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Conservation Commission
Open Space Preservation and Management

Conservation Commission

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Natural Resources Protection


ATVs and other Motorized “off road” Vehicles Threaten Function and Value of Open Space and Wetlands. Click on:

pdf Motorized Trespassers Threaten and Destroy Open Space Value and Function. By Tom ODell, Chairman Westbrook Conservation Commission
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) has compiled a comprehensive list of information related to federal, state and municipal ATV regulations.


Preserving Open Space Through Conservation Easements.
Addresses some of the basic elements of conservation easements as well as their use by municipalities as methods of preserving open space. Click Here

Regulating Tree Cutting

Tree cutting on wetlands and other preserved land is illegal and easy to document but there is a lack of legal recourse available to defend against them. Click Here for articles on recent State Supreme Court decision on regulating and enforcement of tree-cutting in wetlands, and for a 2005 Special Report by Connecticut’s Council of Environmental Quality on encroachment on public and private lands. CACIWC expects legislation to be introduced in 2006 to increase protection against encroachment. Stay Tuned!

Vernal Pool Management Plan for the Chapman Mill Open Space Property

Click here to view the Vernal Pool Management Plan for the Chapman Mill Open Space Property in Westbrook, CT. Prepared for the Town of Westbrook Conservation Commission by the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, December 2004


Invasive plants can be found in forests, fields, wetlands, and home landscapes.

Because they are so prolific and hardy they are a significant threat to biodiversity, passive recreation and other open space management objectives. The control of invasive plants in any open space management program must include plans for town wide participation.

CACIWC asked Sigrun Gadwa, MS, Consulting Ecologist, to write a series of articles directed at control of invasive plants from the perspective of reducing and controlling their potential impact on land being managed for community open space. In Sigrun’s third installment to Open Space Management of Invasive Plants, Protecting Home Landscapes: What You Can Do to Control and Prevent Establishment of Invasive Plants, the home/land owner is highlighted. Click for full text.

Sigrun’s other articles, “On-Site Open Space Management”, The Habitat, Winter 2003 issue, and “Protecting Open Space and Inland Wetlands: Tools for Land-Use Boards and Town Staff”, The Habitat, Spring 2003 issue, can be down loaded by clicking on CACIWC Publications, then on The Habitat. The Connecticut legislature is playing a significant role in supporting management of invasive plants. Below is a review of invasive legislation in 2003 and 2004.

Invasive Plant Legislation ’03 and ’04: Help for Towns and Homeowners

Two Public Acts regarding invasive plants have been created by the Connecticut State Legislature. In 2003, An Act Concerning Invasive Plants (PA 03-136) was passed and signed into law. In 2004, An Act Concerning Fines for Banned Invasive Plants (PA 04-203) was passed by the Legislature. The 2003 legislation, PA 03-136, called for the establishment of an Invasive Plants Council of nine people, with representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection, and seven other entities, including two from the nursery industry. That Act established the council’s responsibilities and other mechanisms to prevent establishment of invasive plants. PA 03-136 also includes a mechanism for banning invasive species. After establishing a list of invasive and potentially invasive species using criteria developed by the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG), the Invasive Plants Council must review a plant’s characteristics, history, and economic benefits. Then, six of the nine council members must vote for a ban before a recommendation is brought to the General Assembly. There is an implicit opportunity for members of the public to provide information to the Council in support of (or opposition to) additional bans. To date the Council has recommended the banning of 60 invasive plants, effective October 1, 2004, and another 20 species to be banned by October 1, 2005. A ban includes the importation, movement, selling, purchasing, transplanting, cultivating, and distribution of those invasive plants. A list of all of the 80 “to be banned” invasive plants can be found in the language of PA 04-203. Go to the legislature’s web site,, at the top enter bill # 547, click GO, then click on PA 04-203 for the .pdf file. PA 03-136, and PA 04-203 also include the following: A mandate that all plant material be removed from boats and trailers transported between waterbodies, and that instruction in proper removal techniques be incorporated into all safe boating courses. From June 26, 2003 until October 1, 2005, no municipality shall adopt any ordinance regarding the retail sale or purchase of any invasive plant. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars per plant.


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