Monday, January 16, 2012

Sandy Brook Conservation Corridor Project launched by AF and partners

Aton Forest, in partnership with other local land protection organizations, is launching an ambitious and exciting plan to protect land within the Sandy Brook watershed in the towns of Colebrook, Sandisfield, Norfolk, New Marlborough, Barkhamsted, Winchester, and Hartland.  The Sandy Brook Conservation Corridor (SBCC) project is a plan to preserve both small and large parcels of land, which would otherwise be at risk of development or degradation. Stream water quality is protected not only by eliminating pollution and limiting development along the main stream, but by protecting the headwaters and wetlands that feed Sandy Brook. Over time, this will preserve significant amounts of undeveloped land and create large swaths of connected open space, in a corridor-like fashion, which specially benefit wildlife and plant populations. We now know that putting fragmented blocks of land surrounded by developement under conservation protection does little to preserve the ecological integrity and biological diversity of the land. In order to provide healthy wildlife or rare plant habitat, it is necessary to have large blocks of open space connected to each other with smaller blocks of undeveloped areas. These lands must be primarily forests in our region, but include open farmland and wetlands, which can provide large areas for sustainable forestry and recreation. All around us is privately owned land, which eventually will be at risk of development. For private landowners who are concerned about the future of the environment and our local ecosystems and wish to see their land protected in perpetuity, now is the time to act! SBCC partners are willing to protect land, through donation or purchase, and can work with landowners to enact their desired preservation plan. For our part, Aton Forest protects over 1100 acres of forest, field and wetlands and granted a conservation easement on most of these lands to further ensure its preservation for the future. We anticipate the acquisition of our first SBCC Project parcel this spring and hope to be able to announce the protection of other parcels by our partners. Together we can reach our goals, maintain our natural world and make our towns a better place for all. Contact Aton Forest if you would like to contribute your time or resources, or would like to make a special donation to this project, including land or grant of a conservation easement.