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 Natural Resource Inventory (NRI) for the Town of Branford is a compilation of existing information and databases of resources for the Town. Due to budget constraints, additional surveys and data compilations were not possible. The author recognizes that the inventory cannot be all-inclusive and that some information may be have been omitted for various reasons. However, the document does serve as a starting point and can be updated as additional information becomes available. The databases used in this NRI include those presently listed on the State and Town's GIS system as well as compilations from various agencies both public and private. The NRI is computer compatible with the Town's information system and new information can be readily added. In order to keep the information current, it is suggested that an update is performed every ten years.

The information presented in this NRI is a general overview of the resources in Town. Due to scale considerations for this report the maps presented here are meant for general informational purposes only and cannot be used to judge site conditions at any one locale. For example, any individual considering building or purchasing a parcel of land should consult the flood maps on file in Town Hall before any decision is made.

A general assessment of the information contained in this NRI suggests that Branford still enjoys a relatively high level of quality of its natural resources. For example, water quality (both surface and ground) in the Town is still quite high despite the fact that the Town's population has grown significantly over the last half century. However, there are indications that these resources may be reaching the limit of their resilience (e.g., interrupted wildlife corridors, more frequent closing of shellfish beds, constant flooding in places). How much further these resources can be stretched before problems begin to accumulate and degrade the quality of life in Town cannot be predicted at this time. Future problems that can be expected to arise from continued urban sprawl may include reductions in water quality, limited open space for both passive (e.g., hiking) and active (e.g., ball fields) recreation, and/or reduced wildlife habitat.

One area of concern that has not been addressed by the Town nor the State is relative sea level rise. At present, there are many low lying areas within Town that will become susceptible to coastal flooding during storms as sea levels continue to rise over the next few decades. Many of the roads and underpasses are already inadequate and will not be able to handle any further increases in flooding due to relative sea level rise. The costs associated with increasing population growth coupled to environmental changes such as sea level rise will continue to stress all of the Town's resources (natural and economic) into the future. If we are not careful with our natural resources today, we may one day reduce the quality of life for all of Branford's citizens.

Although this NRI is not a management document, there are some assessments that can be made based on the available information that may aid managers and planners in the future. For example:

• There are large gaps in the availability of information pertaining to point and non-point pollution sources in the Town. This may be one area that could be improved with future funding.

• A number of databases have not been compiled and are sitting as individual files in offices around Town. For example, size and location of septic systems are filed by application rather than compiled into a single database by the Health District.

• Other databases were not required or regulated in the past and are at times handled by two separate agencies. For instance, underground storage tanks were not registered until recently and those that are registered are only done so as they are removed (Fire Department) or new ones installed (Building and Engineering Department). In neither case is the data compiled into a single database, but rather it is maintained as individual files within the respective departments.

• Much of the information from agencies outside of the Town (e.g. utilities) is not available to the public or compiled by Town. For example, Southern Connecticut Gas only has information on an account-to-account basis and it is not available for public review nor can it be estimated for the Town as a whole.

• In time, more information will be digitized and added to the Town's database. As this information is collected, some of the assessments made during this NRI may be deemed obsolete and management of the Town's resources may require new approaches.

It is hoped that the information presented here will allow the Town to identify information gaps and coordinate information compilations in the future.