First Phase of Quillinan Reservoir (CT) Project Completed

October 10, 2000
Connecticut

Ansonia, Connecticut--Today, the City of Ansonia announced the purchase of 43 acres from the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit organization, as an addition to the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center. The city acquired the property for $200,000, more than half of which will be reimbursed from grant funds awarded by the state's Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program last year. This purchase completes the first phase of a larger effort to protect 613 acres surrounding the Quillinan Reservoir.

"This acquisition is the only opportunity the city will ever have to expand the Nature Center, which is surrounded on three sides by dense residential development," said Elisabeth Moore, project manager with the Trust for Public Land. "We applaud Mayor Della Volpe and the Board of Aldermen for making this investment in the future of Ansonia."

Mayor Jim Della Volpe commented, "We are extremely excited and happy to have added 43 acres to the Nature Center as permanently protected conservation land. We are looking forward to working with TPL and the Department of Environmental Protection on completing the next, larger phase of this open space project-the protection of the adjoining 570 acres."

"I am thrilled that the first phase of the Quillinan Reservoir Project has been completed," said Alderman Joseph Cassetti (D), Chairman of the Committee for Land Trust. "With this initial success, we are truly beginning something great, which will leave a legacy for future generations of Ansonia residents."

TPL reached an agreement to purchase the 613-acre Quillinan Reservoir property from Birmingham Utilities for $6.25 million last year. With the addition of 43 acres to the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, TPL is now working with residents, local officials, and the Department of Environmental Protection to conserve the remaining 570 acres. The bulk of the property, or roughly 472 acres, is in Ansonia, while the remaining 98 acres are in Seymour.

The land lies adjacent to 1,000 acres of Class I and II watershed land owned by Birmingham Utilities around Beaver Lake. Because of its size and connection to other open space, it is especially valuable for wildlife and recreation, providing an oasis of green in an urban and developed area. In addition, the property includes a reservoir that supplied drinking water for Ansonia and Derby until 1976. The land has been formally reviewed by the Department of Environmental Protection, which has identified it as a high priority for acquisition.

The city's purchase today expanded the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center from approximately 104 to 147 acres and significantly enlarged the Center's "outdoor classroom", which already included open fields, woodlands, a pond, and community gardens. The acquisition will enable the Center to improve and formalize its growing network of trails, which are popular with visitors and area residents for environmental education and non-motorized recreation.

In addition, a one-hectare Biodiversity Plot has been established on the property, and data collected from this study plot is collected and analyzed by the Smithsonian Institution as part of a larger international study. The research project is currently being conducted in collaboration with public schools in Ansonia, Derby, and Stratford. As part of their science curriculum, middle and high school students are responsible for conducting biological mapping of the site and collecting data.

"I am delighted, both as an educator and a naturalist, to see this beautiful property protected as an educational resource for our children," said Donna Lindgren, executive director of the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center. "We plan to utilize the land for the first time at the end of this month for our Fall Foliage/Halloween hike. In addition, students have been using the land on a weekly basis, with permission from Birmingham Utilities, for a biodiversity project since early 1999, and I am very pleased that the project will be able to continue."

The Trust for Public Land is a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, the Trust has protected more than 1.2 million acres nationwide, including nearly 60,000 acres in New England. For more information, contact our New Haven office at (203) 777-7367 or visit us on the Web at www.tpl.org.