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If you visited us before and what to know what's new or happening, take a look here first. Also see the Events Page for Eastern CT Forest Landowners Association.

HELP WANTED

The Conservation Commission has several openings for members, and is also looking for volunteers to help with an update to our open space inventory and to conduct a trails inventory. No experience needed - we will provide training. If you are interested, please contact Chair Lee Wesler at

SOURCEWATER PROTECTION MEETINGS AND DRAFT REGULATIONS

The Woodstock Conservation Commission has been working with Marc Cohen of the Atlantic States Rural Water and Wastewater Association on strategies to protect Woodstock’s drinking water supply. There will be a series of public meetings to discuss benefits and regulatory approaches. Check the Town calendar for upcoming events. See the draft plan, map and more info.

HEALTHY FOREST RESERVE FUNDING AVAILABLE THROUGH TGLV (May 2018)

The Last Green Valley Announces First Funding Phase of $12.2 Million Project
to Protect the Southern New England Heritage Forest

The Last Green Valley, Inc. and its project partners have launched phase one of a $12.2 million program to help landowners in the Southern New England Heritage Forest conserve their land while improving vital habitat for important bird species.

The program is an unprecedented three-state effort made possible through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Joining NRCS and The Last Green Valley, Inc. (TLGV) as lead partners are the Mass Conn Sustainable Forest Partnership/Opacum Land Trust and the Northern Rhode Island Conservation District.

This program will provide technical and financial assistance to forest landowners with property within the Southern New England Heritage Forest (SNEHF), who wish to conserve their land by granting an easement to NRCS through the Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP). The HFRP is a voluntary conservation easement program for private woodland owners that is new to the region. The deadline for first-round applications is July 20, 2018.

Preserving the Southern New England Heritage Forest is critical for important bird species and other wildlife. With 1.49 million-acres of unfragmented forest corridor stretching along the Connecticut and Rhode Island border to the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts, the Southern New England Heritage Forest is still an astonishing 76 percent forest cover and one of the last viable wildlife corridors from northern New England to the coast in southern New England.

The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor accounts for almost half of the Southern New England Heritage Forest. As the last green oasis in the coastal sprawl between Boston and Washington D.C., the program is vital to ensuring the national heritage corridor and the larger Southern New England Heritage Forest continue supporting threatened bird species and other important wildlife and plant species.

NRCS will pay the landowner 75 percent of the fair market value of the enrolled land to promote the recovery of endangered and threatened bird species and improve plant and animal biodiversity. NRCS will also pay for all transaction costs, including a title search, boundary survey, hazardous materials search and appraisal. NRCS will draft a restoration plan for the property that focuses on improving habitat for a specific bird species and will provide 75 percent or more of the funds for the first round of any restoration work that is required.

The funds provided in phase one are a portion of the larger $12.2 million program. NRCS is providing a $6.1 million grant which is being matched by $6.1 of significant contributions from the project’s numerous partners, including the three lead partner organizations and 16 additional organizations.  

While the application deadline for the first round of this competitive program is July 20, 2018, we advise potential applicants to contact the lead partner in their state as soon as possible. There are preliminary steps that must be completed, and the partners are available to provide technical assistance:

For Connecticut Projects – Bill Reid, 860 774-3300; bill@tlgv.org
For Massachusetts Projects – Ed Hood, 508-347-9144 (leave a voice mail with your contact info); ehood@opacumlt.org
For Rhode Island Projects – Kate Sayles, 401-934-0840;  ksayles.nricd@gmail.com

Application materials are available on The Last Green Valley’s website,  www.thelastgreenvalley.org

Supporting partners for this project include: MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Providence Water, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Hull Forest Products, Thames River Basin Partnership, New England Forestry Foundation, Eastern CT Conservation District, Norcross Wildlife Foundation, RI Division of Forest Management, RI Woodland Partnership, Harvard Forest, Yale Sustaining Family Forests Institute, Audubon Connecticut, Mass Audubon and Audubon RI.

The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor is the last stretch of dark night sky in the coastal sprawl between Boston and Washington, D.C. and was designated by the U.S. Congress in 1994. The Last Green Valley, Inc. works for you in the National Heritage Corridor. Together we can care for it, enjoy it and pass it along.

FOREST MANAGEMENT PLAN PREPARED FOR QUARRY ROAD PROPERTY

The Woodstock Conservation Commission took the lead in having an updated Forest Management Plan prepared for the Quarry Road town property. Download a PDF version of the plan here. A sustainable timber harvest is planned to improve forest health and generate revenue. A Town Meeting will be held on October 4, 2017 to discuss the proposed contract for the timber harvest - see factsheet.

YALE FOREST SUMMER SEMINAR SERIES

Every summer, free seminars are offered at Yale Forest by researchers and graduate students.

2012 STUDY OF AQUATIC VEGETATION AT ROSELAND LAKE

In 2012, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station conducted an aquatic plant survey at Roseland Lake in Woodstock. The results are found here: http://www.ct.gov/caes/cwp/view.asp?a=2799&q=514228. A map of what plants were found where is also online.

They identified 12 plant species, none of which were invasive. (Invasive Phragmites (Common reed) does grow on the shoreline in spots.) The plants they found were: Callitriche species (Water-starwort) Elodea nuttallii (St. John western waterweed), Nuphar variegata (Variegated yellow pond-lily), Nymphaea odorata (American white waterlily), Peltandra virginica (Green arrow arrum), Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed), Potamogeton epihydrus (Ribbonleaf pondweed), Potamogeton foliosus (Leafy pondweed), Potamogeton robbinsii (Robbins' pondweed), Sagittaria sp. (Arrowhead). Spirodela polyrhiza (Common duckmeat), and Vallisneria americana (American eelgrass).

