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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
NATURAL RESOUCES INVENTORY
2012

Created by Bethlehem Conservation Commission


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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
NATURAL RESOURCES INVENTORY
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Acknowledgements ... 6
INTRODUCTION
Natural Resources Inventory . ... 7
Figure 1: Town of Bethlehem Street Map .. 8
Figure 2: Town of Bethlehem Aerial Photograph Map . 9
Figure 3: Town of Bethlehem Contour Map 10
Figure 4: Town of Bethlehem Base Map with Hillshade . 11
WATER RESOURCES INVENTORY
Figure 5: Town of Bethlehem Water Resources Map .... 12
Watercourses and Water bodies .. 13
Water Resources Introduction .. 14
Figure 6: FEMA Flood Zones .... 14
Floodplains .. 14
Watersheds .. 15
Figure 7: Regional River Basins ..... 15
Table 1: Watershed Acres ... 15
Surface Water Quality . 16
Table 2: Surface Water Quality Classifications and Criteria .... 16
Ground Water Quality . 17
Figure 8: Ground Water Quality Classifications 17
Table 3: Ground Water Quality Classifications and Criteria ...... 18
Aquifers .. 19
Figure 9: Aquifer Protection Areas 19
Wetlands 20
Figure 10: Town of Bethlehem Wetland Soils 21
SOIL AND GEOLOGIAL RESOURCES INVENTORY
Figure 11: Town of Bethlehem Bedrock Geology Map ..22
Figure 12: Town of Bethlehem Slope Map ... 23
Figure 13: Town of Bethlehem Surficial Materials Map .. 24
Figure 14: Town of Bethlehem Stratified Drift and Recharge ... 25
Soils and Geological Resources .. 26
Soils . 26
Bedrock Geology .. 27
Figure 15: Town of Bethlehem Generalized Bedrock Geology ... 27
Table 4: Geologic Ages Represented in Connecticut Rocks .. 28
Surficial Geology . 28
Table 5: Town of Bethlehem Soils .. 29
FARMLAND AND FORESTLAND INVENTORY
Figure 16: Town of Bethlehem Farmland Soils Map .... 33
Figure 17: Town of Bethlehem Forested Land Map ..34
Figure 18: Town Of Bethlehem Land Cover (2006) ..35
The Rural Character of Bethlehem .. 36
Land Use and Land Cover ... 36
Table 6: Land Cover and Land Cover Change (1985-2006) .. 36
Farmland: Connecticut Public Act 490 .. 36
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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Bethlehem Crops and Farmlands ... 37


Table 7: Farmland by Street . 38
Table 8: Farmland Soil Types 39
Forested Land . 39
Table 9: Forest Land by Street 40
Notable Trees .. 40
Table 10: Notable Trees .. 41
Table 11: Common Types of Trees . 42
WILDLIFE RESOURCES INVENTORY
Figure 19: Town of Bethlehem Areas of Potential Ecological Significance . 43
Figure 20: Town of Bethlehem Natural Resource Constraints ....44
Mammal Species that Have Been Seen on the Swendsen Farm . 45
Bird Species that Have Been Seen on the Swendsen Farm . 45
Mammal Species that May Occur on the Swendsen Farm 48
Bird Species that May Occur on Swendsen Farm . 49
Amphibian Species that May Occur on Swendsen Farm .. 51
Reptile Species that May Occur on Swendsen Farm . 51
Swendsen Farm Preserve Bird List - 10/08 thru 08/09 53
The Wild Animals of Bethlehem An Informal Survey . 55
OPEN SPACE INVENTORY
Figure 21: Town of Bethlehem Open Space 56
Open Space Definition .. 57
Committed Open Space 58
Town of Bethlehem Open Space Properties . 58
Bethlehem Land Trust Owned Open Space .. 58
Table 12: Bethlehem Land Trust Properties .. 59
Uncommitted Open Space .... 60
RECREATIONAL RESOURCES INVENTORY
Figure 22: Town of Bethlehem Recreational Resources .. 61
Recreational Resources ... 62
Trails in the Town of Bethlehem ... 62
Recreation in the Town of Bethlehem ... 63
SCENIC ROADS INVENTORY
Figure 23: Town of Bethlehem Scenic Roads Map 64
Scenic Roads .. 65
Scenic Roads in Bethlehem ... 65
State Roads 65
Town Roads .. 66
Table 13: Unimproved Roads..... 66
HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT NATURAL RESOURCES INVENTORY
Figure 24: Town of Bethlehem Cultural Sites Map .. 67
Natural Features 68
Historic Markers 69
Bethlehem Green Historic District .... 70
Native Americans in Bethlehem ... 70
Further Sources .. 70
.

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

FIGURES AND TABLES


Figure 1: Town of Bethlehem Street Map .. 8
Figure 2: Town of Bethlehem Aerial Photograph Map . 9
Figure 3: Town of Bethlehem Contour Map 10
Figure 4: Town of Bethlehem Base Map with Hillshade . 11
Figure 5: Town of Bethlehem Water Resources Map ..... 12
Figure 6: FEMA Flood Zones ..... 14
Figure 7: Regional River Basins ...... 15
Figure 8: Ground Water Quality Classifications . 17
Figure 9: Aquifer Protection Areas . 19
Figure 10: Town of Bethlehem Wetland Soils . 21
Figure 11: Town of Bethlehem Bedrock Geology Map ...22
Figure 12: Town of Bethlehem Slope Map .... 23
Figure 13: Town of Bethlehem Surficial Materials Map ... 24
Figure 14: Town of Bethlehem Stratified Drift and Recharge .... 25
Figure 15: Town of Bethlehem Generalized Bedrock Geology ..... 27
Figure 16: Town of Bethlehem Farmland Soils Map ...... 33
Figure 17: Town of Bethlehem Forested Land Map ...34
Figure 18: Town Of Bethlehem Land Cover (2006) ...35
Figure 19: Town of Bethlehem Areas of Potential Ecological Significance .... 43
Figure 20: Town of Bethlehem Natural Resource Constraints ....44
Figure 21: Town of Bethlehem Open Space .. 56
Figure 22: Town of Bethlehem Recreational Resources .... 61
Figure 23: Town of Bethlehem Scenic Roads MMap .... 67
Figure 24: Town of Bethlehem Cultural Sites Map .... 67
Table 1: Watershed Acres ... 15
Table 2: Surface Water Quality Classifications and Criteria .... 16
Table 3: Ground Water Quality Classifications and Criteria ...... 18
Table 4: Geologic Ages Represented in Connecticut Rocks ... 28
Table 5: Town of Bethlehem Soils ... 29
Table 6: Land Cover and Land Cover Change (1985-2006) .... 36
Table 7: Farmland by Street . 38
Table 8: Farmland Soil Types 39
Table 9: Forest Land by Street 40
Table 10: Notable Trees . 41
Table 11: Common Types of Trees ... 42
Table 12: Bethlehem Land Trust Properties .. 59
Table 13: Unimproved Roads..... 66

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

APPENDICES
(A)
(B)
(C)
(D)
(E)

Dams
DEEP Designated Basins
Bellamy Preserve Trail Map
Swendsen Preserve Trail Map
Bethlehems Cultural and Archeological Inventory

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This document is the result of many years of work. Thanks go to the following people and
organizations:
David Scherf for guidance and vision and practical advice. Without David, this document would
not exist.
Past and present members of the Bethlehem Conservation Commission
Virginia Mason and Glenda Prentiss at the Central Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments
for maps
Tim MacSweeney for information on Native Americans in Bethlehem
Joe Shupenis - for Bethlehem historical information
Sean Hayden at Northwest Conservation District
Karen Paradis and David Weeks, Morris Open Space Committee
Jim Gibbons, UCONN Land Use Specialist
Jack Nelson
Joe Keneally, Conservation Commission Chair, Sherman

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

INTRODUCTION
The Conservation Commission is required by state statute to inventory our town's natural
resources. The Natural Resource Inventory, along with the Plan of Conservation and Development
(POCD), must be updated at least every ten years. Bethlehem's POCD was updated early in 2010 and
incorporated information from this document.
The town of Bethlehem, incorporated in 1787, has long maintained the quality and charm of
small town rural life. Bethlehem encompasses 19.7 square miles with approximately 3600 residents.
It is located in the northwest corner of Connecticut, in Litchfield County.
Bethlehem is rich in natural resources. Using maps and narrative, this document describes our
wealth of water resources and wetlands, fertile soils, farmland, forests and wildlife. Current
technology provides public access to detailed, accurate information on physical resources through the
CLEAR (Center for Land Use Education & Research) internet database (http://clear.uconn.edu/). This
allows more realistic assessments of our natural resources, their significance and potential impacts of
development.
The rural character defined by the open working spaces of Bethlehems farm land attracts
most residents. The character of the town is reflected in the nature of farming itself. Farming is an
independent, self-reliant activity that changes and adapts to prevailing natural conditions. Although
the number of farms has dwindled over the years, it is still the predominant defining feature of our
town. If we don't protect the existing farmland then the nature of the town will be altered.
Permanently preserved Open Space in Bethlehem currently makes up only 3% (400 acres) of
our total acreage (12,608 acres). Bethlehem's farm and forest owners benefit from Public Act 490,
Connecticut's law that allows farm, forest, or open space land to be assessed at its use value rather than
its fair market value. Farmland and forest temporarily protected under this act comprise 45% (5446
acres) of the town, leaving over 5000 acres vulnerable to development.
In comparison, neighboring towns have preserved between 11 and 24 percent in permanent
Open Space. Current figures are: Watertown: 12 percent; Morris: 9 percent, excluding White
Memorial; Woodbury: 11 percent; Washington: 24 percent.
Bethlehem is one of the few towns in Connecticut with neither zoning regulations nor a zoning
commission. Our methods and opportunities to protect our natural resources are limited, requiring
residents to be alert to the vulnerability of these resources or to see the character of the town
permanently altered. This begins with looking closely at what is here, making decisions on what we
want to keep, and then taking action to protect what we value. Our vision is to identify properties for
protection, in order to preserve Bethlehem's rural character for future generations.
This Natural Resource Inventory provides residents with a "close look" at the extent of our
natural resources. In addition, it provides municipal government officials a detailed reference for
purposes of planning and decision making and offers commissions a tool to make informed decisions
on land use applications.

