Madison Conservation Opportunity Gets Funding Boost

State funding was approved today for the conservation of a 77-acre property at the juncture of Summer Hill Road and Route 80 in Madison, Conn., The Trust for Public Land and partners announced today.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), in partnership with the Madison Land Conservation Trust (MLCT), has reached agreement with the landowner to purchase and permanently protect the forested property in the Hammonasset River Watershed. This land connects with Regional Water Authority land and is located within an impressive belt of protected land that extends across north Madison and into Killingworth and Haddam.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced its Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program recipients for 2010 and this project was selected to receive $500,000 toward the purchase.

“The Summer Hill project represents a rare opportunity to add a significant parcel to an extensive greenway in north Madison and to help retain the New England charm that makes this area special,” said Lisa Bassani, Project Manager with The Trust for Public Land. “The state open space funding secured today jumpstarts the conservation of this north Madison jewel.”

“The Madison Land Conservation Trust is grateful to the State of Connecticut and the Department of Environmental Protection for this generous grant, helping us in our effort to protect 77 acres of land that is an integral part of north Madison’s rural beauty,” said Diana Insolio, President of the Madison Land Conservation Trust.

The partnership has also been successful in raising a lead private pledge of $600,000. To complete the project, TPL and MLCT have launched a $1,600,000 campaign to cover acquisition and program costs by March 15, 2011. If full funding cannot be raised by the deadline, the land will likely be developed. The state funding is a critical step in moving the project forward.

Summer Hill is nearby other lands protected by MLCT and has been identified as a priority for conservation due to its strategic location and ecological significance. This property also serves as a potential southern anchor for thousands of acres of nearby conserved natural lands that also support water quality and wildlife and are available for public recreational access.

The Griswold airport conservation project in Madison was also awarded $500,000 from the DEP open space funding program.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit organization which works with partners and communities to conserve land for people to enjoy as working landscapes, parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. TPL has protected over 7,000 acres of open space, watershed land, working farms and forestland, and historic resources in 32 communities across the state.