Newly Protected Land along Five-Mile River in Connecticut Helps Link Protected Areas in Three States

Jul 12th, 2012 | By | Category: Preservation, Top Story

The purchase of 124 acres by two conservation organizations offers provides habitat for state-listed species, including variable sedge, frosted elfin butterflies and blue-spotted salamanders.  

The Wyndham Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy announced the protection of 124 acres of important habitat along the Five-Mile River in the Quinebaug River basin in Thompson, Conn.

The Five Mile River by Holly Drinkuth, TNC

The Five-Mile River by Holly Drinkuth, TNC (contributed)

This land, bisected by the Five-Mile River in northeastern Connecticut, links conservation lands in three states—Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island—and supports habitat for several state-listed species.

The Wyndham Land Trust received an Open Space matching grant from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and shared the cost of the match with the Conservancy to purchase the land from Malcolm (Mac) Robbins. The Wyndham Land Trust will own and manage the land once used as working farmland and owned by Mr. Robbins’ father.

“This transaction required the fierce cooperation and serious patience of the organizational partners and especially Mr. Robbins himself,” said Mary Anthony, president of the Wyndham Land Trust. “It is very inspiring to see what can be accomplished in land conservation when individuals as well as local, state and nationwide conservation groups coordinate their efforts.”

The newly protected land supports one of the best populations of variable sedge, an endangered species in Connecticut. The land also provides suitable habitat and a host plant—wild indigo—for the frosted elfin butterfly, a state-listed threatened species. Forested wetlands and vernal pools on the property support a variety of amphibian species, including blue-spotted salamander, a state-listed species of special concern.

The three categories of species listings are defined by the 1989 Connecticut Endangered Species Act. Endangered species are considered to face the highest risk.

Newly protected land along the Five Mile River, by Holly Drinkuth, TNC (contributed)

Newly protected land along the Five-Mile River, by Holly Drinkuth, TNC (contributed)

The Five-Mile River provides a significant linking corridor between approximately 8,000 acres of protected forest and freshwater habitat in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and approximately 400 additional acres in Connecticut that have been protected by the state, the Land Trust and the Conservancy.

This forest corridor, part of a priority rural landscape identified by the Northeast State Foresters Association as the “Southern New England Heritage Forest”, creates an important link to the Connecticut-Rhode Island Borderlands Project led by the Rhode Island Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

“An acquisition like this highlights the importance of looking beyond political boundaries to conserve and connect land, water and rare habitat,” said, Holly Drinkuth, director of outreach programs for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “Protecting this land along the Five-Mile River is meaningful in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and we’re very proud to have been able to partner with the Wyndham Land Trust to make this happen.”

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