Granby, Simsbury land, watershed preserved; Farmington River gets water quality monitoring

Jan 11th, 2011 | By | Category: General

A 38-acre mountaintop wilderness in Granby and a 73-acre forest on a historic Simsbury farm will be preserved thanks, in part, to two grants from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. A third grant will improve water quality monitoring in towns along the lower Farmington River.

The grants, totaling more than $160,000, were awarded to the Granby and Simsbury Land Trusts and the Farmington River Watershed Association by the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation. Mr. Garmany, who was a resident of Avon and an executive of Aetna, established the fund shortly before his death in 2008. Receiving grants were:

The Granby Land Trust – $60,000 to help preserve 38 acres of undeveloped land in the area of Old Messenger Road in West Granby. The property will be known as the Garmany Preserve. Additional funding was awarded by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.
 
“The Granby Land Trust is extremely grateful to the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for helping make possible the preservation of this beautiful property and for providing us with the financial support to build a trail system upon it,” said Rick Orluk, Granby Land Trust president.
 

Virtually untouched by roads or development, and home to a variety of wildlife, the parcel abuts Granby Land Trust property on two sides. Its purchase will create a link to provide access to 325 contiguous preserved acres and the opportunity to create a system of hiking, nature and cross-country ski trails across at least 262 of those acres. Besides its natural beauty, the land contains stone walls and old stone cellars, remnants of the generations of the Messenger family who lived on the land for more than 150 years.

“The Granby Land Trust is extremely grateful to the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for helping make possible the preservation of this beautiful property and for providing us with the financial support to build a trail system upon it,” said Rick Orluk, Granby Land Trust president.

The Simsbury Land Trust – $75,000 to help purchase the development rights to a 73-acre forest on the south side of Tulmeadow Farm off Farms Village Road, completing a seven-year effort to protect the entire 260-acre farm from development. Additional funding comes from the U.S. Forest Service’s 2010 Forest Legacy Program, the State of Connecticut and private donations.   
 
“Sale of the development rights to the Simsbury Land Trust ensures that the forest will remain a viable and treasured community landmark for public use, in perpetuity,” said Amy Zeiner, executive director of the Land Trust.

The purchase also will provide a link to other protected land. The southern boundary abuts a substantial east/west corridor of several hundred acres consisting of Town-owned open space, the rail bed connecting Stratton Pond State Park with the Ethel Walker Woods and Town Forest Park. Flamig Farm, protected by the Town’s purchase of development rights, is adjacent on the west; the remainder of Tulmeadow Farm, already protected, is on the north, leading to the ridge corridor beyond. 

The Land Trust purchased development rights to 187 acres in 2004, with the aid of a $150,000 grant from the Hartford Foundation. Although the Tuller family maintains ownership – as it has since 1768 – any sale could only be for agricultural purposes, not for more lucrative commercial development. Surveys have indicated that more than 130 homes could be built on the farm, including 42 on the forest land. 

“Sale of the development rights to the Simsbury Land Trust ensures that the forest will remain a viable and treasured community landmark for public use, in perpetuity,” said Amy Zeiner, executive director of the Land Trust. 

The Farmington River Watershed Association – $27,500 for its water quality monitoring program that tracks the river’s ability to support aquatic life and safe recreation.  The Farmington River is the primary source of clean drinking water for Greater Hartford.
The grant will enable the agency to purchase an additional system for incubating bacteria samples, and a high-quality stereo microscope and lighting system for identifying the stream macro-invertebrates that are indicators of water quality. 

“Because we check surface water quality frequently, our work in the lower Farmington River area helps the towns and the state identify areas that may need further attention or action,” explained Alisa Phillips-Griggs, water quality and  projects coordinator. “If there’s a continuous record of water quality for a particular spot, it’s easier to document a change for better or worse over time.” Much of the work is carried out by volunteers who have expertise in the procedures. Lab space is provided by the Town of Simsbury.

Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for the 29-town Greater Hartford region, dedicated to improving the quality of life for area residents for the past 85 years.  The Foundation receives gifts from thousands of generous individuals and families, and last year, awarded grants of more than $25 million to a broad range of area nonprofit organizations.  For more information about the Hartford Foundation, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.

Granby Land Trust
Founded in 1972, the Granby Land Trust owns approximately 1,100 acres in Granby and has preserved another 900 acres through conservation easements.  For more information, please visit www.GranbyLandTrust.org.

Simsbury Land Trust
Established in 1976, the Simsbury Land Trust owns land or interests in land at 30 locations totaling 832 acres. For more information, please visit www.simsburylandtrust.org.

Farmington River Watershed Association
The Farmington River Watershed Association conducts research, education and advocacy programs to fulfill its mission of protecting the Farmington River and the natural resources of its watershed forever. For more information, please visit www.frwa.org.

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One Comment to “Granby, Simsbury land, watershed preserved; Farmington River gets water quality monitoring”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ctenvheadlines, Daniel McFadden. Daniel McFadden said: Encouraging to see continued CT private/public open space projects go forward. Via @ctenvheadlines http://bit.ly/dNDLDL [...]

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