Watertown Land Trust

The Osuch Farm Land Purchase

Osuch Farm Land Purchase ! An exciting opportunity for our community..........

Is now a reality  and we want to thank everone for your help & support!

The Campaign to Preserve Farmland along the Nonnewaug River

 With all of your help we now have saved 41 acres of the old Skilton Farm in Watertown and Bethlehem.  Currently used for growing hay and corn by descendants of Mary Osuch, this scenic land was threatened by development.  The property includes a 1/2 mile of the Nonnewaug River, which flows down to recharge the Hart Wells, a source of drinking water for residents of Watertown’s Fire District.  If this land was developed, one of the last remaining unspoiled rural landscapes in our area will be destroyed.


We intend to lease the cornfield back to the farmers who have worked the land for more than 40 years, thus helping to preserve a local dairy farm.  We also hope to create a nature reserve for the public to enjoy along the river.  Saving this property will thus preserve one of Watertown’s oldest farmlands, protect water quality, and provide a passive recreational area for the public.



The River

 Near Skilton Road a steep ravine “worn away by the Nonnewaug River as it rushed along to the sea for centuries,” offers a breathtaking view.  At this location the river water is class A, suitable for the drinking water supply as well as other uses where water character is uniformly excellent.


 In October 2005, representatives from the state Department of Environmental Protection found the river capable of supporting brook trout and dace.  A study done by the King’s Mark Environmental Review Team in 2001 states, “Most of the Nonnewaug River drainage offers good riparian buffer,” offering homes to small mammals, birds, and amphibians.  


If the Land Trust succeeds in procuring additional  pledges and grants  for  the Osuch parcel, we intend to create a trail along the river to a picnic area where the land levels off.


Historic Significance


The area is rich in local history. According to Cothren’s History of Ancient Woodbury (1854), this region provided Native Americans excellent hunting, fishing, and gathering of plants. In the late 18th century a turnpike from Litchfield to Milford passed through the property.  Remains of the old bridge abutment for the stagecoach road are still visible along the river.  At the northeastern boundary of the property, headwaters of the Nonnewaug River flow beneath the old Skilton Road Bridge, a stone arch structure built entirely without mortar in the 1860s and now on the National Historic Register.  Repaired by the town in 1985, the bridge now can be viewed only from below, due to Jersey barriers along the road. Nearby are two outstanding 18th and early 19th century houses, placed on the state historical places register in 1966.  In the late 1800s Cleveland’s mill was located near a dam on the river a short distance from the bridge.


Our Goal


Our goal is to continue the agricultural use of the Osuch property as well as to preserve the water quality of the Nonnewaug River in order to safeguard Watertown’s drinking water supply, protect wildlife habitat, and provide opportunities for passive recreation.  The farmland will be protected by a conservation easement and will be owned and managed by the Watertown Land Trust.







To help us develop trails and maintain this property, please send your tax deductible donation to:
The Watertown Land Trust
P.O. Box 382
Watertown, CT 06795