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The Landscape of Redding, Connecticut (CT): Water, Watersheds, Rivers, Streams, Reservoir  

Quick Links:
Norwalk Watershed, Bridgeport Hydraulic Company Holdings

As you travel through Redding you will notice an abundance of wetlands, streams, ponds, and one large reservoir.

The four main routes that traverse our town run past three different bodies of water. Route 107 beginning in the village of Georgetown crosses the Norwalk River as it makes it way toward the Long Island Sound. Look to your left when you come to a bridge just about an 3/10 of a mile from the turnoff of Route 7, you will see the old Gilbert and Bennett Factory. The Norwalk River runs directly through the factory and continues on under the bridge and into Wilton.  Route 7 follows the Norwalk River on the left handside all the way into Ridgefield(In Georgetown and Branchville the river crisscrosses from right to left, left to right).  Route 53 follows the Saugatuck River on your left from the Redding Roadhouse up to Umpawaug Road if you are traveling toward Bethel and on your right up until the junction of 107, where it crosses over to the left and straight into the Reservoir if you are traveling toward Weston.  Route 58 crosses the Little River just past John Read Road and passes Putnum Pond on your right just before the Bethel line.

Redding, CT's Water Supply Aquifers. (Off-site link: HVCEO)

Norwalk Watershed

The watershed cover about 64 square miles or 40,000 acres in parts of seven communities: New Canaan, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, and Wilton in Connecticut; and Lewisboro in New York State. It is estimated that about 66,000 people live in the watershed.

Within the watershed, the Norwalk River begins in the Great Swamp in Ridgefield, flows north for about a mile and then south for 20 miles before entering Long Island Sound at Norwalk Harbor. The Harbor, including its reach into Long Island Sound, is a center of boating activity and contains the most productive shellfish grounds in the Sound. The two main tributaries to the Norwalk River are the Silvermine River and Comstock Brook.

Tour the whole watershed via pictures: Norwalk River pictures, Silvermine River pictures, Comstock Brook pictures.

The Norwalk River Watershed Initiative Committee is currently working to implement a plan that includes:

Water quality protection and improvement; Flood protection; Open space preservation and acquisition; Balanced growth and development; Fish and wildlife habitat restoration; Environment education and stewardship.

Article: Inland Pollution is Dangerous to Norwalk River

For more information on the Watershed Action Plan, visit norwalkriver.org web site of the Norwalk River Watershed Association.

Bridgeport Hydraulic Company Holdings:

BHC flooded the Saugatuck River Valley in the 1930's to create the Saugatuck Reservoir. The full history is told in a very well written book by James Lomuscio, entitled Village of the Damned: the fight for open space & the flooding of a Connecticut town.

From Penelope C. Sharp's "Scoping the Waterlands" March 1991

Saugatuck North 4: SN4 is situated in northwest Redding west of Long Ridge Road and north of Simpaug Turnpike. It is an irregularly shaped parcel of 81 acres with a large private inholding in its northwest portion. The BHC property has limited frontage only on Long Ridge and George Hull hill roads.

Saugatuck North 6: SN6, an irregular 50 acre tract, is located in West Redding south of where Side Cut Road joins Simpaug Turnpike. It is east of the rail road tracks and has frontage on Simpaug Turnpike, Side Cut Road, and Station Road. The Saugatuck River enters the parcel at its western side, flows along the northern boundary and exits to the east. Blackman's Pond Brook, a feeder to the Saugatuck, flows from west to east in the southern section of the property. Topography is fairly gentle.

Saugatuck North 7: SN7 is a small, 6 acre tract lying north of the junction of Route 53, Umpawaug Road, and Station Road. The site, largely wetlands, embraces the confluence of the north-flowing Blackman's Pond Brook and a south-flowing unnamed stream. The two streams join and flow northward into the Saugatuck River.

Saugatuck North 8: SN8 is situated south of the junction of Umpawaug Road and Route 53. The northern portion of the property has frontage along both of these roads. This is a 63-acre linear parcel that roughly parallels Route 53 southward for about one-third of a mile. The Saugatuck River flows through the length of the parcel. the north end embraces a broad, deep wetland through which the river slowly flows. The wetland can be classified as a scrub shrub swamp. Clumps of buttonbush, alder, silky dogwood, and winterberry grow in the swamp.