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 1: Town of Bethlehem Street Map

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 2: Town of Bethlehem Aerial Photograph Map

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 3: Town of Bethlehem Contour Map

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 4: Town of Bethlehem Base Map with Hillshade

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 5: Town of Bethlehem Water Resources Map

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

WATER RESOURCES INVENTORY


Watercourses and Water bodies
Rivers
Nonnewaug River
Weekeepeemee River
Lakes and Ponds
Bird Pond
Long Meadow Pond
Zeigler's Pond
Brooks and Streams
Branch Brook
Carmel Hill Brook
Dowd Brook
East Spring Brook
Wood Creek
Swamps
Muck Swamp
Reservoirs
Bronson Lockwood Reservoir
Watertown Reservoir (drained)
Dams
Addie Road Pond Dam
Angelius Pond Dam
Asmus Dam
Assard Pond Dam
Barnes Pond Dam
Benjamin Pond Dam
Bird Pond Dam
Bronson Lockwood Dam
Kasson Road Pond Dam
Leever Dam
Long Meadown Pond Dam
Messenger Lane Pond Dam
Newman Pond Dam
Park Pond Dam
Spring Brook Pond Dam
Thurber Pond Dam
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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Watertown Reservoir Dam


Zeigler's Pond Dam

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Water Resources Introduction


Bethlehems landscape is in large part defined by a series of north to south ridges and hills dissected by
steep-sided valleys. The rivers and streams of these valleys tend to be of steep gradient and thus fastflowing and rocky-bottomed, with narrow floodplains. All of the towns landscape drains to the
Pomperaug, Naugatuck, and Shepaug Rivers, which are all sub-basins of the Housatonic River basin.
This listing above identifies six major streams and rivers, three major ponds, and one active watersupply reservoirs and dams. Surface and ground water quality, according to the State of Connecticut,
is of good quality except for a couple of stream reaches and possible contamination sites. Wetland
soils and federally-defined wetlands mostly occur along streams and where water is impounded, both
naturally and where ponds have been created by dams. The remainder of this inventory addresses the
following topics: floodplains, watersheds, watercourses and waterbodies, surface water and ground
water quality, aquifers and wetlands.

Figure 6 FEMA Flood Zones

Floodplains
As shown on the map above, the Federal Emergency Management Agencys 100-year flood zones
occur along the Weekeepeemee River, the East Spring Brook, and the Nonnewaug River, as well as
along the shores of Longmeadow Pond and the Bronson Lockwood Reservoir. These narrow flood
zones are indicative of the fast draining landscape that is created by the steep-sided slopes of
Bethlehems ridges and hills.

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Watersheds
Nearly all of Bethlehem falls within the Major
Basic 6, the Housatonic River watershed. A
watershed (or drainage basin) is the land that
drains to a stream, river, pond, lake, or ocean.
All of Bethlehems landscape drains to the
Housatonic watershed through a series of
rivers and streams: Weekeepeemee River,
East Spring Brook, Nonnewaug River, and
Sprain Brook. For the most part, this portion
of the towns drainage originates in headwater
streams in the northern half of town and exits
through Woodbury in the south. Thus about
95% of Bethlehem is in the Regional Basin
68, the Pomperaug River watershed. The
remainder of the towns land area drains north
to the Shepaug River (about 1%) in the
northwestern corner of town, and north and
east to the Naugatuck River (about 4%)
through Branch Brook in the northeastern
corner of town.
Figure 7
The following table shows the size (in acres and square miles) and percentage of Bethlehem that is
drained by the seven major watersheds found in Bethlehem. A map that shows the locations of each of
these watersheds is provided as Figure 5. (To see a detailed chart of Connecticut Designated Basins in
Bethlehem, please refer to Appendix 1.)
Table 1: Watershed Acres
Watershed

Bantam River
Branch Brook
East Spring Brook
Nonnewaug River
Shepaug River
Sprain Brook
Weekeepeemee
River
TOTALS

Acres

Square
Miles

129
460
3,241
1,581
9
174
6,982

0.2
0.72
5.1
2.48
0.01
0.27
10.9

12,576

19.68
16

% of Town
D
ra
in
ed

Regional

1.0%
3.6%
25.8%
12.6%
> 1%
1.4%
55.5%

Shepaug
Naugatuck
Pomperaug
Pomperaug
Shepaug
Pomperaug
Pomperaug

Major
Basin

Basin

Housatonic
Housatonic
Housatonic
Housatonic
Housatonic
Housatonic
Housatonic

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Surface Water Quality


Bethlehems Surface Water Quality falls, for the most part, into the highest of Connecticuts
Department of Environmental Protection surface water quality classes. Surface water (streams, ponds,
lakes, wetlands) in the northeastern corner of the town is Class AA.
The following section addresses the Water Quality Standards and Classification for Connecticut as they
apply to Bethlehem. It should be noted that surface and ground water quality classes were adopted for
the Housatonic basin in 1997, and that the data used to create the maps in this inventory show
classifications that are updated for surface water quality classes through 2002 and ground water quality
through 2004. Connecticut Water Quality Standards are used for management of water resources as
directed by Section 303 of the Federal Clean Water Act and Section 22a-426 of the Connecticut
General Statutes.
Table 2: Surface Water Quality Classifications and Criteria
Class
A

Comment

A/AA

Currently not
meeting criteria
for target class

AA

Use 1
potential
drinking water
supply
potential
drinking water
supply
existing or
proposed
drinking water
supply

B
B*

special class B
for Candlewood
Lake
B/A
currently not
meeting criteria
for target class
B/AA currently not
meeting criteria
for target class
C/A
currently not
meeting criteria
for target class
C/B
currently not
meeting criteria
for target class
D/B
currently not
meeting criteria
for target class
Source: CT DEP GIS Data Guide 2005

Use 2
fish and
wildlife
habitat
fish and
wildlife
habitat
fish and
wildlife
habitat

Use 3
recreational use

Use 4
agricultural or
industrial supply

recreational use

agricultural or
industrial supply

recreational use
(may be
restricted)

agricultural or
industrial supply

fish and
wildlife
habitat
fish and
wildlife
habitat
fish and
wildlife
habitat
fish and
wildlife
habitat
certain fish
and wildlife
habitat
certain fish
and wildlife
habitat
certain fish
and wildlife
habitat

recreational use

agricultural or
industrial supply

recreational use

agricultural or
industrial supply

recreational use

agricultural or
industrial supply

recreational use

agricultural or
industrial supply

certain
recreational uses

industrial supply

certain
recreational uses

industrial supply

bathing or other
recreational use

industrial supply

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Use 5
other legitimate
uses including
navigation
other legitimate
uses including
navigation
other legitimate
uses including
navigation
other legitimate
uses including
navigation
other legitimate
uses including
navigation
other legitimate
uses including
navigation
other legitimate
uses including
navigation
other legitimate
uses including
navigation
other legitimate
uses including
navigation
other legitimate
uses including
navigation

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Ground Water Quality


Bethlehem is not served by a large-scale public or private water supply system for residential or
commercial uses. Aside from some private springs, groundwater is the predominate source of
domestic and commercial water supply. As seen in the map below, most of the towns groundwater is
classified as being of good quality, and falls in the CT DEP ground water quality classes GA, GAA,
and GAAs. Table 3 below explains these classes in detail. A couple of areas in town (the town dump
area, and the area around the intersection of Main Street, Green Hill Road, and Thompson Road) have
been classified by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) as
having impaired ground water quality, and show up as orange areas on the map.
Figure 8

In the early eighties, the gas tanks at the former garage on the Wesson Property next to the cemetery on
Main Street South were dug up and removed but the soil was not removed. Approximately eight years
later, the contamination came to light and the state began to investigate. The contamination consisted
mostly of MTBE from leaking gasoline which traveled through the soil and groundwater, affecting
several local wells. The state dug up and removed the soil where the tanks had been. Measures were
taken to clean up the contamination, including an air stripping system and filtering. Drinking water
was delivered to the affected homes. Filters and monitors were installed. Water was piped across the
street for treatment.
Once the soil was removed, the contaminant numbers in the wells began to drop rapidly. Wall areas of
the garage contained contaminants, but the state found they could not remove that soil and maintain the
integrity of the building. As of 2004 water testing of area wells was ongoing and by October of that
year only two residential wells were still being monitored. One remaining issue is the proper disposal
of storage drums at the garage. In January 2006 the CT DEEP notified the current owner of the garage
requesting permission for soils in the area of the storage drums to be collected and tested. No response
was made by the owner and the matter was not pursued by the DEEP.

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Table 3: Ground Water Quality Classifications and Criteria


Class
GA

Comment

Use 1
existing private and
potential public
water supply

GAAs

water tributary
to public water
supply reservoir

existing or potential
public drinking
water supply

GAA-NY

serves New
York state
public water
supply
public water
supply,
contributing to
pws well, future
pws
may need
treatment before
drinking or
domestic use
may need
treatment before
drinking or
public use
public water
supply,
contributing to
pws well, future
pws
may need
treatment before
drinking or
public use

existing or potential
public drinking
water supply

GAA

GAImpaired
GAAImpaired
GAAWell

GAAWellImpaired
GB

existing or potential
public drinking
water supply
existing private and
potential public
water supply
existing or potential
public drinking
water supply
existing or potential
public drinking
water supply
existing or potential
public drinking
water supply
presumed needs
treatment before
human consumption

Use 2
baseflow for
hydraulicallyconnected surface
water
baseflow for
hydraulicallyconnected surface
water
baseflow for
hydraulicallyconnected surface
water
baseflow for
hydraulicallyconnected surface
water

Use 3

Use 4

baseflow for
hydraulicallyconnected surface
water
baseflow for
hydraulicallyconnected surface
water
baseflow for
hydraulicallyconnected surface
water
baseflow for
hydraulicallyconnected surface
water
baseflow for
hydraulicallyconnected surface
water

GC

industrial process
water and
cooling water
assimilation of
discharges by
permit

Source: CT DEP GIS Data Guide 2005

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Use 5

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Aquifers
One Aquifer Protection Area (APA) is regulated by the Connecticut DEP in Bethlehem. Figure 7
identifies the location of this APA, the Hart Farm Wellfield, in the southeastern corner of the town.
APAs are also commonly referred to as wellhead protection areas. These APAs were delineated by the
water utilities, and represent the area of groundwater contribution for active public water supply wells
or well fields serving more than 1,000 people that are set in stratified drift deposits. The Preliminary
(Level B) APAs were initially mapped for all the well fields in the program using available data, and
only provide a rough estimate of the area contributing groundwater to well fields. The Final (Level A)
APAs are based upon extensive site-specific data collection and detailed modeling of the groundwater
flow system. As the data is collected and final mapping is completed and approved for each well field,
the Final APA replaces the Preliminary APA. Eventually, Final APAs will be delineated for all the well
fields in the program. Land uses activities using hazardous materials within Final APAs will be
regulated under the Aquifer Protection Program (taken from CT DEP GIS Data Guide 2005).
The Town of Bethlehem has a portion of land area located in the southeast corner of the town that is
an existing well-field (aquifer) for the Town of Watertown. The State of CT has mandated that
activities in the aquifer shall be regulated to prevent any pollution. The mapping of this area was done
by physical survey and by satellite global positioning survey. It was then plotted on our town map.
The Town of Bethlehem used a regulation model that was recommended by the Connecticut DEP to
establish Regulations, Rules, Registrations, and Permits. These rules have been approved and added to
theTown of Bethlehem Inlands Wetlands regulations. Its basic premise is to keep the well fields from
being contaminated. These regulations govern all commercial and industrial activity in the aquifer
area. They do not restrict any residential or agricultural use of any properties. The Bethlehem Inlands
Wetlands Regulations are available in the Town Hall for viewing by the public.
Figure 9

