FRWA received a major gift from the Estate of Lily Frey of beautiful riverside land in New Hartford and a $150,000 endowment to help fund its conservation.
The Frey Property was gifted to the FRWA to steward and to use for educational purposes. The property contains meadow habitat, a stream, and a stormwater retention pond. Meadows have become increasingly rare in Connecticut and so we are excited to be able to provide an important habitat for diverse wildlife—birds, bears, deer, foxes, otters, pollinators, and more have been observed on this property. The FRWA board of directors has established a Land Steward Committee to address the conservation goals of this property.
As a watershed association, FRWA strives to be a good steward of the watershed and this project. This location will allow us to educate by example to the local residents and broader Farmington River Watershed groups and communities. We hope to use our Frey Property as an incubator of educational methods related to reforestation, native meadow restoration, wetland restoration, stormwater retrofits and invasive species management. Since 2019, when FRWA received the property, FRWA has been planning and working with partners to follow best management practices and develop a conservation plan.
Previous property owners grazed livestock near the stream leaving a streambank devoid of vegetation. This has caused the stream to have warmer water temperatures and increased stormwater runoff. Increased temperatures from the lack of vegetation along the stream and from road runoff have been observed by FRWA’s continuous temperature logger placed at the confluence of this stream- a direct discharge into the Farmington River. The retention pond was established to collect stormwater runoff from the housing development and roads upstream in the1970’s. This retention pond is located adjacent to the river and directly discharges to the Farmington River adding polluted stormwater runoff, including excess nutrients of nitrogen and phosphorous, chloride, oils, contaminants, and trash. We hope to retrofit this pond and come up with a plan that will drastically improve the water quality and quantity at this location.
FRWA has deployed 6 wildlife cameras on the property ands we have seen foxes, bobcats, great blue herons, deer, turkey, and mallards use the property.