Conservation & Environment Commission



1 - Introduction

2 - Physical Landscape Features

3 - Water Resources

4 - Biological Communities

5 - Land-Use

6 - Recreation & Open Space

7 - Environmental Problems




I: Animal Species List

II: Rare and Endangered Species List

III: Introduced & Invasive Species List

IV: Recreation & Open Space

V: Contact Information

List of Figures

List of Tables

< Back to BLT Main Site


Natural Resources Inventory for the Town of Branford


The Town of Branford encompasses about 28.0 square miles, 22.0 of which is land, and is located in New Haven County. Much of the Town is located in the South Central Eastern Regional Complex of the South Central Connecticut Coastal Basin situated at an elevation between 360 ft and sea level. The landscape has been shaped by a variety of processes, most notably glaciers and tectonic activities of the past and, more recently, anthropogenic modifications.

The Town of Branford was home to Amerinds (native Americans) before being settled by European colonists during the early 1600's. Within the last 350 years the Town has grown to a population of 28,683 (Source: 2000 Census) living in 13,342 housing units. Owner-occupied housing units account for 8,601 units and rentals account for 3,942 units. The remainder of units are split between "other families" (non-traditional families) and unoccupied space. The median household income is over $50,000/year with an average of 2.26 persons/household at an average age of 41.4 years old. There are over 1050 business establishments in Town with combined retail sales of over 620 million dollars. The Town offers a variety of municipal services including libraries, education, recreation, waste removal and recycling, sewerage treatment, and police and fire services among others.
Due to its position on the coast between New York and Boston, a number of major transportation routes service the area including Interstate 95, Route 1 and the Northeast Corridor railroad line (Amtrak) with a Shoreliner station in Branford. Although not as important as in the past, its coastline is well suited for marine transport services (Branford and Stony Creek Harbors).

The climate is typical of this area of Connecticut. The average yearly temperature is 53 oF being slightly moderated from its proximity to the Long Island Sound (NOAA 1981). Snowfall typically occurs between December and March with annual accumulations of about 25 inches, although this has dropped slightly in recent years.

The Town of Branford is somewhat representative of both the region and the State. Table 1 shows some of these comparisons based on the 2000 census. For example, Branford has fewer individuals per household than any other town within the region. Age wise, the Town is slightly older than the average for the region. Median age is 41 and Branford has the 4th highest percentage of people 65 and older (16.9%) while being 2nd lowest in 18 years and younger (20.7%). Within the Town, 94% are Caucasian, 1.3% are African Americans, 2.6% are Hispanic and 2.7% are Asian. Within the region and the State, 77.6% and 81.6% are Caucasian, 12.9% and 9.1% are African Americans, 9.8% and 9.4% are Hispanic and 2.8% and 2.4% are Asian, respectively.

In response to the Town of Branford's need to compile a central database for its natural resources, a Natural Resource Inventory (NRI) was commissioned by the Town's Conservation Commission. Natural resource inventories are important documents that can be utilized in a number of ways, including formulating conservation plans, providing information on open space acquisitions, and identifying problem areas in the environment that may require additional action.

The information in this NRI was obtained from a number of sources including the CTDEP, the Town Planner's Office, the Inland Wetland & Watercourse Agency, the Fire Dept., the East Shore Health District, the Town Engineer's Office and the Parks & Recreation Dept among others. Included in this report are the holdings of the Branford Land Trust, Inc., a private non-profit organization important in maintaining open space in Town. Although the information in this report could never be considered complete (resources are constantly changing), it does provide a snapshot into the Town's resources that should be useful to Town managers for years to come. By providing the information in a single source, it becomes easier to update the inventory every ten years or so and keep the information relevant into the future.

The NRI has been divided into a number of chapters based on the available information. General landscape characteristics and mineral resources are noted in the Physical Features and Water Resources chapters. Plants and animals are listed in the Biologic Communities chapter with some additional information in the Land-Use chapter. A separate Problems chapter has been included and lists both natural (i.e., flooding) and anthropogenic (i.e., landfills) sources. In order to facilitate assessment of the information, much of the data is presented on maps located throughout the report. The narrative does not attempt to repeat the information contained on the maps, but rather is used to single out important concepts and examples for discussion purposes only. The information contained in this report is meant to identify general trends and should not be used for site-specific data (e.g., flood hazard information for home insurance purposes). For detailed information on any one site or problem in Town, it is suggested that the Town offices be contacted directly (e.g.., Town Engineer for flood hazard maps and current regulations).