope above the creek, leading some to call it a sand mining operation. Read more here.

Recreational Lands

Deer Lake: In 2022, Save the Sound was part of a coalition that helped save the 253-acre Deer Lake property from sale to a developer by its owner, the Connecticut Yankee Council of Boy Scouts of America. The lake and its surrounding forest now belong to the nonprofit group Pathfinders, and future generations of kids will have a chance to spend summers at Deer Lake, hikers and birders will continue to enjoy its quiet beauty, wildlife will keep their homes, and the forest will continue to cleanse and cool water on its way to Long Island Sound. Read more here.

Drinking Water and Utility Lands

Nothing protects your drinking water like the forests that buffer our reservoirs and help filter the rivers and streams that flow into them. But these Class I & II lands are at risk. Bad development, corporate mergers between utilities and water company land owners, and land-use changes—all can result in more water polluted, more lands lost, and more habitats destroyed.

MDC Colebrook: In 2023, Save the Sound and the Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy (NCLC) reached a Memorandum of Understanding with The Metropolitan District (MDC) to negotiate the terms and conditions of a conservation easement on approximately 5,500 acres. The land is located on the watershed tributary to the Colebrook Reservoir/West Branch Reservoir system, including 4,300 acres of open space land surrounding the Colebrook River Reservoir in Connecticut, and an additional approximately 1,200 acres in Massachusetts. Read more here.

Together with our allies and supportive members like you, we also:

  • Work with CT’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to make sure local land trusts are on the list to be notified when water company land comes up for sale.
  • Protected more than 100,000 acres of water company lands that surround Connecticut’s drinking water reservoirs.
  • Helped pass laws to defend another quarter-million acres of privately owned, undeveloped, and unprotected forestland.
  • Worked through utility merger proceedings to protect nearly 10,000 acres of open space in over 90 towns and cities throughout Connecticut.

Trees and Your Town

Preserving large tracts of land is necessary, but so is conserving trees and open spaces in your neighborhood. Connecticut’s roadside trees provide cleaner air, shade, stormwater absorption, and higher property values. They are part of New England’s distinctive charm, but aggressive tree cutting by the state’s two largest electric utilities seriously threatens these trees.

These efforts have already left many neighborhoods devoid of tall trees and have mangled others, leaving them structurally unsound and at greater risk for disease and death. We can reduce risk to electric infrastructure without decimating Connecticut’s roadside trees. Learn how to protect your neighborhood’s trees.

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Tuesday, May 21, in Windsor, CT
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