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Conservationists to speak at session on Oswegatchie Hills

East Lyme — Save the River, Save the Hills, a Waterford-based environmental group formed to further the efforts to preserve the Oswegatchie Hills and the Niantic River, will host an open space workshop 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday at the high school's Distance Learning Center.

Margaret Miner, the executive director of the River Alliance of Connecticut, and John Blake of the Sierra Club will be the featured speakers.

Fred Grimsey of Waterford, president of Save the River, will talk about the urgency of protecting Oswegatchie Hills and the river.

“It's important that we protect the Oswegatchie Hills for their aesthetic and open-space value,” Grimsey said. “But it is just as important to preserve them for the protection they provide to the health of the river.”

Grimsey said the meeting would be broadcast on East Lyme's cable access Channel 19.

Save the River, along with a sister organization based in East Lyme, the Friends of the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve, are working to help the state Department of Environmental Protection and the town secure ownership of the 780-acre hills. The prospect of development has loomed there for years, and remains today, despite zoning changes that would limit extensive development.

Most recently, a Middletown company, Landmark Development Group, proposed building nearly 900 condominiums under state statutes related to affordable housing.

Grimsey said Saturday's workshop would not be a lecture, but rather a chance for concerned citizens from throughout the region to talk with experts about open space and estuary protection.
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