Saugatuck North 9: SN9 is located north of Route 53 and south of Gallows Hill road. The parcel is 139 acres and has approximately 800 feet of frontage on both roads. Tannery Brook flows through the eastern portion of the parcel, and a Connecticut Light and Power transmission line traverses the west-central section of the property.

Huckleberry Swamp and Adjacent Uplands by Linda Roth
Secrets of Redding Glen: The Natural History of a Wooded Valley.
by Jo. Polseno

Little River 12: LR12, a 23-acre parcel, is situated on the east side of Black Rock Turnpike approximately 0.5 mile north of John Read Road. It is linked to LR13 by a white blazed trail that runs north from Cross Highway across LR13 and through private lands into LR12. Beyond LR12, the trail enters a tract owned by the Redding Land Trust. The trail ends at the cul-de-sac of Pheasant Ridge Road. The Little River flows from north to south along the western edge of LR12.

Little River 13: LR13 comprises 192 acres and is located south of John Read Road near its intersection with Route 58. This parcel is probably better known to Redding residents than most other BHC properties due to the fact that the Little River North Trail traverses the entire length of the parcel from Cross Highway to John Read Road. The trail runs along the west bank of the Little River, passing through second growth, mixed deciduous woods. The eastern bank of the Little River is lined with stones which may represent an early attempt to channelize the river.

Saugatuck South 15: SS15 is situated on the east side of Route 53 north of the junction of 107 and 53. The parcel surrounds the Hull Cemetery and is relatively small, comprising 25 acres. On the south side of the cemetery is a former plantation which now supports sapling growth dominated by red maple and white ash. To the east is an overstocked white pine plantation. The largest portion of this parcel lies to the north of the cemetery. In this section, mixed hardwoods, primarily ash, red oak, and sugar maples, are overtopping red cedars. Topography is somewhat irregular. Two upland knolls occur in the northern end of the upper knoll. An intermittent watercourse flows between the two knolls. On the westerly side of the watercourse is an old dump. Northwest of the dump is a fairly young white pine plantation and the remnants of a mature one. A few spruces are growing amidst the mixed age pines. Deer trails were noted throughout this parcel.

Saugatuck South 16: SS16, comprising 30 acres, is located to the north and west of Route 107, east of its junction with Route 53. The parcel has frontage along Route 107 and Great Pasture Road. The property has somewhat irregular terrain with a general slope toward the southwest. A number of stone walls crisscross the parcel.

Saugatuck South 17: SS17, a 46-acre parcel, is located south of Diamond Hill Road and west of Route 53. Topography is variable. Moderately steep slopes occur along the western sections of the parcel whereas the central and eastern portions along the Saugatuck River are relatively flat. This parcel has several attractive features, the main one being the Saugatuck River and its floodplain. A number of stone walls are present along this section of the property and indicate former agricultural use, probably as pasture. Deer trails are numerous. This area serves as an excellent wildlife corridor. The floodplain along the river is relatively open. There are several wetland areas in association with the floodplain, making direct access to the west bank of the river somewhat difficult. South of the march, the river becomes broader and shallower. This is a riffle section of the channel and appears to be a popular fishing spot.

Saugatuck South 19: SS19 is located on the west side of Route 53, west of the upper end of the Saugatuck Reservoir. This parcel also has frontage along Redding Road (Route 107) at its northern extremity and along Dayton road at its southern boundary. SS19, oriented roughly in a north-south direction, is characterized by steep slopes and ledge outcrops.

Saugatuck South 21: SS21 is located north of the Newtown Turnpike at the northeast end of the Saugatuck Reservoir. It is bounded on the west by Route 53, and on the east and north by private lands. This site contains 186 acres. At the southeastern portion of the tract, the land rises steeply from an elevation of 300 feet to a ledge rock summit at elevation 450 feet. Along the steep, southeast-facing slope, sugar maple is the dominant tree with other hardwoods sparsely scattered amongst the maples. Trees range in size from saplings to mature trees estimated to be in the 60-80 year age class. Toward the northern end of the parcel is a small perched wetland. Topography is extremely rugged and irregular. Ledge outcrops are common, and the land dips and rises with rocks exposed at the higher elevations. Due to the dense tree cover, no views are available from the high points. The most dramatic feature of the parcel is a gorge which trends in a southwesterly direction across the center of the site. A seasonal stream flows through the gorge.

