The Nature Conservancy today praised the Trust for Public Land (TPL) for the announcement of an agreement to protect the 1,000-acre parcel known as The Preserve, and expressed its appreciation to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), and the Town of Old Saybrook for their support of the project.
“This property has been one of the most well-known tracts of land in the state for more than a decade — and with good reason” said Frogard Ryan, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “There are very few unprotected parcels of forest land this large remaining anywhere in Connecticut, and particularly in our coastal towns.”
The vast majority of the parcel is in Old Saybrook, but it is also comprised of smaller holdings in Essex and Westbrook. Along with other undeveloped properties, the parcel is part of a minimally fragmented forest area of several thousand acres. Such large, unbroken forests are essential for many species of migratory songbirds and other species. The parcel contains critical wetlands habitat and the headwaters of three different coastal river watersheds.
“There are important open space projects happening every month in communities all over Connecticut, but there are only one or two properties each decade that will be known statewide for years to come” Ryan said. “East Lyme’s Rocky Neck in the 1930s, Stratford Great Meadows in the 1990s, Trout Brook Valley and the lands that became Centennial Watershed State Forest in the 2000s are among those. This announcement holds great promise that The Preserve will be a signature acquisition of the 2010s.”
Much hard work remains to complete appraisals and the many details of a large conservation project, and to raise the necessary public and private funds. “We look forward to putting our full weight behind the lead partners in bringing this crucial conservation project to fruition,” Ryan said.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
Media Relations Manager
The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut