Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



June 9, 2022

Senator Needleman Excited by State Grant Investment of $562,250 to Preserve 216 Acres of Open Space in East Haddam, East Hampton and Portland

Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) was excited by the news that the Lamont Administration is investing $562,250 in Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program funds to preserve 216.28 acres of open space in the 33rd District. These grants, which will aid the East Haddam Land Trust’s purchase of the 68.88-acre Saunders Property in that town and the Middlesex Land Trust’s acquisition of the 147.4-acre Meshomasic’s Rattlesnake Brook Preserve in East Hampton and Portland, will play a significant role in preserving open space regionally not only for land protection but adding recreational value for local residents and travelers alike.

“I am proud of our state’s reputation for protecting and respecting the natural beauty we enjoy around us every day,” said Sen. Needleman. “I’m grateful to the Governor’s administration and DEEP for recognizing the importance of these local pieces of land and working to ensure their preservation for decades to come. Not only will these properties play important roles in supporting the local community through new trails and recreational opportunities, but they will play an important role in local and state ecosystems; the Saunders Property in East Haddam’s preservation will aid maintenance of the Connecticut River. I’m excited for their preservation.”

Of a larger announcement of $7.5 million in grants to preserve these properties, the state announced local acquisition projects including:

  • A $198,250 grant to the East Haddam Land Trust to aid its purchase of the 68.88-acre Saunders Property, which contains multiple habitats including forest, understory, forested inland wetlands and vernal pools. The property features ponds, brooks and streams, including ones that feed into local watersheds and eventually the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. The property has state and federally listed species and contains a sliver of an Audubon Connecticut Important Bird area. The East Haddam Land trust will add trails to the property for passive recreational use.
  • A $364,000 grant to the Middlesex Land Trust to aid its purchase of the 147.4-acre Meshomasic’s Rattlesnake Brook Preserve in East Hampton and Portland, which will buffer and expand the 15,000+ acre Meshomasic State Forest greenway. This purchase aids area water quality, adds new hiking trails, has potential for bird watching, fishing and hunting opportunities locally and will better protect local habitats as well as threatened and local rare species.