Saugatuck South 22: SS22 is a fairly long and narrow 29 acre tract situated between Tudor Road and Route 53. Toward its southerly end, American beech, red oak, white oak, red maple, and black birch form a stand of mixed hardwoods which currently overtop scattered hemlocks. The hemlocks are approximately 30-feet tall; the hardwoods, about 70-feet. In the north, the site has been densely planted with white pine.

Saugatuck South 23: SS23 is a 5 acre parcel located southwest of the juncture of Dayton Road and Tudor Lane. It contains fairly even-aged, second-growth woods. Red Maple is the dominant species, and the understory of spicebush and other shrubs is sparse. Several intermittent streams traverse the parcel, which abuts Redding Land Trust property.

Saugatuck South 24: SS24 runs between Newtown Turnpike and the northeast rim of the Saugatuck Reservoir. It is a relatively small parcel of 20 acres. Northwest, the parcel is fairly rugged with several rock ledges. Hemlock is dominant. There is an absence of shrubs and herbaceous species except for the strip of land adjacent to the road. East, the parcel has gentler topographic relief. Although hemlocks are still present, mixed hardwoods, including sugar maple, red oak, red maple, and white ash, overtop young hemlocks. In a few areas, Japanese barberry is found in the shrub layer. Although small, SS24 provides direct access to the Saugatuck Reservoir.

Saugatuck South 25: SS25 lies on the upper east side of the Saugatuck Reservoir, south of Newtown Turnpike and west of Greenbush Road. The topography of this 116-acre site is relatively uniform with moderate west-facing slopes that pitch toward the reservoir. North, Little River flows westward to the reservoir. Another stream occurs near the site's southern end. Toward the reservoir is an old field with overgrown apple trees, alder, grey-stemmed dogwood, and red maple. SS25 is crisscrossed with stone walls and appears to be actively managed by the Hydraulic Company for a variety of uses. The site's key feature, of course, is its extensive reservoir shorelines.

Saugatuck South 26: SS26 is located north of the Weston/Redding town line on the west side of Route 53. Only the northernmost portion, approximately 25-acres, of SS26 is located in Redding. The bulk of the property is in Weston adjacent to Devil's Den. The Redding portion is characterized by steep southeast-facing slopes, although the land immediately west of the highway is lowland. The parcel is dominated by mixed hardwoods over hemlocks. Tree species include beech, red oak, white oak, tulip popular, and red maple. Hemlocks are scattered among the hardwoods.

Saugatuck South 27: SS27 lies on the western shore of the Saugatuck Reservoir, east of Route 53 and north of the Weston/Redding town line. Most of the parcel is in Weston.

Saugatuck South 36: SS36, a 132-acre parcel, is located east of the Saugatuck Reservoir and north of the Redding-Easton town line. An unimproved water company road borders the northern end of the parcel. Topography is somewhat irregular with a low elevation of 300 feet near the reservoir and a high elevation of 550 feet along the site's western border. steep north-facing slopes are found along the inner roadway. Several types of forested stands occur on this parcel. There are mature mixed deciduous/coniferous strands with hemlock and sugar maple dominating. There are several small wetland areas near the town line. One is a small "bowl" wetland-a red maple/spicebush swamp- that is associated with a stream that flows westward toward the reservoir. To the west of the access road is a small ponded wetland.

The Aspetuck Watershed

Aspetuck 1: A1 is located in the northeast section of Redding and is accessed off the west side of Poverty Hollow Road. The parcel embraces 70 acres (a small portion lies in Newtown). To its west is the Town of Redding landfill and to the north and south is undeveloped private land. A1 is characterized by rugged, uneven topography, primarily upland with midslope and hilltop plant communities present. There is evidence that the parcel was logged. An old logging road ascends one slope and functions as a watercourse. On the ridgetops, trees are larger than those in the previously logged portions of the parcel.

Aspetuck 6: A6, a small parcel of 4 acres, is located on the east side of Hopewell Woods Road and is approximately 1,000 feet north of A9. Both parcels are a part of the same swamp system. Under a canopy of red maple are azaleas, spicebush, highbush blueberry, and sweet pepperbush.

Aspetuck 7: A7 is a 3 acre triangular piece located about 600 feet north of A6. A narrow watercourse flows adjacent to the road.

