Protect the Partrick Wetlands
and our Community

Development will harm the Wetlands
and the Fragile Habitats within it.

Wetlands are not just water covered land, they are an interwoven tapestry of uplands, bogs, meadows, ponds, pools, brooks and forest. All of these pieces are needed for the wetland ecosystem and habitat to function properly. The destruction of any part could be detrimental to the entire natural order.

Uplands which are one of the most critical areas are the ones most in jeopardy by this proposed development. 9 acres of upland, home to myriad species of animals will be paved over to make way for 24, 4000 sq ft, houses and the roads needed to support them. Essentially every piece of accessible upland will be used by this project for the sake of profit at the expense of an ecosystem. Proposed houses are being shoe horned into pieces of land that have no business even being considered for development and yet they are being approved by the Conservation Commission.

Many pieces of upland that will be destroyed are the only upland in that area. They are otherwise surrounded by wetlands and their loss would doom that section's habitat. Many of these animals who depend on the upland for breeding and shelter will not migrate. Either because they can't or would be hemmed in by development, roads, water or natural obstacles. Note in the Site Map that almost all of the upland to the East of Poplar Brook will be covered. This specifically should be allowed.

Encroachment and loss of vernal and ephemeral pools, essential breeding grounds for amphibians will further harm the wetland habitat and could actually lead to the loss of certain species in this area. This should not be tolerated.

Tom Rachovansky, the naturalist consultant hired by the Conservation Commission, outlined clearly the need to preserve the upland and to have greater setbacks from the wetland in order to save the natural habitats.

Letter dated 1/28/02, T. Rochovansky indicates the following:

1. Loss of uplands: "My previously stated concerns for the loss of the critical upland component to the adjacent wetland systems continues with the new plan. The loss of this habitat and connective wildlife corridors will have a deleterious impact on wildlife and the diversity of the site. The large areas of undisturbed habitat are wetland areas, and very little upland habitat is preserved or accessible on this plan.

2. Setbacks: "I continue to believe that the proposed setbacks in this plan are not adequate to reduce impacts to wildlife and aquatic systems. Fifty to seventy five feet of totally undisturbed, naturally vegetated wetland setbacks and buffers throughout the project would be best. Reducing the number of units, removing all disturbance in wetland areas, and sticking to a more appropriate setback distance would go a long way in addressing the concerns for maintaining habitat quality.

The problem is the commission has ignored his findings in favor of not just building on most of the upland, but in not increasing setbacks which would have offered greater protection for the wetlands and its species.

In this day and age, it is incomprehensible that protection of our natural resources are not being done with vigor here in Westport. We are asking you, the citizens of Westport to send a message and protect this fragile environment.

Read the arguments presented to the Conservation Commission.