Due to damage from Hurricane Sandy last fall, work will begin next week to remove trees blown over, damaged, or at risk of falling in the future in the Booth Hill Road area in Shelton.
The trees are in the Centennial Watershed State Forest, close to the Monroe and Trumbull borders. The work will be conducted with the approval of the Aquarion Water Co., state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and The Nature Conservancy. All three entities own some of the land.
Damaged trees on the approximately 20 acres of affected property in Shelton will be salvaged for timber use, starting the week of April 29.
Most damage was to white pines
“The hurricane caused substantial damage to trees on the land, mainly white pine,” according to an Aquarion press release.
Similar work is being done on forested tracts in Easton and Fairfield. Some Easton residents have raised objections, questioning the number of trees being taken down and how tree parts are being left in the woods.
Work locations and hours
The largest work site in Shelton begins about 350 feet south of Mohegan Road and extends south along Booth Hill Road to Woods Grove Road. A second smaller site on Booth Hill Road is about 1,250 feet south of Woods Grove Road. Landings and access ways will be utilized at the sites.
Police will provide traffic control where needed. Work is scheduled to take place from 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and may also include weekends. The project is expected to conclude by the end of May.
Speeding the forest’s recovery
“Targeted logging of the trees will help speed the forest’s recovery,” said Gary Haines, Aquarion’s chief forester. “It will allow more sunlight to reach the forest floor and help seedlings to sprout. Also, leaving larger pieces of coarse woody debris on the ground will protect against deer browsing and erosion, and will decompose to help replenish forest soils.”
Aquarion is leaving some dead or dying trees uncut due to the fact that many birds and other forms of wildlife rely on dead or dying trees for refuge, nesting sites and perching areas. The company has instructed the loggers working on the property to leave at least six dead or dying trees standing per acre.
Wider variety of trees in future
“Black birch, sugar maple, ash, beech, yellow poplar, red maple and oak will be flourishing where white pine were previously predominant,” Haines said. “The greater variety of trees and other plants will provide wildlife with a richer source of food and shelter, while also providing a healthier and more stable ecosystem.
“The new hardwood stands,” he said, “will also be less susceptible to storm damage, and insects and diseases that attack single species.”
For more information, and about Aquarion
A list of Frequently Asked Questions about this forest regeneration project can be found at www.aquarionwater.com, as well as information about recreational opportunities within Centennial Watershed State Forest.
Aquarion Water Co. is the public water supply company for more than 625,000 people in 47 municipalities throughout Connecticut, and also serves customers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Based in Bridgeport, the company has been in the public water supply business since 1857 when it was known as Bridgeport Hydraulic.