Preserved as open space, the High Meadow in Fairfield Hills will also be protected by a management plan, which the Conservation Commission members are finalizing, according to commission Chairman Mary Gaudet-Wilson.
“Meadows habitat is what we have the least of in Connecticut and it’s valuable for certain species and biodiversity,” she said. The plan being drafted, which must then be approved by other town officials, will be based on a habitat management plan already written for both the High and West Meadows at Fairfield Hills.
In that plan, the summary states: “Meadows represent a vanishing natural resource,” both in town and in the state. “They have been deemed worthy of protection by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection…” and by the Conservation Commission.
The summary explains that the High Meadow “is composed of upland meadow habitats with scenic views of North Newtown and beyond.” It is located on an Aquifer Protection District, and is currently used for haying. The commission recommends that the soils be “delineated” by scientists.
The management plan also states that along with establishing the area as open space, members would like safe perimeter trails and posted educational signage for residents and students.
Information included about the High Meadow states that is it roughly 45 acres at the intersection of Nunnawauk Road and Mile Hill/Wasserman Way, across from the Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard property. The property is bordered by conifers and a stream runs through one forested area.
The plan lists environmental and cultural features, including natural grasses and sedge species, a large variety of wildflowers, plant life, and ferns, bees, insects, butterflies, and moths. Birds and mammals live in the meadow.
The plan states of the High Meadow, “The presence of such a large meadow in Newtown is significant.” Studies show that large meadows foster many of the state’s at-risk species.
It also provides hunting areas for creatures such as hawks, snakes, and owls.
The Conservation Commission’s goal is to “maintain the meadows in their natural state for the benefit of the flora and faun found there; as valuable nature preserves; to maintain the quiet and peaceful character of the meadows,” and more.
Earlier this month the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted to protect the High Meadow. P&Z made the unanimous decision to designate the meadow as permanent open space.
The Board of Selectman had already endorsed the action.
P&Z members felt the designation is consistent with the 2014 Town Plan of Conservation and Development and also with the recently updated Fairfield Hills Master Plan.
Also stated in the article: Before approving the High/East Meadow open space plan, P&Z members reviewed the plan on meadow habitat protection prepared by the Conservation Commission.