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Tour Offered of Rare Coastal Habitat in Madison
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The town of Madison has the opportunity to preserve 42 acres of marshland and coastal woodlands near Hammonasset Beach State Park. Residents will vote on whether to approve bonding for the project next month.   Audubon Connecticut is giving public tours of the site to highlight its ecological significance.

A New York-based developer had planned to build a 127 unit housing development on the former airport site. But earlier this fall The Trust for Public Land negotiated an agreement which would allow the town of  Madison to purchase the land.

The property forms a key buffer between developed areas and the tidal marshes at Hammonasset which support a wide variety of threatened and endangered birds.

The property includes rare native habitat including a coastal forest and a small sand plain. Conservation biologist Patrick Comins of Audubon Connecticut says he’s been peaking over the fence for years, hankering to get a look.

“I know in the past I’ve driven by during storms when there was some flooding and looked out on the property and saw all sorts of great egrets and glossy ibis and other marsh birds foraging. And wondered how often are birds like this out there? And what other species of birds are out there?  And so it’s good to step foot on the property and see it for ourselves and examine it close up.

So far Comins has given two public tours that drew more than two hundred people. He’s giving another on December 12th.  Madison residents will have the chance to vote in January on whether to authorize  $9 million dollars in bonds to preserve the property.

For WNPR, I'm Nancy Cohen.