Aspetuck 8: Only 11 acres of A8 are situated in Redding; (the bulk of the parcel lies in Newtown). A8 is situated on the east side of Poverty Hollow Road just south of the point where that road crosses the Redding-Newtown town line. The portion of A8 in Redding embraces the Aspetuck River and its floodplain. the floodplain is fairly broad, flat wetland. Red maple is the dominant tree species.

Aspetuck 9: A9 is a 4-acre tract located on the east side of Hopewell Woods Road. It is best described as a red maple swamp with a spicebush understory. This parcel is part of a large wetland that parallels the east side of the road.

Aspetuck 14: A narrow accessway from Black Rock Turnpike leads into A14 situated on the west side of the highway south of Silversmith Road. A stream that is tributary to the Aspetuck river flows southward near the parcel's eastern edge. Moderately steep slopes trend toward the stream on both sides. These upland slopes are wooded with second growth mixed hardwoods. A band of wetlands is associated with the stream itself.

Aspetuck 17: A17 is located north of Stepney Road, running on toward the Easton-Redding town line. The 41-acre parcel is irregular in shape; there is a fairly sizable inholding on Stepney road. The eastern section of this site is characterized by rough and hilly terrain. In this area is a double stone wall that may mark the location of an old roadway or cart-path. The land is forested with mixed hardwoods, predominantly oaks. A few red cedars persist under the canopy of hardwoods, indicating that the land was once cleared for agricultural purposes. A likely scenario is that farming stopped, the cedars colonized on the abandoned fields, and were eventually overtopped by hardwood species. Near the western limits of the parcel are two wetland corridors. Red maples, tulip popular and spicebush are the dominant species within the wetlands.Both wetlands are best described as rocky drainage corridors. They cross under Stepney Road and enter the southerly portion of A17. This area is also wooded with second growth mixed hardwoods. The wetland corridors drain south into Lyons swamp. The site is adjacent to the Town of Redding's Ground Pine Sanctuary.

Aspetuck 18: A18 is a large holding of 193 acres. It is located in the southeast corner of Redding, south of Stepney Road between Sport Hill Road and the Easton-Redding line. Although there are some upland areas, much of the site is a large wooded swamp known as Lyon's swamp. This important water resource occupies the central and southwestern portions of the parcel. Two streams enter A18 and feed into Lyons swamp, one flowing from the north to south and one from east to west. At about the center of the parcel, the two watercourses join together, and the resulting stream then flows southwestward through the swamp, eventually crossing under Sport Hill Road. The swamp itself is a well-developed wooded swamp with good species diversity. Red maple is the dominant tree, although quite a few white pines grow in the wetland near Stepney Road. At the southern end of A18, the swamp broadens.

Aspetuck 19: A19, containing 51 acres, is located west of Sport Hill Road and north of the Redding-Easton line. Private lands lie to the north and west of the parcel, and there is an inholding along the east side. At the northern end of A19 is a low wetland area. South of the wetland is an upland knoll which has second-growth mixed hardwoods. A woods road leads into this area, and numerous stumps indicate that the area has been logged relatively recently. The topography is quite irregular and rock outcrops are numerous. West of the knoll, the land begins to slope westward toward a small valley. Intermittent streams and a wet drainage corridor form the valley floor. A stream from Lyons swamp enters the parcel south of the upland knoll and flows generally westward. Sections along the stream are quite scenic. It has a well-defined channel and fast water in some sections. Large rock slabs are in the streambed. This stream is joined by another watercourse that flows northwesterly across A19. The woods surrounding the two streams at the point of convergence are relatively mature mixed hardwoods.

Aspetuck 20: A20, a 108 acre tract, runs along the east side of Valley Road from the Redding-Easton line to Stepney Road. The Aspetuck River flows through much of the length of this parcel, crosses Valley Road and enter A22. Topography is mostly flat although there are moderate west facing slopes along the eastern boundary. Because of the gentle terrain, the river flows sluggishly through this parcel, and most of the property is a red maple swamp associated with the Aspetuck River. There are signs of beaver activity along the east central portion of the wetland. At the northeast corner of the parcel, a tributary stream flows southwestward and joins the Aspetuck River. The terrain is rocky, and red maples and hemlocks are the dominant tree species in this area.