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Wetlands
The State of Connecticut defines wetlands by soil types. Other states use a combination of hydrology,
presence of wetland plants and soil types to define wetland soils. Wetlands cover approximately
1,630.2 acres of Bethlehems land area, or about 12.8% of the town. Wetland soils can be divided into
three types: muck, floodplain, and upland wetland.
Of the wetland soils in town, 124.9 acres, or just about 1% of the towns land area are muck soils.
These soils predominate in marshy areas and can be found mostly in two areas: 1) in the far
northeastern corner of town to the east of Hard Hill Road North and Cabbage Lane; 2) in the far
western edge of town west of Carmel Hill Road. Floodplain soils totals 217.6 acres, or nearly 2% of
the towns land area. As would be expected, these soils are found mostly along the Weekeepeemee and
Nonnewaug Rivers and along Wood Creek. There are 1,267.7 acres of upland wetland soils, or nearly
10% of the towns land area. These soils are distributed throughout the town (see Figure 9).
In addition to the State of Connecticut wetland soils, a second layer of defined wetlands exists for
Bethlehem, and indeed the entire United States. The National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) is the federal
program for wetlands mapping for regulatory purposes. These wetlands are regulated by the United
States Army Corps of Engineers under the dredge and fill provisions (Section 404) of the Clean Water
Act. Certain projects may trigger the need for a federal permit.

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 10: Town of Bethlehem Wetland Soils

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 11: Town of Bethlehem Bedrock Geology Map

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 12: Town of Bethlehem Slope Map

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 13: Town of Bethlehem Surficial Materials Map

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 14: Town of Bethlehem Stratified Drift and Recharge Map

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

SOIL AND GEOLOGICAL RESOURCES INVENTORY


How we use the land is largely predicated on what the soil is composed of. The lithosphere, that
portion of the earth from the bedrock to the soil, is the thin crust of earth that, in concert with the
hydrosphere, sustains lifes biota the biosphere. Soil, the outermost solid portion of the lithosphere,
to a great extent, guides the use of land to the extent that specific uses can occur on suitable soils.
Materials that humans use as resources include the soil and what lies just below it. This land surface is
referred to as surficial materials. These materials represent the raw materials that humans use for
building and development. Both soils and surficial materials are the result of natural processes of
physical, chemical, and biological weathering as well as glacial action acting on the parent material,
or bedrock.
Soils
Soil is the solid material on Earths surface that results from the interaction of weather and biological
activities with the underlying geologic formation. Soil is produced from broken down rocks, organic
matter, water, and air. Soil generally loosens from the parent material (bedrock) at the rate of one
centimeter every 250 to 2,500 years. Nearly 21,000 soil types are found in the United States. All soil
types are made of varying amounts of silt, sand, and clay. Many different colors can be present in soil
depending on the minerals present and chemical and biological reaction within the soil. Each soil type
is suited for a different use. Some soils, for example, can support the massive weight of buildings,
shopping centers, and highways. Some are best suited for crops and range and forests.
The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), which is part of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA), sets the criteria for soil classification, using soil types. The NRCS Soil Survey
for Bethlehem classifies 4,911 acres (7.6 square miles) or 39% of Bethlehem soils as Prime Farmland
and Farmland of Statewide Importance. In Bethlehem these soils primarily are found on the tops of the
glacial ridges, and can generally be said to occupy the higher elevation of Carmel Hill and Hard Hill.
As discussed in the water resources section, wetland soils, and thus by Connecticut definition,
wetlands, cover approximately 1,630.2 acres of Bethlehems land area, or about 12.8% of the town.
Wetland soils can be divided into three types: muck, floodplain, and upland wetland.
Generally, soils on slopes greater than 15% need to be assessed for their use for residential and
commercial development. Bethlehems statutory regulations require that development occurs on
slopes less than 25%. Soils on steep slopes are widely dispersed throughout the town, and occur
mostly between the river and stream floodplains and the gently rounded tops of the towns elongated
hills, as shown in the Bethlehem Slope Map (Figure 12). Soils on slopes 15% or greater total
approximately 2068 acres or 16% of the towns area.

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Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Bedrock Geology

Three bedrock formations are found in Bethlehem.


These include Rowe Schist, Ratlum Mountain Schist, and
Nonnewaug Granite. As they occur in Bethlehem, these
formations are found in four diagonal belts trending
from southwest to northeast. Ratlum Mountain Schist (Or)
occupies the far northwestern corner of the town; Rowe Schist
occupies the next southerly band (OCr); Ratlum Mountain
Schist occupies the next and largest band; and Nonnewaug
Granite (Dng) occupies the southeastern corner of the town.
Where streams run through the contact between Nonnewaug
Granite and Ratlum Mountain Schist, waterfalls or cascades
occur.

Dng

Rowe Schist OCr (map unit abbreviation of lower Ordovician


or Cambrian or both Rowe Schist) A light-gray to silvery, fineFigure 15: Town of Bethlehem
to medium-grained, generally poorly layered schist composed
Generalized Bedrock Geology
of quartz, muscovite, biotite, oligoclase, and generally garnet,
staurolite, and layanite or sillimanite. Layers of granofels are
common; also some layers of amphibolite, quartz-spessartine rock (coticule) and calc-silicate rock.
Ratlum Mountain Schist -- Or (map unit abbreviation of Lower Ordovician Ratlum Mountain Schist)
A gray, medium-grained, interlayered schist and granofels, composed of quartz, oligoclase, muscovite
(in the schist) biotite, and garnet, also staurotite and kyanite in the schist. Numerous layers and lenses
of amphibolite; also some of quartz-spessartine (coticule) and calc-silicate rock.
Nonnewaug Granite Dng (map unit abbreviation of Devonian Nonnewaug Granite) An intrusive
igneous rock white to pink in color, fine to very coarse grained (commonly pegmatitic), massive to
layered granite composed of albite, microcline, quartz, and muscovite, with minor biotite and garnet.
Microcline is commonly known as graphic, quartz and muscovite commonly in plumose aggregates.

28

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Table 4: Geologic Ages Represented in Connecticut Rocks


Age
Code1
J
TR
P
D
S
O
C
Z
Y

Geologic Age

Million Years Ago

Jurassic2
Triassic
Permian
Carboniferous rocks (Pennsylvanian & Mississippian)
are not present in Connecticut
Devonian
Silurian
Ordovician
Cambrian
Proterozoic Z (PreCambrian)
Proterozoic Y (PreCambrian)3

140 - 205 mya


205 - 240 mya
240 - 290 mya
290 - 360 mya
360 - 410 mya
410 - 435 mya
435 - 500 mya
500 - 570 mya
570 - 800 mya
800 - 1700 mya

Letter represents the geologic age and is the first portion of the bedrock unit code
Jurassic age rocks are the youngest rocks in Connecticut
3
Proterozoic 'Y' age rocks are the oldest in Connecticut (~ 1100 mya)
2

Surficial Geology
The unconsolidated deposits overlying bedrock in Connecticut range from a few feet to several
hundred feet in thickness. These earth materials significantly affect human development of the land.
Most of the unconsolidated materials are deposits of continental glaciers that covered all of New
England at least twice during the Pleistocene ice age. These glacial deposits are divided into two broad
categories, glacial till and glacial stratified deposits. Till, the most widespread glacial deposit, was laid
down directly by glacier ice and is characterized by a nonsorted matrix of sand, silt, and clay with
variable amounts of stones and large boulders. Glacial meltwater deposits are concentrated in both
small and large valleys and were laid down by glacial meltwater in streams and lakes in front of the
retreating ice margin during deglaciation. These deposits are characterized by layers of well-sorted to
poorly sorted gravel, sand, silt, and clay. Postglacial sediments, primarily floodplain alluvium and
swamp deposits, make up a lesser proportion of the unconsolidated materials of Connecticut. Alluvium
is largely reworked from glacial materials and has similar physical characteristics.
TILL DEPOSITS--poorly sorted, generally non-stratified mixture of grain-sizes ranging from clay to
large boulders; the matrix of most tills is composed dominantly of sand and silt.
T THIN TILL--areas where till is generally less than 10-15 ft thick and including areas of
bedrock outcrop where till is absent.
TT THICK TILL--areas where till is greater than 10-15 ft thick and including drumlins, in
which till thickness commonly exceeds 100 feet (maximum recorded thickness is about 200
feet.) Drumlins are elongated hills formed by glacial action.
29

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

GLACIAL MELTWATER DEPOSITS -- All sorted and stratified sediments composed of gravel, sand,
silt, and clay laid down by flowing meltwater during retreat of the last ice sheet; and including minor
lenses of flowtill and other diamict sediment.
G GRAVEL - Composed mainly of gravel-sized particles; cobbles and boulders predominate;
lesser amounts of sand within the gravel matrix and as separate layers.
SG SAND AND GRAVEL - Composed of mixtures of gravel and sand within individual layers
and as alternating layers. Sand and gravel layers generally range from 25 to 50 percent gravel
particles and from 50 to 75 percent sand particles.
A/SG ALLUVIUM overlying SAND AND GRAVEL
A FLOODPLAIN ALLUVIUM - Sand, gravel, silt, and some organic material, on the
floodplains of modern streams.
SW SWAMP DEPOSITS - Muck and peat that contain minor amounts of sand, silt, and clay,
accumulated in poorly drained areas. Often a postglacial depositional feature.
In Bethlehem, surficial deposits can be grouped into those that occur along stream corridors, hilltops,
and side slopes. Along the larger stream corridors - specifically the Weekeepeemee River, Wood
Creek, East Spring Brook, and the Nonnewaug River - gravel, sand and gravel, and alluvium overlying
sand and gravel occur. Thick till predominates on the higher elevation hilltops and ridges.
Table 5: Town of Bethlehem Soils
Hydric Soil (third column from left) is formed under conditions of saturation, flooding, or ponding
long enough during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper part. This term is
part of the legal definition of a wetland included in the Food Security Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-198). The
Natural Resources Conservation Service maintains the official list of hydric soils.
MAP

