A Press Release from State Sen. Andrea Stillman
On January 7, State Senator Andrea Stillman (D-Waterford) joined Governor Dannel P. Malloy, State Representative Ed Jutila (D-East Lyme, Salem) and State Representative Betsy Ritter (D-Waterford, Montville) to announce a state grant to purchase 41 acres of property for open space preservation as part of the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve in East Lyme. The funding is expected to be approved at Thursday’s meeting of the State Bond Commission.
“There has been an ongoing, collaborative effort between private groups and the Town of East Lyme to preserve the natural beauty of Oswegatchie Hills and the ecosystem of the Niantic River,” said Sen. Stillman. “With the support of my colleagues and the Governor, I’m glad that we can now count the state as a partner in this endeavor.”
“Land conservation is an important investment in our future, and this undeveloped property in East Lyme will add another great segment to Oswegatchie Hills, ensuring that residents have access to this land for generations to come,” Governor Malloy said. “Preservation projects are key to maintaining our high quality of life, protecting the immense natural beauty of our state, and making Connecticut a great place to live, work and raise a family.”
The Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve overlooks the Niantic River and is currently over 400 acres in size. The town is slated to receive $200,000 of which $100,000 will be used to acquire the 41 acre Bayreuther property, which neighbors the east end of the Preserve. The additional $100,000 will be used to negotiate the purchase of other open space land that will bring the total preserved acreage for Oswegatchie Hills close to 500 acres.
“This funding will bring us a major step closer to the goal of preserving all of Oswegatchie Hills and protecting the Niantic River against further damaging runoff,” Rep. Jutila said. “I would like to thank Governor Malloy for supporting this initiative and for recognizing the importance of the River and Hills to our region and state.”
“This funding is a big step toward ensuring the Oswegatchie Hills remain pristine and beautiful forever,” said Rep. Ritter. “I am proud of the support for the Hills from our Governor, our communities and my colleagues. We are closer than ever to realizing the goal of preservation of our shoreline.”
The preserve was created through a public/private partnership between the Town of East Lyme, Friends of Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve, East Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, various federal agencies, and others. The preserve is open to the public and offers numerous hiking trails over a large, undeveloped coastal waterfront forest—one of the few remaining in Connecticut.