Ledyard and Griswold properties among open space preserved by new state grants

Ledyard — Nearly $5 million in state grants have been awarded to purchase more than 1,000 acres of land to be preserved as open space, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Monday.

The grants, awarded through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition program, cover 15 projects in 14 towns, including a 230-acre parcel in Ledyard and two parcels in Griswold. 

In Ledyard, the new Athinson/Dirlam Preserve, sponsored by Avalonia Land Conservancy, will be purchased using a $697,775 state grant. It abuts open space properties owned by Groton Utilities and the Town of Ledyard as well as other Avalonia properties and will add to the network of trails in the Great Oak Greenway.

The land also protects Thompson Brook and Great Brook, serving as a filtration buffer for Groton Utilities' Morgan Pond Reservoir.

In Griswold, a $58,435 grant will be used to help the Avalonia Land Conservancy purchase the 54-acre Boyd Rixtown property. The forested parcel will be an addition to the recently approved 409-acre Tri-Town Ridgeline Forest which is part of a larger greenway comprised of more than 1,400 acres. It is comprised of rough terrain with rocky ledge, upland forest, ponds and vernal pools and is part of two watershed basins.

A $30,649 grant will be used by the Avalonia Land Conservancy to purchase the 62.6-acre Dutka Property located along the southern portion of Pachaug Pond in Griswold. In combination with other land owned by Avalonia and the state in Pachaug State Forest it will create more than 120 acres of unfragmented, mature forest.

The property is expected to enhance public access to Pachaug Pond, through its water frontage and the use of seasonal dock and will also be used to provide access to Barton Island.

"Since the program began in 1998, more than $125 million in state funding has been awarded to municipalities, nonprofit land conservation organizations, and water companies to assist in the purchase of more than 36,400 acres of land, including farmlands, in 139 cities and towns," DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said in a release. "These important open space properties protect natural resources and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike."

The state currently has more than 500,000 acres of land designated as state or local open space. Currently, its goal is to preserve 631,210 acres, or 21 percent of the state's land area.

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