SOIL TYPE

SYM
BOL
60D Canton and
Charlton
62D Canton and
Charlton
62C Canton and
Charlton
60B Canton and
Charlton
61B Canton and

DESCRIPTION SLOP CONNECTICUT HYD FARMLAND ACR


E
WETLAND
RIC
ES
CLASSIFICATI SOIL
ON
15 to
Non-wetland
No Not prime
129
25%
soils
farmland
extremely stony 15 to
Non-wetland
No Not prime
820
35%
soils
farmland
extremely stony 3 to
No Not prime
826
15% Non-wetland
farmland
soils
3 to
Non-wetland
No All areas are
519
8%
soils
prime farmland
very stony
3 to
Non-wetland
No Not prime
230
30

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Charlton
60C Canton and
Charlton
61C Canton and
Charlton
18 Catden and
Freetown
73E CharltonChatfield
complex
73C CharltonChatfield
complex
302 Dumps

very stony

109 FluvaquentsUdifluvents
complex
57D Gloucester

frequently
flooded

59D Gloucester
59C Gloucester
57B Gloucester
58B Gloucester
57C Gloucester
58C Gloucester
39A Groton
16

Halsey

38C Hinckley

soils
Non-wetland
soils

8 to
15%

very rocky

15 to
45%

Non-wetland
soils
Very poorly
drained soils
Non-wetland
soils

very rocky

3 to
15%

Non-wetland
soils

Dumps

15 to
25%
15 to
35%
3 to
15%
3 to
8%
3 to
8%
8 to
15%

Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils

gravelly sandy
loam
gravelly sandy
loam

8 to
15%
0 to
3%

Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils

0 to
3%
8 to
15%

Very poorly
drained soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils

15 to
45%
3 to
15%

Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils

silt loam

gravelly sandy
loam
gravelly sandy
loam

No
No
Yes
No

farmland
Farmland of
statewide
importance
Not prime
farmland
Not prime
farmland
Not prime
farmland

No Not prime
farmland

Non-wetland Unra Not prime


soils
nked farmland
Alluvial and
Yes Not prime
floodplain soils
farmland

gravelly sandy
loam
gravelly sandy
loam
gravelly sandy
loam
gravelly sandy
loam
gravelly sandy
loam
gravelly sandy
loam

32A Haven and


Enfield
32C Haven and
Enfield
38E Hinckley

8%
8 to
15%

31

No Not prime
farmland
No Not prime
farmland
No Not prime
farmland
No All areas are
prime farmland
No Not prime
farmland
No Farmland of
statewide
importance
No Not prime
farmland
No Farmland of
statewide
importance
Yes Not prime
farmland
No All areas are
prime farmland
No Farmland of
statewide
importance
No Not prime
farmland
No Farmland of
statewide

498
148
9
359
871
3
18
2
13
110
92
33
28
43
1
0
19
3
3
54

Town of Bethlehem
75E Hollis-Chatfield
75C Hollis-Chatfield
4

Leicester

Natural Resources Inventory


rock outcrop
complex
rock outcrop
complex
fine sandy loam

15 to
45%
3 to
15%

Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Poorly drained
soils

107 Limerick and


Lim
34A Merrimac

sandy loam

34B Merrimac

sandy loam

34C Merrimac

sandy loam

0 to
3%
3 to
8%
8 to
15%

Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils

No

0 to
5%

No

No

fine sandy loam

84D Paxton and


Montauk
86D Paxton and
Montauk
86C Paxton and
Montauk
84B Paxton and
Montauk
85B Paxton and
Montauk
84C Paxton and
Montauk

fine sandy loam 15 to


25%
fine sandy loam 15 to
35%
fine sandy loam 3 to
15%
fine sandy loam 3 to
8%
fine sandy loam 3 to
8%
fine sandy loam 8 to
15%

85C Paxton and


Montauk
102 Pootatuck

fine sandy loam, 8 to


very stony
15%
Pootatuck fine
sandy loam
Ridgebury fine
sandy loam

Non-wetland
soils
Alluvial and
floodplain soils
Poorly drained
soils

Ridgebury,
Leicester, and
Whitman
103 Rippowam

Yes
Yes

Non-wetland
soils
Alluvial and
floodplain soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils

Ridgebury

No

Alluvial and
floodplain soils

21A Ninigret and


Tisbury
101 Occum

No

extremely stony

No
No

No
No
No
No
No
No
No

No
Yes

importance
Not prime
87
farmland
Not prime
12
farmland
Farmland of
59
statewide
importance
Farmland of
8
statewide
importance
All areas are
9
prime farmland
All areas are
126
prime farmland
Farmland of
23
statewide
importance
All areas are
35
prime farmland
All areas are
45
prime farmland
Not prime
258
farmland
Not prime
397
farmland
Not prime
196
farmland
All areas are
1686
prime farmland
Not prime
139
farmland
Farmland of
899
statewide
importance
Not prime
151
farmland
All areas are
50
prime farmland
Farmland of
20
statewide
importance
Not prime
1167
farmland

Poorly drained & Yes


very poorly
drained soils
Alluvial and
Yes Farmland of
floodplain soils
statewide
importance

fine sandy loam

32

59

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

76E Rock outcropHollis complex

3 to
45%

108 Saco

silt loam

15

muck

Scarboro

50A Sutton
52C Sutton
51B Sutton
50B Sutton
Timakwa and
Natchaug
309 Udorthents

Non-wetland
soils

fine sandy loam 0 to


3%
fine sandy loam, 2 to
extremely stony 15%
fine sandy loam, 2 to
very stony
8%
fine sandy loam 3 to
8%

17

flood control

308 Udorthents
305 Udorthents-Pits
complex
306 UdorthentsUrban land
complex
13 Walpole
W

gravelly

sandy loam

Water

45A Woodbridge
47C Woodbridge
46B Woodbridge
45B Woodbridge
45C Woodbridge
46C Woodbridge

Alluvial and
floodplain soils
Very poorly
drained soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Very poorly
drained soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils

Yes Not prime


farmland
Yes Not prime
farmland
No All areas are
prime farmland
No Not prime
farmland
No Not prime
farmland
No All areas are
prime farmland
Yes Not prime
farmland
No Not prime
farmland
No Not prime
farmland
No Not prime
farmland
No Not prime
farmland

Poorly drained
soils

Yes Farmland of
statewide
importance
Unra Not prime
nked farmland
No All areas are
prime farmland
No Not prime
farmland
No Not prime
farmland
No All areas are
prime farmland
No Farmland of
statewide
importance
No Not prime
farmland

Water
fine sandy loam 0 to
3%
fine sandy loam, 2 to
extremely stony 15%
fine sandy loam, 2 to
very stony
8%
fine sandy loam 3 to
8%
fine sandy loam 8 to
15%

Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils
Non-wetland
soils

fine sandy loam, 8 to


very stony
15%

Non-wetland
soils

33

Not prime
Unra farmland

11
33
10
170
7
88
0
8
19
19
40
7
228
2
446
122
396
69
8

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 16: Town of Bethlehem Farmland Soils Map

34

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 17: Town of Bethlehem Forested Land Map

35

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 18: Town of Bethlehem Land Cover 2006

36

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

FARMLAND AND FOREST INVENTORY


The Rural Character of Bethlehem
While Bethlehem continues to be one of the less developed towns in Connecticut, it is also one of the
smallest towns and as such any changes in land use will very quickly affect the overall character of the
town. The town has a strong tradition of working landscapes and primary production from farming
and forestry, but this is countered by the low percentage of land protected as permanent open space. It
is safe to say that unless protected, land in Connecticut is subject to development pressures, and
unprotected farms and forest woodlots are desirable as potentially developable land for residential and
commercial uses.
Land Use and Land Cover
According to data provided by the University of Connecticut's Center for Land Use Education and
Research (CLEAR), Bethlehem has been undergoing steady change from 1985 to present. This change
is primarily due to the increase in population and resulting increases in the development of land for
residential and commercial uses. As seen in Figure 17, as of the year 2006 the developed portions
(9%) of the town are found along town roads and developed subdivisions, while much of the town
remains forested. The map generated by CLEAR shows forested land as 53.4% of the town and
farmland as 29.3%.
Table 6: Land Cover and Land Cover Change (1985-2006)
1985

1990

acre
s
100
5

% of
town
8%

acre
s
106
4

Turf & Grass

679

5.40%

Other Grasses

151

Agricultural
Field

1995

8.50%

acre
s
108
0

760

6%

1.20%

123

338
4

26.90
%

Deciduous
Forest
Coniferous
Forest

650
0

Water
Non-forested
Wetland
Forested
Wetland

8.60%

acr
es
112
5

839

6.70%

1%

157

333
0

26.50
%

51.70
%

642
6

363

2.90%

254

% of
town

Change

8.90%

9.20%

927

7.40%

948

7.50%

1.20%

179

1.40%

154

1.20%

323
1

25.70
%

311
5

24.80
%

310
5

24.70
%

51.10
%

640
5

50.90
%

635
6

50.50
%

634
6

363

2.90%

361

2.90%

361

2.90%

2%

257

2%

255

2%

247

14

0.10%

24

0.20%

24

0.20%

199

1.60%

198

1.60%

196

0%

0%

Barren

14

0.10%

18

0.10%

Utility (Forest)

10

0.10%

10

0.10%

Tidal Wetland

% of
town

2006
acr
es
116
1

Developed

% of
town

2002

% of
town

acre
s
156.
1
268.
2

%
chang
e
15.50
%
39.50
%

-8.20%

50.50
%

2.7
279.
2
154.
1

359

2.90%

-3.9

-1.10%

2%

247

2%

-6.9

-2.70%

26

0.20%

26

0.20%

11.7

85%

1.60%

197

1.60%

197

1.60%

-2

-1%

0%

0%

0%

16

0.10%

31

0.20%

22

0.20%

7.3

0%
50.80
%

10

0.10%

10

0.10%

10

0.10%

0%

% Change (last column on right) shows the change form 1985 to 2006
FARMLAND
Connecticut Public Act 490
The Town of Bethlehem has over 100 property owners currently participating in the farm land
preservation program through the State of Connecticuts Public Act 490. Public Act 490 is
37

