Approximately 4,200 feet of riverfront and about 45.5 acres of adjoining land along the Moodus River in the Moodus section of East Haddam, CT is now protected in its natural state due to efforts of the East Haddam Land Trust and local residents Gary and Donna Bogan.
East Haddam Land Trust recently purchased from the Bogans a 1.3-acre parcel bordering Grist Mill Road, as well as a conservation easement to five separate parcels totaling 44.23 acres between Grist Mill and Clark Gates Roads.
On this acreage, East Haddam Land Trust will create hiking trails with a loop along the Moodus River.
Though it once ran with human effluent and other pollutants, modern septic systems and better land use practices have helped Moodus River waters run clear.
The river now hosts native brook trout as it flows by the remnants of the historic gristmill and East Mill dams and through meadows, wetlands and woodlands alive with song birds and other wildlife.
The trail will meander along these sites and provide river access for fishing.
“One of the earliest East Haddam Land Trust goals was to protect the Moodus River and create a linear trail along the river from Falls Bashan Road to the Moodus green,” said Land Trust President Robert Smith.
“Because Gary and Donna Bogan have a similar goal of protecting the Moodus River and were willing to work with us,” Smith added, “the Land Trust has been able to make major headway toward preserving the history and natural beauty of the Moodus River environment.”
East Haddam Land Trust pooled funding from multiple sources to reach the $410,000 purchase and easement price agreed upon with the Bogans.
In March 2011, the voters of East Haddam approved a $200,000 grant to the Land Trust which gives the Town of East Haddam a protective easement on the acreage.
An open space grant of $151,200 from the State of Connecticut, a $25,000 grant from the Baflin Foundation, and Land Trust fundraising efforts netting about $15,000 also helped defray costs.
The remaining easement and outright land purchase cost, plus survey, closing and attorney fees have come from East Haddam Land Trust coffers.
To cover the financial obligations of the remaining costs until it receives the actual grant money from the State, East Haddam Land Trust obtained a one-year $140,000 loan from The Conservation Fund, a Virginia-based bridge financing source that has helped local groups protect more than 95,000 acres of parks, forests, historic sites, farmland, wildlife management areas, national trails and other open space areas in 30 states.
“The Conservation Fund loan allows East Haddam Land Trust to bridge the gap between outgoing land easement and purchase dollars, and incoming grant dollars,” Smith said.
However, none of these funding sources provide for the care and maintenance of the Land Trust’s current preserves or future land and waterway preservation, so donations to the Land Trust (www.ehlt.org) are always welcome, Smith said.
“East Haddam Land Trust,” he said, “will continue to use donations as effectively and efficiently as possible to preserve the natural beauty of the Town of East Haddam for current and future generations.”
Posted October 12, 2013
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