This was good news, because invasive milfoil has been seen upstream of Roseland Lake.

Jean Pillo of the Woodstock Conservation Commission noted: "The dissolved oxygen in the lake drops to lethal levels at 3 meters and the total phosphorus concentrations in the bottom of the lake were 334.9 ppb – a very high number! In freshwater systems, phosphorus is typically the limiting factor for plant growth. The measure of water transparency, or Secchi disk measurement was 1.5 meters. Low dissolved oxygen on the bottom and low light levels would both contribute to the relative lack of submerged aquatic vegetation in the lake. The date of the survey was June 19, 2012. Last year, we had an early spring so plant and algae growth got a head start."

Lake survey data is also available for Crystal Pond and Black Pond in Woodstock, CT

Wyndham Land Trust Expands Preserves In Woodstock CT

At the end of 2012, Ken Rapoport donated 49.5 acres of land in Woodstock CT  to the Wyndham Land Trust. The donation contains forest and a wetland shrubby thicket. Iit also includes three active hayfields which will remain as farm land. The land is adjacent to the land trust's Linda J. Rapoport Memorial Preserve along Pulpit Rock Road in Woodstock, and also connects with their Paul and Avis Spalding Preserve.

"We're very excited to receive this property," said Andy Rzeznikiewicz, the land trust's land manager. "We now have 158 acres protected in this area of Woodstock, and it represents a large contiguous parcel that is important for supporting the movement of wildlife. That land is protected from development in perpetuity, and it's a gift to the people of Woodstock and the Quiet Corner."

"This expansion of the Linda Rapoport Memorial Preserve protects active farmland and critical watershed land in the Taylor Brook watershed," said Jean Pillo, Chairperson of the Woodstock Conservation Commission. "These are goals of the Woodstock Plan of Open Space and Conservation. We are thankful to the Wyndham Land Trust and their partners for making this happen."

"In my opinion, Ken Rapoport is a local hero. His tireless efforts to preserve this large tract of land have left a lovely legacy for all to enjoy," said Bet Zimmerman of the Woodstock Conservation Commission.

VERNAL POOL SURVEYS AND CERTIFICATIONS - VERNAL POOL SURVEYS AND CERTIFICATION

Woodstock Conservation Commission Vernal Pool Surveys and Certification Dear Property Owner: The Woodstock Conservation Commission in collaboration with the Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Pomfret, is conducting a voluntary town wide vernal pool inventory. Protecting the integrity of our natural resources is essential to providing a healthy environment for local wildlife. Wetlands and isolated lowlands known as vernal pools are an integral component of these natural resources. Vernal pools are critical breeding grounds for many species of frogs and salamanders as well as important habitat for a diverse collection of woodland creatures. Identifying and permanently protecting vernal pools benefits our natural ecosystem and maintains forest ecology. As a property owner, you can help assure that vernal pools remain protected for years to come. There are several important facts you should know about vernal pools and limitations which they can place on your property.

1. A vernal pool is an area regulated by the Woodstock Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission based on the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act in Sec.22a-38 Definitions section number 16 “Watercourses means rivers, streams, brooks, waterways, lakes, ponds, marshes, swamps, bogs and all other bodies of water, natural or artificial, vernal or intermittent.…” The vernal pool area can not be filled. Its elevation cannot be altered.

2. The location of the certified vernal pools will be mapped and placed upon state and local wetland and water course maps. As such, it will be identified as an area regulated under Connecticut Wetlands laws.

3. Vernal pools are temporary bodies of water, usually wet in the spring (Vernal), but are sometimes wet much longer. They generally need to be wet at least two months of the year to support vernal pool wildlife. While the pools are fairly easy to spot when there is standing water dried out pools can be more difficult to locate.

WATER QUALITY MONITORING PROGRAM NEEDS VOLUNTEERS

How Clean is the Water in The Last Green Valley? You can help us find out. The Quinebaug-Shetucket Heritage Corridor Water Quality Monitoring Program is offering free training and use of equipment to "citizen scientists" who are willing to collect data to help us learn more about the current condition of their local streams. The "RBV" method uses pollution sensitive insects as indicators of water quality. Join QSHC Water Quality Program Coordinator Jean Pillo on Saturday, September 13 from 9 AM at the Ashford Town Hall for a 3 hour program that will teach you all you need to know to participate. Please call Jean at the 860-928-4948 extension 605 to reserve you space for this training opportunity. Download PDF version of flyer.

Greenways Designation:  Little River and Natchaug River SystemDEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy presents a greenways award to representatives from the Towns of Putnam and Woodstock

Both the Little River and the Natchaug River System were designated as a State Greenways in June 2006.  The goal of these greenways is to conserve natural resources, in particular by protecting water quality, providing for wildlife habitat, and in some areas offering passive recreational opportunities such as walking or birding.  On June 2, 2006, DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy presented a Municipal Achievement Award to the towns of Woodstock and Putnam for their joint support and willingness to conserve the natural resources of the Little River.  For more information, see Woodstock Greenways.

ANNUAL CELEBRATING AGRICULTURE DAY: held each September at the Woodstock Fairgrounds

Woodstock Conservation Commission display at 2006 Celebrating Ag DayFarmers, agricultural associations, and agri-business showcased the many aspects of agriculture in this region. The day included exhibits, demonstrations, music, a farm tour, animals, a parade and family fun designed to improve understanding of residents and visitors, of the presence and importance of agriculture in the Quinebaug Shetucket Heritage Corridor. The Conservation Commission's display focused on Greenways, Bluebirds and Invasive Plants. For more info, see the Celebrating Agriculture website.

To obtain a free copy of the guide, visit AFT's Connecticut page or contact Cris Coffin at 413.586.9330 ext. 29. 

Conservation Commission
Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers
is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.

- Ben Hecht