3 replies on “Letter: Wilton Needs to Manage Invasive Plants to Protect Town’s Open Spaces”

  1. One of the most highly applauded recent initiatives by the Town was the multi-year, multi-phased project to remove the invasives and replant natives along both the Schenck’s Island and River Road sides of the Norwalk River in Wilton Center. The final phase of the project was completed during the pandemic with the last of the replantings.

    The “windows” recreated as part of this project have allowed for those passing by to have spectacular views of the river and the surrounding landscape. Previously, many residents were completely unaware of the river and Schenck’s.

    Two donated benches were just installed along River Road at the site of the prime “window”. One, from the Rotary, honoring long-time community volunteer Bud Boucher and one anonymously donated honoring Town of Wilton employees who served the community during the pandemic. I encourage you to take a few minute to sit, enjoy and reflect.

    The project, led by Environmental Affairs Director Mike Conklin, was funded with property tax dollars and involved three landscaping firms contracted and paid for by the Town.

    To ensure the ongoing health of the area, town employee Zen Herter spends at least one full day per week removing invasives and the board of selectmen budgeted monies in the current year’s budget to allow for additional resources to address the area.

    Residents can look forward to more work at Schenck’s as we continue to execute against the approved plans that came out of the work of the Schenck’s Island Merwin Meadows Study Committee. A Committee that was comprised of appointees from or recommended by a cross-section of boards and commissions, including Parks and Recreation, Economic Development, Conservation Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Wilton Land Trust and supported by consultants hired by the Town. Although the pandemic and some unexpected issues delayed the installation of the new parking lot at Schenck’s, residents should shortly see visible signs of that work proceeding.

    We are fortunate to live in a community with these natural treasures. We are also fortunate to have the willingness by taxpayers to funds their preservation and improvement and to have Wilton residents, businesses, groups like the Wilton Garden Club and even folks who live outside of Wilton who are all willing to contribute their sweat equity to our town center, our open spaces and our trails.

    Lynne Vanderslice
    First Selectwoman

  2. Reply to the above – My letter was informed by a meeting I had with the Environmental Commission regarding invasive removal. The response was that I as a concerned citizen needed to create the plan, raise funding, and organize it alone, which I don’t have the bandwidth to do (although I am happy to participate and be very involved). In my opinion, the stakeholders above need to take the lead.

  3. The mitigation work done at Schenck’s Island is commendable and a credit to the town’s environmental awareness; to take these efforts 1 step further though, and to Matt’s point, perhaps the town can identify other open spaces and create/engage community volunteer task forces for each to combat the invasives within? Wilton is a community that appreciates open spaces and especially the value of native ecosystems not overrun with invasive plants- I’m sure there are plenty of community volunteers just waiting to be asked to get involved.

Comments are closed.