The final step in the Middletown Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC) wetlands compensation mitigation process took place December 16, 2010 when the Middlesex Land Trust (MLT) purchased 53.8 acres on Boardman Lane through the Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program.

This property was set aside as an off-site compensatory mitigation requirement under the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Permit No. NAE-2008-2372. The mitigation at Boardman Lane compensates for the direct loss of about 1.5 acres of jurisdictional wetlands associated with the construction and operation of the Middletown AFRC. As the Armyís ACUB partner for the Middletown mitigation, the Middlesex Land Trust received the deeded interest to the mitigation site on Boardman Lane directly from the landowner and will manage the land in perpetuity for conservation purposes that meet the missions of MLT and the Army. This includes providing long-term habitat management of the Boardman Lane property and providing for the terms of the permit to be met.

ìAfter an extensive search, we found a mitigation site on Boardman Lane. Ecologically, itís connected to Sawmill Brook, the tributary that also feeds the Middletown AFRC site,î said Diane McCartin, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager. ìThere are wetlands on the site that have been degraded by animals grazing on them, and there are plenty of opportunities for controlling invasive species, planting native species to enhance the water quality, and preserving and protecting it as open space in perpetuity.î

The ACUB program allows the Army to reach out to partners to identify mutual objectives of conserving land, protecting habitat, and preventing development of critical open areas without acquiring new land for Army ownership. The program also allowed the Army to contribute funds toward the purchase of the property.

ìWe are extremely pleased to be able to partner with the community and the Middlesex Land Trust in particular to accomplish the purchase and management of this parcel that benefits regional conservation and serves the mission needs of the Armed Forces Reserves Center,î said Dr. Virginia Busby of the ACUB Program at the Army Environmental Command whose team coordinated the ACUB effort.

“The Middlesex Land Trust was pleased to have partnered with the Army to purchase, preserve and enhance the Boardman Lane property. This joint project will provide for the permanent protection of sensitive upland and wetland habitats in the Sawmill Brook watershed, as well as provide public access to a beautiful open landscape.

“It’s a great result for the community of Middletown, the watershed, the Land Trust and the Army,” said Land Trust managing director David Brown. “We are dedicated to the preservation of land for all to enjoy. Working in northern Middlesex County, we currently own and manage more than 800 acres.”

“This is a win-win for the residents of Middletown, the MLT, the landowner and the Army,” said Col. Keith Landry, USACE Louisville District commander. “This land will be preserved as open space in perpertuity and the quality of the wetlands will be enhanced through the Army’s mitigation activities.”