Friday, December 4, 2009

Land trust purchases more riverside land

The Dudley Conservation Land Trust has entered into an agreement which will extend the Leovich Landing holdings to Charlton Street in Oxford. The trust will now own all the land between the railroad right-of-way owned by National Grid and the French River, between Dudley Road and Charlton Street, a distance of approximately 3000 feet on 10 acres. The new land offers beautiful views up the Little River as well as access to some wonderful open woodland along the French.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Water Quality Monitoring Season in the Books

Another successful year of water quality monitoring , our fifth, concluded on November 15. The day was spiced up a little by finding a recently stolen vehicle on the way to the Little River. Our findings are consistent with what we have been seeing: A dip in dissolved oxygen at Dudley Road and Harwood Street during the warmest weather, low pH at Mill Brook Bigelow Road, and consistently low dissolved oxygen and high conductivity at Nancy Drive. In general, conductivity was lower this year (that's good) due to high water levels during mid-summer.

The state has just released its five year assessment of water quality in the French and Quinebaug watersheds. Significant findings from our program, and associated recommendations are included. To all who have volunteered for our program, (I count 35) thank you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Leovich Landing Dedicated

On October 24, members of the Dudley Conservation Land Trust, the French River Connection, donors and friends met to dedicate Leovich Landing for public use. The event was attended by Senator Richard T Moore and three members of the Oxford Board of Selectmen. DCLT and FRC officers thanked donors who contributed to the purchase of the land, and the many people who have worked to clear it of junk and invasives.

Monday, October 19, 2009

French River Park Funding Received

The French River Connection has received $30,000 from the Webster Redevelopment Authority to begin work on French River Park. Added to a previous donation, we now have $39,000 for the project. Over the last year, we have pretty much killed off the invasive knotweed on the property, and have been fortunate to receive consulting services from Bacon Engineering and the Green Valley Institute to do some conceptual planning. And, of course, we are very grateful to the owner for agreeing to a 15 year lease on the property.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Leovich Landing Dedication Scheduled

Leovich Landing will be dedicated at 3pm October 24 at the site, 52 Dudley Road in Oxford. This is an occasion to once again thank our many generous donors, bringing the acquisition phase of the project to a close. In addition, we will review work already completed on the site and plans for the future.

French River Park Lease Signed

On October 8, The French River Connection and the town of Webster signed an agreement to lease 1.66 acres of riverfront property in downtown Webster for at least 15 years from Holden Block LLC for $1.00. This will become French River Park, the anchor to the Webster Riverwalk which is an urban section of the French River Greenway. Execution of the lease opens the door to a grant from the Webster Redevelopment Authority to begin engineering, permitting, and construction.

Monday, August 10, 2009

French River Day is coming up

Our annual French River Day picnic event is scheduled for Saturday September 12 3-6pm at Hodges Village, below the dam at Aggutebak Pond. We will furnish hamburgers, hot dogs, condiments, etc, and attendees are asked to bring a dish to share. Bring chairs. Enjoy an afternoon of fellowship, paddle on the pond, kick back.

To sign up, please contact Elaine

Dam Trail Race a Great Success

The Dam Trail Race held Saturday August 8 at Hodges Village in Oxford was a great success. 117 runners finished the race, up from 104 last year. The weather was perfect and the runners were very pleased with the course laid out by race director John Grenier. Thanks to John and to the many volunteers, and to donations from local businesses of food and prizes, we were able to net $1500 for the French River Connection.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Leovich Landing Sale Closes

The sale of the 4 acre parcel in Oxford to be known as Leovich Landing closed June 10, with the Dudley Conservation Land Trust now owning the property. Thanks to many generous contributions, over $5000 will be available for cleaning up the property and installing a parking lot and cartop paddling access point. There is still some administrative work to do to file the conservation restriction and get reimbursed by the state through the Conservation Partnership Grant.

Fundraising for purchase of the property was accomplished by a partnership consisting of the Dudley Conservation Land Trust, the French River Connection, and an Oxford Citizens' Committee. In addition to many individual, business, and organizational donations and the state grant, funds were received from the Fields Pond Foundation, the Bafflin Foundation, and the town of Oxford.

