Trustees and Partners Purchase Conservation Easement on Housatonic Riverfront Property in Litchfield County, Connecticut

Last edited 09/03/2020

Housatonic riverfront property protected by conservation easement
This riverfront property in Litchfield County, Connecticut, along the Housatonic River, is now protected by a conservation easement purchased on February 7 by the natural resource trustees and cooperating partners. The property has 1,480 feet of river frontage and a kettle pond. Photo credit: Andy Danzig, ARCADIS U.S., Inc.

On February 7, 2012, the Sharon Land Trust and the Housatonic Valley Association, using funds from the State and federal natural resource trustees for the Housatonic River Basin Restoration Trustee Council, together with other partner organizations, completed the purchase of a conservation easement to permanently protect 20 acres of farmland along the Housatonic River, near Sharon in Litchfield County, Connecticut.

This restoration project implements part of the publicly-reviewed “Housatonic River Basin Final Natural Resources Restoration Plan.” The Restoration Plan seeks to restore natural resources and natural resource services injured by the release of hazardous substances – in this case, chemical wastes and PCBs – into the Housatonic River system by General Electric Company from its facility in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The natural resource trustees include Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Department of the Interior, represented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Partners in this restoration project include the property owner, Mr. Denny Frost, The Sharon Land Trust, Housatonic Valley Association, Newman’s Own Foundation, Cornwall Conservation Trust and individual donors.

The property has 1,480 feet of riverfront and a unique, ecologically important kettle pond. A kettle pond is formed by a retreating glacier leaving an exposed water table in a geologic depression. The resulting kettle-shaped pond has no surface water inlet or outlet and, consequently, no fish. This absence of fish allows amphibians, like woodland frogs, newts and salamanders, to thrive. The open fields and riparian borders of the property provide habitat for migratory birds.

The Housatonic River Basin Restoration Trustee Council will also fund the construction of a low-impact trail along the riverfront on the property linking other nearby protected riverfront lands. This stretch of the Housatonic River annually attracts thousands of recreational boaters, hikers, fishermen, nature photographers, bird watchers and other visitors.

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