1.80%

-2.40%

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Connecticut's law (Connecticut General Statutes Sections 12-107a through 107-f) that allows farm,
forest, or open space land to be assessed at its use value rather than its fair market value for purposes
of local property taxation. Farmland and forest temporarily protected under Public Act 490 comprise a
total of 45% (5446 acres) of the town.
This program reduces the assessed value (70% of fair market value) of an acre of Bethlehem farmland
to an average of $400 an acre as of 2010. At present, 3,569+/- acres are currently and actively farmed
and as such are being assessed as farmland. This is about 5.6 square miles of Bethlehems total land
area of 19.7 square miles, or approximately 28% of the towns land area. There are 143 landowners
and 184 properties in the program. This does not include the 125-acre Swendsen Farm, a town owned
open space property with approximately half of the acreage actively farmed. Active farming in
Bethlehem includes: haying, planting and harvesting of crops, and grazing of land.
The text from the Connecticut General Statues reads as follows:
Connecticut General Statutes Public Act 490
Declaration of Policy:
It is hereby declared that it is in the public interest to encourage the preservation of farm
land, forest land, and open space land in order to maintain a readily available source of
food and farm products close to the metropolitan areas of the state, to conserve the states
natural resources and to provide for the welfare and happiness of the inhabitants of the state
[and] that it is in the public interest to prevent the forced conversion of farm land, forest
land and open space land to more intensive uses as the result of economic pressures caused
by the assessment thereof for purposes of property taxation at values incompatible with their
preservation as such farm land, forest land and open space land.
Crops and Farmlands
As shown on the Town of Bethlehem Farmland Soils Map (Figure 15), approximately 39% of
Bethlehems soils are characterized by the Natural Resource Conservation Services Soil Survey for
Litchfield County as usable for farming. This includes both Prime Farmland Soils (25%) and Other
Important Soils (14%). In general, these soils occur on ridge tops and hills. They are found primarily
in three areas: along the Carmel Hill ridge; the Hard Hill ridge; and in the northeastern quarter of town.
This northeastern quarter is bounded as follows: along the southern line following Green Hill Road and
Maddox Road; along the northern line at the Morris town line along Town Line Road; along the
western line following Route 61 and including the Bellamy property; and with an eastern line along the
Watertown border. These soils also roughly correlate with the occurrences of thick till.
According to the NRCS definition, "Prime farmland is land that has the best combination of physical
and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops, and is also
available for these uses. The land could be cropland, pastureland, rangeland, forestland, or other land,
but not urban built-up land or water. Prime farmland has the soil quality, growing season, and moisture
supply needed to economically produce sustained high yields of crops when treated and managed
according to modern farming methods."
Per the same definition, Farmland of Statewide Importance is land this is "nearly prime farmland and
that economically produces high yields of crops when treated and managed according to acceptable
farming methods. Some may produce as high a yield as prime farmlands if conditions are favorable."
(For detailed information about NRCS Farmland identification, go to:
ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/CT/soils/2011_prime-important.pdf)
38

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Table 7 below shows the total acres farmed by road throughout town. These are the acres declared by
the owner as farmed. No distinction is made between tilled acres for crops and acres that are pastures.
Table 7
FARMLAND BY STREET
ROAD
ARCH BRIDGE RD
BERGMANN HILL RD
CABBAGE LN
CARMEL HILL RD (Inc No & So)
CRANE HOLLOW RD
DOUBLE HILL RD
EAST ST
FLANDERS RD
GUILDS HOLLOW RD
HARD HILL RD No
HARD HILL RD So
HARRISON LN
HAYES RD
HICKORY LN
HINMAN RD
KASSON RD
LAKE DR
LAKES LN
LAKES RD
MADDOX RD
MAGNOLIA HILL RD
MAIN ST (Inc No & So)
MUNGER LN
NETTLETON HOLLOW
NONNEWAUG RD
ORCHARD AVE
SKY MEADOW RD
SMITH LN
STILL HILL RD
SUNNY RIDGE RD
TERRELL FARM RD
THOMSON RD
TODD HILL RD
TOUSI RD
TOWN LINE HWY S
TOWN LINE RD
WEEKEEPEEMEE RD
WOOD CREEK RD
Total Farmed Acres

FARMED ACREAGE
28.55
7.00
17.89
352.77
172.43
30.10
46.83
74.50
175.28
151.36
640.13
7.00
41.50
42.43
32.97
116.89
4.00
8.00
25.94
117.02
173.16
116.08
143.38
4.87
189.12
8.50
27.36
7.00
63.65
0.20
4.04
121.20
406.70
12.50
65.94
29.25
16.50
125.66
3607.70

39

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

SOIL TYPE
Prime Farmland Soils
Other Important Soils
Non-farmland Soils
TOTAL
Table 8 Farmland Soil Types

ACRES PERCENTAGE
3170
25%
1741
14%
7663
61%
12574

While a large percentage of Bethlehem landscape is underlain by farmland soils, it should be noted that
more recent residential development has occurred on these soils, and once developed, farmland soils
are no longer usable as farmland.
FORESTED LAND
The Town of Bethlehem is comprised of 12,608 total acres; of this about 1,973 privately owned acres
are included in the State of Connecticuts Public Act 490 program as Forest acres. Public Act 490 is
Connecticut's law that allows farm, forest, or open space land to be assessed at its use value rather than
the property's most recent "fair market value" revaluation, for purposes of local property taxation.
Without the lower use value assessment, most landowners would have to sell the land because they
would not be able to afford the property taxes on farm, forest, or open space land. This allows farmers
to continue to own forest and open space land without being forced to sell it to pay the local property
taxes.
A landowner contracts with a State Forester to determine the acreage complies with the forest
guidelines of the PA-490. This Public Act in part states: The term forest land means any tract or
tracts of land aggregating twenty-five acres or more in area bearing tree growth in such quantity and so
spaced as to constitute in the opinion of the State Forester a forest area and maintained in the opinion
of the State Forester in a state of proper forest condition.

40

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Table 9
FORESTED LAND BY STREET
ROAD NAME
TOTAL ACRES
PA-490 FOREST
ARCH BRIDGE RD
108.46
CABBAGE LN
75.00
CARMEL HILL RD N
377.73
CRANE HOLLOW RD
88.00
DOUBLE HILL RD
57.00
FLANDERS RD
51.22
GUILDS HOLLOW
RD
146.5
HARD HILL RD N
91.34
HINMAN RD
126.00
JACKSON LN
52.63
JUDGE LN
65.00
MAIN ST N
26.7
MAIN ST S
40.11
MILL POND RD
49.5
MUNGER LN
29.76
NETTLETON
HOLLOW RD
8.39
PADDY HOLLOW RD
179.59
STILL HILL RD
108.75
TODD HILL RD
50.03
TOUSI RD
63
TOWN LINE HWY S
4
WEEKEEPEEMEE RD
27.74
WOOD CREEK RD
146.59
TOTAL ACRES

1973.04

Notable Trees in Bethlehem


Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut, maintains a database of notable trees in the state.
Their website (see Source below for website address) states:
"Our State is blessed with a rich diversity of plants, animals, forests, and historic resources. We
all share a concern for preserving this cultural landscape, the things that give our state its
unique character. Trees are symbolic of our relationship with nature, a touchstone to the past
and future.
Established in 1985, the Notable Trees Project collects and distributes information about
Connecticut's largest and most historic trees, both native and introduced. By educating our
fellow citizens about the importance of our state's natural heritage we work to preserve it. It is a
41

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Natural Resources Inventory

volunteer enterprise sponsored by the Connecticut Botanical Society, The Connecticut College
Arboretum, and the Connecticut Urban Forest Council.
A book by Glenn Dreyer, "Connecticut's Notable Trees," was published by the Connecticut
Botanical Society and the Covered Bridge Press in 1989, 1990 and 1998. The later editions
were the same as the original, except that they were perfect bound and included updated
Champion Tree Lists. Most libraries in the state have copies of the book, which is currently out
of print.
A computer database is maintained at the Connecticut College Arboretum that includes records
of over 2,800 individual trees in the state. Information for each tree includes size, location,
ownership, and condition. The champion tree lists are derived from this database.
Exact locations of the trees are not always given because we do not always have permission
from owners of trees on private property to publish their locations. In the future, we hope to
develop lists that will include locations of trees growing on land open to the public.
Table 10
NOTABLE TREES
Latin Name
Acer saccharum
Betula papyrifera
Malus pumila
Quercus rubra
Sciadopitys verticillata

Common Name
Points Circ.(in) Height(ft) Spread(ft)
Sugar Maple
343
232
84
107
Paper Birch
114
49
51
54.5
Common Apple
162 119
34
37.5
Red Oak
349
255
72
89.5
Japanese Umbrella Pine 96
59
32
20.5

SOURCE: http://oak.conncoll.edu:8080/notabletrees/
The cover of this resource inventory is a photo of the largest known tree in Bethlehem, the Auncient
Oak. The information about this tree and the maple described below are included on the Connecticut
Botanical Society. The tree measures, 255 inches in circumference, 72 feet tall and an average spread
of 89.5 feet. The age of the tree is approximately 255 years old.
The tree was first mentioned in the town of Bethlehems Planning Commission minutes in August of
1987. At that time the tree had been measured and acknowledged as the second largest red oak in the
state of CT. The Bethlehem Land Trust has taken on the task of preserving the tree and the land around
it.
In addition to the Auncient Oak, there is a Sugar Maple in Bethlehem that is included on the CT
Botanical Societys largest tree list. It measures 232 inches in circumference, 84 feet tall and average
spread of 107 feet. The age of the tree is approximately 230 years old.
And finally, there is the White Oak tree found in Bethlehem July of 2012. It has not been
professionally measured, but the unofficial trunk circumference measurement of 246.5 inches gives it
an age of approximately 246 years old.

