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The Nature Conservancy Helps Expand National Wildlife Refuge

Sale of 290 Acres to Fish and Wildlife Service Adds to Silvio O. Conte Refuge

Haddam, CT | August 19, 2009

At lower Pine Brook, it’s easy to forget you’re in Connecticut, home to 3.5 million people. It feels utterly remote. The tidal river flows quietly through the deep woods, with no sign of houses or cars.

Now, 290 acres of land at the confluence of Pine Brook and the Salmon River will remain in this remarkable condition; The Nature Conservancy and the Town of Haddam recently sold the former Elm Camp to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for inclusion in their Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

The property fronts Pine Brook for more than 3,000 feet, acting as a buffer for this high-quality stream. Pine Brook is the only major Salmon River tributary without artificial barriers to migratory fish and provides important habitat for the state’s populations of cold-water fish. Downstream at Salmon Cove, tidal marshes serve as winter roosting sites for bald eagles and support several rare species.

“It’s rare to have the opportunity to preserve a tidal river in such great forested condition,” said Lise Hanners, Ph.D, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

The property also links Salmon Cove to more than 6,000 acres of protected land to the north, in the heart of the Conservancy’s Lower Connecticut River program.

“With this property serving as their anchor point, the Refuge can continue to invest in conservation land on the Lower Connecticut River,” said Shelley Green, director of the Conservancy’s Lower Connecticut River Program. “And people will enjoy this beautiful place for generations to come.”

To avoid imminent sale for development, the Conservancy and the Town of Haddam purchased the property, once Haddam voters supported the acquisition in both a town meeting and referendum. Representatives Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy and Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman were instrumental in helping to secure federal Land and Water Conservation Funds for land acquisition here and elsewhere in the Refuge.

About the Silvio O. Conte Refuge

The Fish and Wildlife Service maintains 550 National Wildlife Refuges, encompassing nearly 150 million acres of the nation’s most significant land and water resource areas for plants, fish, wildlife and people. The Silvio O. Conte Refuge was established by Congress in 1991, and named after the late Massachusetts Congressman who had introduced legislation to establish a Connecticut River Refuge.

For more information about the Conservancy’s work in the Lower Connecticut River, visit

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

Kerry Crisley
(617) 227-7017 x316

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