Purchase of this property completes a long-standing French River Connection goal.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Leovich Landing Fundraising Goes Over the Top

On May 22, The Bafflin Foundation awarded the partnership consisting of the Dudley Conservation Land Trust and the French River Connection a grant for $7500 which pushes us over our fundraising goal for the project. We will now be able to close on the property and plan stewardship tasks. Many thanks to all who supported us.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oxford Contributes to Leovich Landing

On May 6, the Oxford town meeting voted $5000 to purchase the Conservation Restriction for Leovich Landing. This brings total contributions and pledges to over $63,000, enough to purchase the property. We are still in need of contributions to pay closing costs and to support initial stewardship of the land.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Greenbrier Water Trail Dedicated

On April 18, paddlers inaugurated the Greenbrier Water Trail in Oxford. A new launch site, constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers and French River Connection volunteers, was dedicated in a ceremony as part of the Last Green Valley's Source to Sea program. Naturalist Jean Hixson led approximately twenty boats on the three mile paddle. Here is a slideshow of the event

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Parnership Receives Fields Pond Grant

On April 9, we learned that the partnership made up of the Dudley Conservation Land Trust, the French River Connection, and an Oxford Citizens' Committee has received a $10,000 grant toward the purchase of Leovich Landing. This brings the total, in hand or pledged, to $53,000 of the $70,000 needed. If you're reading this article and have yet to donate, please consider doing so by sending your tax-deductible contribution payable to the Dudley Conservation Land Trust to 169 Old Webster Road, Oxford MA 01540. Follow our progress on the scale at left.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Troop 66 Takes On the Beavers

On Saturday April 4, Boy Scouts from Troop 66 in Thompson took part in a program organized by the French River Connection to protect riverside trees from an expanding beaver population along the French River. Using welded wire fencing donated by Home depot in Oxford, the scouts built cages around 41 trees in Connecticut south of Perryville Road. The cages prevent beavers from "ringing" large trees which inevitably kills them, reducing shade along the river and degrading the habitat for fish and other aquatic life. The task was the life project of scout Corey LaChance, center, in dark glasses.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Partnership Receives State Grant

On March 27 we learned that the partnership made up of the Dudley Conservation Land Trust, the French River Connection, and an Oxford Citizens' Committee will receive a grant from the state of Massachusetts for half the purchase cost of Leovich Landing. We are now over halfway to our goal, with more fundraising to do and two grant requests still outstanding. If you can help us acquire this wonderful piece of property for public use, your contibutions will be much appreciated. Please send your fully deductible check, made out to the Dudley Conservation Land Trust, to 169 Old Webster Road, Oxford, MA 01540.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bird Walk Scheduled

Paul Meleski of the Forbush Bird Club in Worcester has volunteered to lead a bird walk for us May 16. We will gather at the Lodge Restaurant on Route 16 in Webster at 7am. To see the early bird, you have to be one. Bring binoculars if you have them, water, and a snack, as we will not be back until around 11.
For those who enjoy the many bird species in our area, this should be a lot of fun, and a good way to get introduced to bird watching activities.
Just so I can get an idea, please email me back if you plan to participate.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Annual Meeting Scheduled April 8

The Annual Meeting of the French River Connection is scheduled for 7pm April 8 at the Black Tavern on the corner of Center and Tanyard Roads on Dudley Hill.
If you haven't visited the Black Tavern this is a chance to see the only building in Dudley on the National Register of Historic Places.
We are fortunate to have as our speaker Colleen Abrams, President of Wachusett Greenways. Colleen is an inspiring leader, as the success of her organization attests.
At this meeting we will elect three directors to three-year terms. The terms of Sheila Veideman, Tom Ryzewski, and Elaine Parker are expiring. All have agreed to serve again. Nominations may be made from the floor, and if the nominee agrees to serve if elected, their name be added to the ballot.
Bring a guest! If they are not on our mailing list and join during the evening, it will be at half price, and they will receive our screen saver.
Refreshments will be served!!

Here's the agenda:


Wednesday April 8 at 7:00pm

Black Tavern, Dudley

7:00 Call to Order

7:05 Introduction to the Black Tavern: Ed Bazinet

7:10 Minutes of January meeting: Elaine Parker

7:15 2009 YTD Treasurers report: Sheila Veideman

7:20 2008 in review: Ken Parker

7:40 2009 activities: Ken Parker

7:55 Election of Directors

8:05 Guest Address: Colleen Abrams, President, Wachusett Greenways

8:30 Adjourn for refreshments and fellowship

The Board will meet for a few minutes after adjournment

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Beavers: They're baaaaaack!

In 2008, using mostly wire fence donated by Home Depot, The French River Connection was able to place wire around more than 100 large trees that were targets for beavers. This spring there has been scant beaver activity on the Perryville Trace, but just downstream near and over the Connecticut border they are having quite a picnic. There are many very fine trees in this area, and it is a good place to paddle. Three rolls of wire have been put in place there, and much more is needed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Welcome to the French River Connection Blog

In order to stay current with all the ways people now communicate on the web, we've added this blog. The blog is not intended to replace our website. It may prove useful for quick announcements of newsworthy events or as a place for comments and discussion. It will never replace emails or the newsletter. Let's see how it goes.

The last seven posts will be shown. Others can be accessed from the archive on the right.

Anyone can comment on a post.

Note the Google Calendar on the bottom. If you click on an event you will usually see a little more information and a map.