42

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Table 11
COMMON TREE TYPES
(Information taken from the Yale Management Report on Swendsen Farm)
Common Name
Striped Maple
Red Maple
Norway Maple
Sugar Maple
Yellow Birch
Black Birch
Paper Birch
Ironwood
Shagbark Hickory
American Beech
White Ash
Eastern Hophornbeam
Black Cherry
Chokecherry
White Oak
Northern Red Oak

Latin Name
Acer pensylvanicum
Acer rubrum
Acer platanoides
Acer saccharum
Betula allegheniensis
Betula lenta
Betula papyrifera
Carpinus caroliniana
Carya ovata
Fagus grandifolia
Fraxinus americana
Ostrya virginiana
Prunus serotina
Prunus virginiana
Quercus alba
Quercus rubra

American Basswood
Eastern Hemlock
Spruce
Pitch Pine
Eastern White Pine
Domestic Apple

Tilia americana
Tsuga canadensis
Picea
Pinus rigida
Pinus strobus
Pyrus malus

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Figure 19: Town of Bethlehem Areas of Potential Ecological Significance Map

44

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Figure 20: Bethlehem Natural Resource Constraints

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WILDLIFE INVENTORY
The lists in this section are drawn from the Yale Management Report for the Swendsen Farm generated
in 2003. Since the Swendsen Farm Preserve has a varied habitat of forested and non-forested areas,
plus farmland, we consider it is representative of the wildlife habitat found in much of the town.
Incorporated into this inventory is the list of birds sighted in 2009, gathered by John Marshall of
Watertown, Connecticut. This list appears at the end of the section along with results of a town-wide
wildlife voluntary survey distributed in the spring of 2008.
Sighted on the Swendsen Farm between 2003 and 2009 (Seen, Heard, Smelled, Tracks, Scat,
Roadkill)
Mammal Species that Have Been Seen on the Swendsen Farm
Virginia Opossum Didelphis virginiana
Star-nosed Mole Condylura cristata
Eastern Cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus
Eastern Chipmunk Tamias striatus
Gray Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis
Beaver Castor canadensis
Deer Mouse Peromyscus maculatus
White-footed Mouse Peromyscus leucopus
Coyote Canis latrans
Raccoon Procyon lotor
Striped Skunk Mephitis mephitis
River Otter Lutra Canadensis
White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus
Bird Species that Have Been Seen on the Swendsen Farm
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Green-backed Heron Butorides striatus
Wood Duck Aix sponsa
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
Hooded Merganser Lephodytes cucullatus
Double-breasted Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
Bufflehead Bucephala albeola
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Wild Turkey Melleagridis gallopavo
Bald Eagle Haliaetus leucocephalus
Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii
Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus
Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platyperus
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
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Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus


Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus
Purple Martin Progne subis
Rock Pigeon Columbialivia
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
American Crow Corvus brachyrhinchos
Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus
Common Grackle Quiscalue quiscula
Black-capped Chickadee Parus atricapillus
Tufted Titmouse Parus bicolor
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calenda
Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
Veery Catharus fuscescens
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris
Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina
American Robin Turdus migratorius
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus
Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus
Yellow Warbler Dendroica patechia
Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
Palm Warbler Dendroica palmarum
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapillus
Common Yellowthroat Geothylpis trichas
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla
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Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis


Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea
Dickcissel Spiza americana
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla
American Tree Sparrow Spizella arborea
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
Vesper Sparrow Pooecetes gramineus
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii
Swamp Sparrow Melospiza Georgiana
White-throated sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
White-crowned sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater
House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
Red Crossbill Loxia curvirostra
Pine Siskin Carduelis pinus
American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis
American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus
American Pipit Anthus rubescens
Mute Swan Cygnus olor
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Northern Harrier Circus cayaneus
Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus
Merlin Falco columbarius
Sora Porzana carolina
Killdeer Charadius vociferus
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Rock Dove Columba livia
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica
Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris
Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus
Eastern Meadowlark Stumella magna
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbuk
Purple Finch Progne subis
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Mammal Species that May Occur on the Swendsen Farm


Source: NEWILD Program, DeGraaf and Rudis 1986
NEWILD is a computer program developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Northeastern
Forest Experiment Station that is based on the Species/Habitat matrices developed by DeGraaf and
Rudis (1986). The program gives natural history profiles of New England wildlife species and can be
used to determine which species can be found in certain habitats, or which habitats are preferred by
particular species.
Masked Shrew Sorex cinereus
Water Shrew Sorex palustris
Smoky Shrew Sorex fumeus
Pygmy Shrew Sorex hoyi
Northern Short-tailed Shrew Blarina brevicauda
Least Shrew Cryptotis parva
Hairy-tailed Mole Parascalops breweri
Eastern Mole Scalopus aquaticus
Little Brown Myotis Myotis lucifugus
Keen's Myotis Myotis keenii
Indiana Myotis Myotis sodalis
Small-footed Myotis Myotis leibii
Silver-haired Bat Lacionycteris noctivagans
Eastern Pipistrelle Pipistrellus subflavus
Big Brown Bat Eptesicus fuscus
Red Bat Lasiurus borealis
Hoary Bat Lasiurus cinereus
New England Cottontail Sylvilagus transitionalis
Snowshoe Hare Lepus americanus
European Hare Lepus capensis
Woodchuck Marmota monax
Red Squirrel Tamiasciurus hudsonicus
Southern Flying Squirrel Glaucomys volans
Southern Red-backed Vole Clethrionomys gapperi
Meadow Vole Microtus pensylvanicus
Rock Vole Microtus chrotorrhinus
Woodland Vole Mictrotus pinetorum
Southern Bog Lemming Synaptomys cooperi
Meadow Jumping Mouse Zapus hudsonius
Woodland Jumping Mouse Napaeozapus insignis
Porcupine Erethizon dorsatum
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes
Gray Fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus
Fisher Martes pennanti
Ermine Mustela erminea
Long-tailed Weasel Mustela frenata
Mink Mustela vison
Bobcat Felis rufus
Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus
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Norway Rat Rattus norvegicus


House Mouse Mus musculus
Bird Species that May Occur on Swendsen Farm
American Black Duck Anas rubripes
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
Common Merganser Mergus merganser
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos
Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellus
Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus
American Woodcock Scolopax minor
Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erithrophtalmus
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus
Eastern Screech-Owl Otus asio
Barred Owl Strix varia
Great Gray Owl Strix nebulosa
Long-eared Owl Asio otus
Northern Saw-whet Owl Aegolius acadicus
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor
Whip-poor-will Caprimulgus vociferus
Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus borealis
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens
Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens
Alder Flycatcher Empidonax alnorum
Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii
Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia
Cliff Swallow Hirundo pyrrhonota
Grey Jay Perisoreus canadensis
Boreal Chickadee Parus hudsonicus
Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis
Brown Creeper Certhya americana
Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Swaison's Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum
Northern Shrike Lanius excubitor
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus
Solitary Vireo Vireo solitarius
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus
Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora pinus
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina
Nashville Warbler Vermivora ruficapilla
Northern Parula Parula americana
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica
Magnolia Warbler Dendroica magnolia
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Natural Resources Inventory

Black-throated Blue Warbler Dendroica caerulescens


Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens
Pine Warbler Dendroica pinus
Prairie Warbler Dendroica discolor
Palm Warbler Dendroica palmarum
Bay-breasted Warbler Dendroica castanea
Blackpoll Warbler Dendroica striata
Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea
Worm-eating Warbler Helmitheros vermivorus
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis
Louisiana Waterthrush Seiurus motacilla
Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia
Hooded Warbler Wilsonia citrina
Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis
Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens
Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea
Rufous-sided Towhee Piplilo erythophthalmus
Rusty Blackbird Euphagus carolinus
Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius
Northern Oriole Icterus galbula
Pine Grosbeak Pinicola enucleator
White-winged Crossbill Loxia leucoptera
Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea
Hoary Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni
Evening Grosbeak Coccothraustes vespertinus
Common Loon Gavia immer
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax violaceus
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Gadwall Anas strepera
American Wigeon Anas americana
Canvasback Aythya valsineria
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
Gray Partridge Perdix perdix
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
King Rail Rallus elegans
Virginia Rail Rallus limicola
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
American Coot Fulica americana
Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
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American Woodcock Scolopax minor


Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
Black Tern Chlidonias niger
Common Barn-Owl Tyto alba
Snowy Owl Nyctea scandiaca
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
Marsh Wren Chrystothorus palustris
Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus
Grasshopper Sparrow Ammodramus savannarum
Henslow's Sparrow Ammodramus henslowii
Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana
Lapland Longspur Calcarius lapponicus
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis
Amphibian Species that May Occur on Swendsen Farm
Mudpuppy Necturus m. maculosus
Blue-spotted Salamander Ambystoma laterale
Spotted Salamander Ambystoma maculatum
Red-spotted Newt Notophthalmus v. viridescens
Northern Dusky Salamander Desmognathus f. fuscus
Four-toed Salamander Hemidactylium scutatum
Eastern Spadefoot Scaphiopus h. holbrookii
Eastern American Toad Bufo a. americanus
Fowler's Toad Bufo woodhousii fowleri
Northern Spring Peeper Hyla c. crucifer
Gray Treefrog Hyla versicolor
Bullfrog Rana catesbeiana
Green Frog Rana clamitans melanota
Wood Frog Rana sylvatica
Northern Leopard Frog Rana pipiens
Pickerel Frog Rana palustris
Reptile Species that May Occur in Swendsen Farm
Common Snapping Turtle Chelydra s. serpentina
Bog Turtle Clemmys muhlenbergii
Wood Turtle Clemmys insculpta
Eastern Box Turtle Terrapene carolina
Five-lined Skink Eumeces fasciatus
Eastern Painted Turtle Chrysemys p. picta
Northern Water Snake Nerodia s. sipedon
Northern Brown Snake Storeria d. decayi
Northern Redbelly Snake Storeria o. occipitomaculata
Eastern Garter Snake Thamnophis s. sirtalis
Eastern Ribbon Snake Thamnophis s. sauritus
Eastern Hognose Snake Heterodon platyrhinos
Northern Ringneck Snake Diadophis punctatus edwardsi
Eastern Worm Snake Carphophis a. amoenus
Northern Black Racer Coluer c. constrictor
Eastern Smooth Green Snake Opheodrys v. vernalis
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Natural Resources Inventory

Black Rat Snake Elaphe o. obsoleta


Eastern Milk Snake Lampropeltis t. triangulum
Northern Copperhead Agkistrodon contortrix mokeson
Timber Rattlesnake Crotalus horridus
Stinkpot Sternotherus odoratus
Midland Painted Turtle Chrysemys p. marginata
Eastern Spiny Softshell Trionyx spiniferus

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Swendsen Farm Preserve Bird List - 10/08 thru 08/09


Gathered by John Marshall of Watertown, CT
Waterfowl
Tyrant Flycatchers
Wood Duck
Eastern Phoebe
Mallard
Eastern Kingbird
Green-winged Teal
Vireos
Hooded Merganser
Warbling Vireo
Grouse, Quail, and Allies
Red-eyed Vireo
Wild Turkey
Jays and Crows
Cormorants
Blue Jay
Double-crested Cormorant
American Crow
Herons, Ibis, and Storks
Fish Crow
Great Blue Heron
Larks
Green Heron
Horned Lark
Vultures, Diurnal Raptors, and Falcons Martins and Swallows
Black Vulture
Tree Swallow
Turkey Vulture
Barn Swallow
Osprey
Chickadees and Titmice
Northern Harrier
Black-capped Chickadee
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Tufted Titmouse
Cooper's Hawk
Nuthatches and Creepers
Northern Goshawk
White-breasted Nuthatch
Red-shouldered Hawk
Wrens
Red-tailed Hawk
Carolina Wren
American Kestrel
Kinglets
Shorebirds
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Killdeer
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Spotted Sandpiper
Thrushes
Pigeons and Doves
Eastern Bluebird
Rock Pigeon
Hermit Thrush
Mourning Dove
Wood Thrush
Hummingbirds
American Robin
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Catbirds and Mockingbirds
Kingfishers
Gray Catbird
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Mockingbird
Woodpeckers
Starlings
Red-bellied Woodpecker
European Starling
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Pipits
Downy Woodpecker
American Pipit
Hairy Woodpecker
Waxwings
Northern Flicker
Cedar Waxwing
Pileated Woodpecker
Cardinals, Grosbeaks, etc
Wood-Warblers
Northern Cardinal
Yellow Warbler
Indigo Bunting
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Dickcissel
Palm Warbler
Blackbirds
Common Yellowthroat
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
54

