Acquisition of the Merritt Family Forest

Basic Project Information
Site Name
Merritt Family Forest
Habitat Types
Habitat Acres Miles Feet
Acquisitions/Easements 75.90 0.00 0.00
TOTAL 75.90 0.00 0.00
Funding Sources
Funding Organization Funding Program NFWF-LISFF Funded Amount Amount Awarded Amount Spent
Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection - Open Space & Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program
Groton Open Space Association
Project Partners
Partners Organization
Groton Open Space Association
Partners Organization
Private Landowners
Partners Organization
Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection
Cause of Degradation
Development Risk
Invasive Species - vegetation
Removal of Vegetation
Degradation Description
Known as the Fort Hill Farm in the 1800s, this site was used primarily for grazing by young cattle. Today, the mostly wooded Merritt Property has concentrations of non-native invasive plants in its forested and meadow areas. Species include Russian olive (Elaeagnus umbellata), bittersweet vines (Celastrus orbiculatus), and multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora). The nearly 80-acre Merritt Property had also been under very strong development pressure by a private developer for more than 5 years prior to the purchase by GOSA.
Project Description
The Merritt Family negotiated a sale agreement with the Groton Open Space Association (GOSA) for $1,000,000 after winning its 5-year legal battle with Ravenswood Construction LLC. GOSA has begun working on the invasive species problem, and has since given a conservation easement to the State of Connecticut. The easement states that the land shall be kept in its natural, scenic and open condition in perpetuity. Public access is granted for hiking, jogging and for other non-motorized passive recreational uses that will be listed in GOSA’s management plan for this property.
Restoration Technique
Invasive Species Control - Vegetation
Land Acquisition
Eccleston Brook