Aspetuck 21: A21 is situated east of Hubbell Road and north of the Redding-Easton line. The northern end of this 10 acre parcel has moderate southwest facing slopes on which plantation pines are growing. At the lower elevations in the central and southerly portions of the property is a red maple swamp.

Aspetuck 22: A22 is one of the largest contiguous places of BHC land in Redding. It totals 207 acres and lies to the west of Valley Road. The Redding portion of the parcel runs from the Easton line north to the junction of Valley Road and Stepney Road. The southern end of the parcel covers the area between Pine Tree and Valley Roads. The Aspetuck flows through the southeast section of the property, and two tributary streams flow through the western section.

Aspetuck 23: A23 comprises 21 acres and is situated southeast of the junction of Goodridge and Valley roads. The terrain is rocky and irregular. At the southern end of the parcel is a small pocket wetland situated at the base of the slope. The site's main feature is the Aspetuck River, which flows under Valley road into the southwestern corner of A23. The river is fast flowing in this stretch and bubbles along over large boulders.

Aspetuck 24: A24 is located north of Meeker Hill Road on the west side of Valley Road. Its 11 acres are characterized by rough and irregular topography. Immediately north of and parallel to Meeker Hill Road is a small pond and wetland area fed by a narrow watercourse. A24 also includes a small ponded area to the east of Valley Road and north of Goodridge Road. The "pond" is actually the Aspetuck River, which is impounded at this location.

Aspetuck 25: A25 is situated in the southwest corner of the junction of Valley, Meeker Hill, and Goodridge Roads. It is 22 acres in size, and is a steep and rocky tract of land. The outstanding features of this parcel are the rocky gorge and falls of the Aspetuck River. The site is forested almost entirely with mature hemlocks of an older age class than the hemlocks on adjacent parcels.

Aspetuck 27: A27, a 7-acre parcel, is situated on the north side of Meeker Hill Road west of its junction with Turney Road, is primarily a wetland surrounding a small, south flowing stream.

Aspetuck 28: A28 is located in the southwest corner of the junction of Meeker Hill Road and Turney road. It is a small parcel totaling 3 acres, mostly wetlands associated with a narrow stream. From A28, the stream flows through private property, then through A29, and eventually reaches the Aspetuck River. White ash and red maple are the dominant trees. At the point where the stream enters the parcel from Meeker Hill Road, a small pond has been excavated.

Aspetuck 29: A29 is situated on the west side of Turney Road, with approximately 400 feet of road frontage. From Turney Road, the parcel slopes downhill to the west. At the toe of the slope is a stream which flows diffusely through a wetland on its way to the Aspetuck River.

Aspetuck 30: A30, a 14 acre parcel, is situated on the west side of Pine Tree Road adjacent to the Easton-Redding line. This parcel is not entirely contained within Redding. The Redding portion has a steep east-facing slope which is entirely wooded except for a small clearing adjacent to Pine Tree Road. A perennial stream flows into this parcel from A22. A small wetland is associated with the stream. The wetland is dominated by red maple, American elm, and spicebush. The stream itself empties into Livermore Pond in Easton, which eventually drains to the Aspetuck River.

Aspetuck 37: A37 is located on the west side of Black Rock Turnpike between Giles Hill and the Redding-Easton Line. The parcel totals 165 acres in size and has frontage along Giles Hill Road and Black Rock Turnpike near the town line. A clean, cobbly brook flows southward through the length of this parcel. The brook originates somewhere north of A14 and after entering Easton, eventually joins the Aspetuck River. At the north end of A37, on the east side of the brook, is a wetland with scattered red maples at the canopy level. At the west side of the brook is a mixed hardwood community which extends to the western property boundary. At approximate center of the parcel, the stream flows sluggishly, and a broad wetland surrounds it. The wetland has sapling red maples at its edges but is otherwise herbaceous.

Aspetuck 38: A38, an 8 acre tract, is located on the north side of Giles Hill Road approximately 500 feet west of Black Rock Turnpike. Most of this parcel is a wooded swamp which surrounds the south flowing brook.

BHC is now owned by Aquarion. View their web site.

BHC flooded the Saugatuck River Valley in the 1930's to create the Saugatuck Reservoir. The full history is told in a very well written book by James Lomuscio, entitled Village of the Damned: the fight for open space & the flooding of a Connecticut town.

Click below to continue on reading about the landscape:

Bodies of Water

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