Town of Bethlehem
Sparrows
American Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco

Natural Resources Inventory


Eastern Meadowlark
Brown-headed Cowbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Baltimore Oriole
Finches
Purple Finch
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Old World Sparrows
House Sparrow

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The Wild Animals of Bethlehem An Informal Survey

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Figure 21: Town of Bethlehem Open Space Map

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OPEN SPACE INVENTORY


Open Space Definition
The OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE OF THE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM has reviewed many
definitions of open space. Open space is generally used to describe undeveloped land with some
protection against development, such as designation as a park or forest, a restrictive covenant, or
ownership by a land preservation organization. Two Connecticut state statutes define open space for
the specific purpose of separate municipal and state acquisition programs.
Connecticut General Statue 12-107b defines open space as:
any area of land, including forest land, land designated as wetland under section 22a-30
and not excluding farm land, the preservation or restriction of the use of which would:
1. Maintain and enhance the conversation of natural resources;
2. Protect natural streams and water supply;
3. Promote conservation of soils, wetlands, beaches or tidal marshes;
4. Enhance the value to the public of abutting or neighborhood parks, forests, wildlife
preserves, natural reservations, or sanctuaries or other open spaces;
5. Enhance public recreation opportunities;
6. Preserve historic sites; or
7. Promote orderly urban and suburban development."
Connecticut General Statue 7-131c defines open space as:
land set aside for recreation and conservation purposes (which) means use for agriculture,
parks, natural areas, forests, camping, fishing, wetland preservation, wildlife habitat, reservoirs,
hunting, golfing, boating, swimming, snowmobiling, historic and scenic preservation and other
purposes set forth in CGS Section 7-13b."
The Bethlehem Plan of Conservation and Development (2010) details supports the preservation of
Open Space in Bethlehem through two Land Use Policies:
Land Use Policy 1: To develop land use policies and other policies that will encourage the
continued preservation of the natural features of Bethlehem. (Section VII, B, p. 32)
Land Use Policy 2: "To encourage the preservation of farmland and other open space.
(Section VII, B, p. 33);
The Bethlehem Open Space Committee has chosen this definition of Open Space:
"Open Space shall consist of undeveloped land preserved in perpetuity for agriculture, forests,
wetlands, natural wildlife habitats, natural resource conservation, parks and scenic areas, and to
maintain Bethlehems character."
For purposes of this inventory, we have categorized open space in Bethlehem as follows: Committed
Open Space is land that is permanently protected from development; Uncommitted Open Space is land
that has some level of protection, but no guarantee of permanent protection.
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Committed Open Space


For the purposes of this inventory, Committed Open Space means land that holds a deed restriction
which keeps it permanently protected from development into perpetuity. Bethlehem has a total of
380 acres of committed open space. This is divided into town-owned land, lands held by the
Bethlehem Land Trust, and other lands. The largest town-owned open space parcel is the Swendsen
Farm Preserve, a 125 acre parcel located on Route 132. Other town-owned land includes town fields,
and Long Meadow Lake and beach, and ball fields, and cemeteries. The Town Green, because it is
bordered by state roads, is mostly owned by the State of Connecticut.
TOTAL PRESERVED OPEN SPACE ACREAGE: 380 acres
Percentage of town: 3%
Town of Bethlehem Open Space Properties
- Swendsen Farm Preserve - 125 acres
The Swendsen Farm Preserve was bought by the town in the year 2003. The land, a former dairy farm
owned by Sam and Dot Swendsen, includes 125 acres of beautiful, rolling open fields and woods and a
small pond. There is a significant amount of prime agricultural soil, and about 80% of the property is
under cultivation. It is currently farmed by Tom March of Bethlehem, who leases the land to grow
corn and hay. The property is open to the public for passive recreation.
Financial assistance came from a grant through the State Connecticut Open Space and Watershed Land
Acquisition Program. Under the grant program, the town owns the land and the State owns a perpetual
conservation easement which requires public access and prohibits non-agricultural improvements. The
easement reserves the right of Bethlehem to develop facilities for passive recreation and the right to
prohibit non-agricultural motorized vehicles and hunting. The stewardship and management of the
farm is overseen by the Conservation Commission.
In 2009 a trail system was implemented at the preserve through a grant from the Recreational Trail
Grant Program. Hiking, horseback riding, biking and cross country skiing are all allowed on portions
of the preserve. The preserve is an excellent location to see many kinds of wildlife. See Wildlife
Inventory of this document for more detailed information.
Bethlehem Land Trust Owned Open Space
Land owned by the land trust falls into two categories of ownership, Fee Ownership and Conservation
Easements. Fee Ownership means the land is owned outright by the Bethlehem Land Trust; a
Conservation Easement means the Land Trust owns an easement that permanently protects the land,
but that ownership stays with the property owner. See Table 9 for details on properties.

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Table 12: Bethlehem Land Trust Properties


BETHLEHEM LAND TRUST PROPERTIES (NOVEMBER 2005)
Map/
Owned
Volume/
Acres
Location
Block/
Date
Donor
Property
Page
Lot
FEE OWNERSHIP
Bellamy
81.0
Main St, N
11-6149-261
5/12/1992 C. Ferriday Estate
Preserve
83a
Crane Hollow
1.36
Crane
10-4101-223
2/17/1985 David, Peter
Hollow Rd.
11c
Kacerguis
Sky Meadow
21.5
Kasson Rd.
11-791-120
6/19/1984 Alfred Breton
486
Risley Refuge
12.02 Carmel Hill
9-12111-208
12/30/1986 Norah W. Risley
Rd.
14b
Long Horizon
4.08
Long
11-6126-19
10/29/1988 RSA Developers
Horizon Rd.
112
Nonnewaug
7.1
Falls Rd.
12-2118-164
9/30/1987 MathewsPines
22
Nonnewaug
Assoc.
Hickory Lane
2.15
Hickory
13-5-2
123-45
6/9/1988 Mark DePecol
Lane
Auncient Oak
14.31 Auncient
9-17-1
128-77
6/29/1988 Robert Piazza
Oak Rd.
Schwartz
25
Main St. N
11-9-1
183-248
4/7/1997 Charles Schwartz
Muck Swamp
5.0
West Rd.
10-7140-134
3/7/1991 Litch. Cty
36a
Conservation
Serv.
Tousi Mountain
5
Tousi Rd.
11-4150-71
9/30/1992 John, Julia
34
Hallaway
Tousi Mountain
3
Tousi Rd.
11-4154-117
4/16/1993 William Beardsley
35
Langlois
2.26
Burritt Hill
11-2210-146
8/14/2000 Pierce Kearney
Preserve
Rd.
70
Leever Preserve
12.0
Falls Rd.
12-2232-31
5/20/2002 Harold, Ruth
21
Leever
Green Hill
2.79
Harrison
11-5256-280
8/26/2003 Donald, Pamela
Meadow
Lane
62
Goss
Sherlock
8.88
Flanders
10-5289-67
9/31/05
Bernice Sherlock
Homestead
Road
28
Two Rivers
11.38 Guilds
10-5-2
288-278
10/3/05
John Brown
Hollow Rd
TOTAL
218.86
CONSERVATION EASEMENTS
Wood Creek 1000 ft. Wood Creek
72-287, map
2/6/1980
Wellspring
Cons. Belt
to Rt 132
v. 8, # 37
Griz
10.0
Carmel Hill
9-12map v. 10 #
1993
Richard, Peggy
(est.)
Rd.
24
91
Kuss
60

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Nonnewaug
Pines
Auncient Oak

7.0
(est.)
1.77

Wood Creek
Reserve
TOTAL
LAND TRUST
TOTAL

17.4

Falls Rd.
Auncient
Oak Rd.
Wood Creek
Rd.

12-223
9-1713
10-755

118-170, map
v. 9, # 75
map v. 9 # 89
134-274, map
v. 11, # 93

8/5/1987
11/13/1987
5/8/1990

Jeanne & Paul


Tomek
Phillip, Maryann
Thompson
Robt. Fisher,
Trustee

36.17
255.03

Uncommitted Open Space


For the purposes of this inventory, Uncommitted Open Space means land that does not hold a deed
restriction keeping it permanently protected; however the land is under temporary protection from
development through Public Act 490 (PA 490). Bethlehem participates in Public Act 490, which
encourages the temporary preservation of farmland through a reduced tax assessment. Property
owners sign up for ten-year periods, therefore providing the temporary protection. Approximately
48% of the land in Bethlehem is in PA 490.
Please see the Farmland and Forest section of this document for more details.
For the most current information on the status of properties in Bethlehem, please consult the
Town Assessor's office.
The Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments maintains a digital property parcel map
available at: www.cogcnv.org

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Figure 22: Town of Bethlehem Recreational Resources Map

62

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

RECREATIONAL RESOURCES INVENTORY


Bethlehem is fortunate to have areas of permanently preserved open space for recreation. Trails,
woodlands and wetlands can be enjoyed by all. These natural areas should be viewed as a link for
future development of connecting corridors for conservation and wildlife migration, or "Greenways".
The State of Connecticut defines Greenways as linear open spaces that can help conserve native
landscapes and ecosystems by protecting, maintaining, and restoring natural connecting corridors.
They can provide opportunities for recreation, exercise, and alternative transportation. In addition,
these areas can separate and buffer incompatible adjacent land uses and promote economically efficient
and productive uses for lands which may be marginal for development. Greenways can also contribute
to local tourism and to the preservation of scenic, cultural, and historic assets in the state.
Trails in the Town of Bethlehem
Bellamy Preserve
Long Horizon Preserve
Swendsen Farm Preserve
Two Rivers Preserve
Upper Nonnewaug Preserve
Behind Town Hall (not currently maintained)
Although Bethlehem does not have any designated Greenway corridors, one of our longest greenways is the Bellamy Preserve. In the center of town, you can enter near the Town Green off Munger
Lane and come out in the old cemetery near Long Meadow Pond. There are two miles of trails to
explore in Bellamy Preserve, as well as a long corridor that runs from south to north.
The Bethlehem Land Trust owns two additional properties that are open to the public and have short
trails. One is Long Horizon Preserve, which connects to the Swendsen property. Access is directly off
Route 132 on the east side of town. This preserve is being developed as an arboretum. The other Land
Trust property with a trail is Two Rivers Preserve on the west side of town. This property runs along
the confluence of Wood Creek and the Weekeepeemee River. Once joined, the stream becomes the
Weekeepeemee River which flows into Woodbury, where it joins the Nonnewaug and becomes the
Pomperaug River.
The Swendsen Farm Preserve trail system offers a variety of long and short hikes across farmland and
through wooded areas. A trail runs along the top of a stunning ravine above East Spring Brook.
The Upper Nonnewaug Preserve, off Skilton Road near the town line, straddles Bethlehem and
Watertown. The 41-acre property is owned by the Watertown Land Trust. The property includes a half
mile of the Nonnewaug River and offers a breathtaking view of a steep ravine worn away by the
Nonnewaug River.
Trail maps for the Bellamy Preserve and the Swendsen Farm Preserve are included as Appendices.

63

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Natural Resources Inventory

Recreation in the Town of Bethlehem


Long Meadow Lake and Beach is a source of water recreation for all ages. A recent addition is a large
pavilion with picnic tables.
Ball fields behind Town Hall and across from Long Meadow Beach provide opportunities for sports
activities. In addition, there is a basketball court behind the library and tennis courts behind Town Hall
adjacent to the ball fields.

64

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Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 23: Town of Bethlehem Scenic Roads

65

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

SCENIC ROADS INVENTORY


Scenic Roads
According to the Town of Bethlehem Ordinance 105-16, the Planning Commission has the power to
designate a town highway as a scenic road. Proper application procedures must be followed, which
requires agreement via written statement of a majority of the lots abutting the highway agree to the
designation. The road must meet one of the following criteria to be accepted as scenic:
1/
2/
3/
4/
5/
6/

It is unpaved
It is bordered by mature trees or stone walls
The traveled portion is no more than 20 feet in width
It offers scenic views
It blends naturally into the surrounding terrain
It parallels or crosses over brooks, streams, lakes or ponds.

A public hearing is held once application is made. Please see the complete ordinance in the Town
Clerk's office for full details.
Scenic Roads in Bethlehem
There are two scenic roads in Bethlehem: Paddy Hollow Road and Arch Bridge Road. Paddy Hollow
Road was designated as a scenic road by the Bethlehem Planning Commission in April of 1993. The
unpaved westernmost .45 miles of Arch Bridge Road, from the intersection of Judson Lane to the
intersection of State Route 132, was designated as a scenic road by the Bethlehem Planning
Commission in January of 1997.
Both of these roads are local scenic highways, as designated by Bethlehems town scenic highway
ordinance. Connecticuts Town Scenic Highway Ordinance authorizes municipalities to adopt scenic
road ordinances to protect town roads from unwanted change.
NOTE: This scenic road designation is not the same as the State Scenic Road Designation, which is
handled through the DOT. These are posted with blue signs on state highways which have attained this
designation through application to the state. In 2001 an application was made through the
Conservation Commission to designate Route 132 as a State Scenic Road. The application was
rejected; in 2002 re-application was submitted and also rejected.
State Roads
Two state roads run through Bethlehem. State Route 132 runs roughly east to west, from the
Watertown town line to the southwestern corner of Bethlehem. In succession, from east to west, this
road is known locally as Kasson Road, East Street, Guilds Hollow Road, and Carmel Hill Road.
State Route 61 runs north-south from the Morris town line at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds to the
Woodbury town line just past Porter Hill Road. State Route 61 includes Main Street North and Main
Street South.

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Natural Resources Inventory

Town Roads
Town Improved (Paved) Roads
According to 2005 State of Connecticut DOT data, there are 59 road segments that comprise 41.35
miles of improved (paved) public roads in Bethlehem. These roads are displayed on the Town of
Bethlehem Street Map (Figure 1).
Town Unimproved Roads
In addition to the unimproved (unpaved) sections of Paddy Hollow Road and Arch Bridge Road, eight
other Bethlehem roads are unimproved or have unimproved sections. All unimproved road segments
are listed below.
Table 13: Unimproved Roads
ROAD
Length (miles)
Arch Bridge Rd. *
.45
Crane Hollow Rd.
.27
Falls Rd.
.14
Hickory Ln.
.42
Nettleton Hollow Rd.
.30
Orchard Ave.
.14
Paddy Hollow Rd. *
.63
Still Hill Rd.
.88
Town Line Highway N.
.45
Town Line Highway S.
.47
TOTAL
4.15
Source: CT DOT Town Road (TRU) Map
* Town Designated Scenic Road

67

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Figure 24: Town of Bethlehem Cultural Sites Map


From: Bethlehem Connecticut A Primer of Local History. The little red book .

68

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT NATURAL RESOURCES INVENTORY


Natural Features
A. Green - Commons
The Town Green was once known as Bellamy Park since the Reverend Bellamy's house was
located at the north end of the Green. A Mr. Thompson sold the property to the Ecclesiastical
Society circa 1768. The Green is the lowest point in Bethlehem at 861 feet above sea level.
It is also home to the stately Norway Spruce, which is illuminated every December.
B. Long Meadow Pond
In 1846, Long Meadow Pond was constructed and the water was diverted to Bird Pond
and used all the way to Hotchkissville, assuring a steadier flow of water. The land beneath
Long Meadow Pond had once been referred to as fifty acres of excellent peat and
turf.
(*Primer) Both ponds and also Zeiglers Pond were used for harvesting ice.
C. Birds Pond
Bird's pond was built in 1802 to provide water for the various mills and factories. The
increased flow was used by mills along the Weekeepeemee River all the way down into
Hochkissville, the northern section of Woodbury.
D. Todd Hill - 1140 ft
The highest elevation in Bethlehem, 1140 feet, is on Todd Hill Road, just north of where
it intersects Wood Creek Road.
E. Weekeepeemee River & Wood Creek River Valley
The Weekeepeemee River runs from Morris near the Bethlehem town line down into the small
village of Hochkissville where there is a USGS stream flow gauging station. Real time
information from this station can be found on the Pomeraug River Watershed Coalition
website: www.pomeraug.org.
F. Nonnewaug Falls - Entrance
The pines of Nonnewaug are located adjacent to the waterfall in the southeast end of
Bethlehem. The public can access the pines from Falls Road. There is a bronze tablet at
Nonnewaug Falls erected in the memory of Chief Nonnewaug by the Nonnewaug Tribe,
Improved Order of Red Men in 1916. It reads:
To the memory of Nonnewaug, last chief of his tribe, friend of his white neighbors
who sleeps with his fathers near these falls which bears his name.
G. Zeiglers Pond
Zeigler's pond is located in the northwest corner of town. This pond was also constructed for
power and ice harvesting. On an 1859 map it is known as Wood Creek Pond, as it feeds into
Wood Creek.

69

Town of Bethlehem

Natural Resources Inventory

Historic Markers
A. Memorials on the Green (Site of First Church)
The second meeting house for the Congregational Church was completed in 1768 just south of
Joseph Bellamys house. There is a marker on the north end of the Green to indicate its location.
Other memorials on the Green include a marker dated 1902 locating where a Constitution Oak
once stood. In the center of the Green there are markers for Bethlehem soldiers in the following
wars: Revolutionary, War of 1812, World War II, the Korean War and the Viet Nam War.
At the south end of Green, there is a memorial for soldiers from the Civil War and World War I.
As the plaque was installed before WWII, it simply refers to World War.
B. Arch Bridges
There have been at least two stone arch bridges constructed in Bethlehem in the late 19th
Century; one on Magnolia Hill where it crosses East Spring Brook and the other on Arch
Bridge Road over Wood Creek. The Arch Bridge was built in 1886 and was restored in 1987.
C. Bench Mark near Historical Society - 861 ft
D. Joseph Bellamy House
This house was begun in 1754, with an addition in 1767. Bellamy, who had studied with
Jonathan Edwards, began to have young men come to the house to study with him. The
Bellamy house became the first theological seminary in the country. The Joseph Bellamy
House is listed on the Litchfield County National Register Properties.
E. Franklin Mile Stones
Benjamin Franklin measured out miles to help determine postal rates from Woodbury to
Litchfield. There are two existing milestones in Bethlehem. One is located on Main Street in
the center of town in front of the Painted Pony Restaurant; the other is on Flanders Road by
Angelus House. There is another one on Flanders road in Woodbury, just south of the
Bethlehem town line, across the street from Bethwood Lane.
F. Cemeteries
There are three cemeteries in Bethlehem, located on Bellamy Lane (from 1753); Carmel
Hill (from 1780); and the Bethlehem Cemetery Association on the Corner of Main Street and
Flanders Road (from 1863). A future cemetery property is located on the last eastern bend of
Route 132, across from the intersection of Kasson Road and Route 132. It is owned by the
Bethlehem Cemetery Association and leased as farmland.

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Bethlehem Green Historic District


Certified and listed as an historic district with the National Register of Historic Places (HRHP) on
December 16, 1982, the Bethlehem Green Historic District (NRHP ID# 82001001) is comprised of 550
acres and 63 buildings in the vicinity of parts of Main Street North, Main Street South, East Street,
West Street, and Munger Lane. (http://national registerofhistoricplaces.com and
http://www.nr.nps.gov).
The Bethlehem Green is on the Litchfield County National Register.
Native Americans in Bethlehem
Evidence of Indian encampments abounds in Bethlehem. The flats along East Spring Brook, the
Weekeepeemee and Nonnewaug Rivers, and Wood Creek would have been perfect camping grounds,
rich in games and fish. Artifacts such as arrowheads can still be found. Often the forests were burned
to eliminate undergrowth and facilitate hunting.
When the Nonnewaug tribe sold land to the English settlers, the treaty was signed at an encampment
located in what is now the Town of Woodbury. The trees noted as Treaty Trees may still be there, living
reminders of this historical event. It is said Chief Nonnewaug was distraught at the decision by
Younger tribe members to sell the land, and that he threw himself over the falls in deep sorrow. He
was laid to rest near the falls that now bear his name.
(Source: Tim MacSweeney, Bethlehem)
Further Sources
For more detailed information on early Bethlehem please see the following sources, both available in
our local library:
Bethlehem Connecticut A Primer of Local History. The little red book .

The Images of America: Bethlehem The most recent publication of photos with detailed captions,
published by the Old Bethlehem Historical Society
250 Years of First Church of Bethlehem, edited by Marshall Linden and Linton E. Simerl
See Appendices for a detailed Cultural & Archaeological Inventory generated by Town Historian Joe
Shupenis.

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APPENDICES

72