This page is a work in progress. Many Thanks to Audubon Connecticut sharing this information.

NRWA, Inc. is looking for candidates for Eagle Scout for a project of compiling a list of wildlife
species in the Naugatuck River Watershed.

Buzz Devine
18 South St.
Plymouth, CT

Dear Naugatuck State Forest Stakeholder,

In December of 2004, the Naugatuck State Forest (West & East Blocks) was recognized by Audubon Connecticut as one of Connecticut's 26 Important Bird Areas (IBA) for its high quality shrubland and forest habitat that provides prime breeding areas for State-listed and Audubon WatchList (species of conservation concern) species and stopover habitat for migrating landbirds. The IBA program is a global effort to identify the sites that are most important to birds. A key component of the program is to work with property owners and other partners to conserve the sites, focusing on the factors that make each one important.

Audubon Connecticut has received funding to work with the State of Connecticut and the Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society and other interested parties to develop conservation strategies for the Naugatuck State Forest. These strategies will be summarized in an IBA conservation plan that is currently being developed for the forest. An important part of the conservation planning process is to engage stakeholders (agencies, organizations, and individuals) in the development of the plan. We have identified you or your organization as a potential interested party.

Attached please find a questionnaire and information regarding the Naugatuck State Forest IBA. We would appreciate your written comments for inclusion in the conservation plan and in order to address any questions, concerns, or suggestions you may have.

Thank you very much for your participation in this exciting project. We look forward to working with you on the development and implementation of this plan.


Buzz Devine, Conservation Plan Consultant

Important Bird Area Conservation Plan: Naugatuck State Forest (West & East Blocks), Beacon Falls, Bethany, Naugatuck, and Oxford, CT.
Information Survey
Naugatuck State Forest (West & East Blocks) is a 3,436-acre multi-use state owned forest managed by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and located along the Naugatuck River in Beacon Falls, Bethany, Naugatuck, and Oxford. Naugatuck State Forest was recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by Audubon Connecticut in 2004 for its high quality shrubland and forest that provide habitat for state-listed and Audubon WatchList species, and serve as stopover habitat for migrating landbirds. Identifying the forest as an IBA makes it part of a global network of sites that have been recognized for their importance to birds.

As part of the IBA program, a Conservation Plan is being developed for the forest. The purpose of the Conservation Plan is to document the existing attributes and needs of the Naugatuck State Forest and to outline a plan for the management and conservation of this important and unique resource. We would appreciate participation from individuals and groups who have particular knowledge of the forest and who would like to contribute to the development of this plan. Please respond to the following questions by mail (address above), email: NaugyIBA@comcast.net or call Buzz Devine at 860-283-0744.

Your Name and Address:

Phone: ______________________
Email: ______________________

1. Describe your or your organization’s interest in Naugatuck State Forest:

2. What important educational or recreational resources exist at the forest?

3. Which features of the forest do you feel are the most important for bird conservation?

4. Do you know of any current or potential threat that could threaten these resources?

5. In your opinion, what are the key issues that should be addressed in the Conservation Plan?

6. Are there any improvements you would suggest for the forest?

7. Would you or your organization be willing to participate (directly or indirectly) in conservation planning for the forest, and in what capacity?

8. Would you or your organization be interested in helping with monitoring or surveying efforts at the forest?

9. Beside the groups/individuals noted on the attached distribution list, are you aware of any other groups/individuals that would be interested in the conservation activities at the forest?

Other comments:

Attachment 2: IBA Information Sheet for Naugatuck State Forest

Naugatuck State Forest (main block only) ~3,542 Acres 73? 3’ W
Beacon Falls, Bethany, New Haven County 41? 27’ N
Status: Recognized IBA.
Ownership: State of Connecticut.
Habitats: Primary – Mix of habitats. Secondary – Conifer forest, deciduous forest, shrub,
swamp, river/stream, pond/lake.
Land Use: Primary – Forestry, nature and wildlife conservation, hunting/fishing, undeveloped, other recreation or tourism. Secondary – Water supply, horseback riding, rifle range.
Threats: Serious – Habitat conversion (invasive plants and succession).
Site Description: Naugatuck State Forest is comprised of mixed hardwoods, pine plantations, laurel thickets, swampy areas, streams, and a hemlock ravine. Particularly important to birds are the early successional habitats from grasslands to shrubland to young forest. The park is enjoyed by picnickers and hikers, and Larkin Bridle Trail is popular with equestrians. Spruce Brook Ravine has long been regarded as one of the state’s most beautiful sites. The waterfalls here are spectacular, especially in the winter when the ice falls and ledges form. In addition to the numerous hiking trails, a portion of the forest has been sanctioned by the state as a rifle range.

IBA Criteria: Connecticut Endangered and Threatened species; High Conservation Priority
Species; Rare, Unique or Representative Habitat; Long-term Research and/or Monitoring.

Birds: Naugatuck State Forest is a wild and undeveloped area between three developing towns. Due to the diversity of habitats, it is an area that is capable of supporting many species of birds. During spring migration, roughly 25 species of Warblers can be spotted, including those of high conservation priority: Blue-winged, Worm-eating and Canada; as well as Olive-sided Flycatchers. Hemlock Ravine and its cooler climate serve as a nesting habitat for Louisiana Waterthrush, another species of high conservation priority. From late April to August, Whip-poor-wills are rather common. Blue-winged Warblers are fairly common nesters and the early successional habitats support significant populations of other species dependent on this habitat type, including American Woodcock. The site is possibly used as a migratory corridor for Common Nighthawks, which can be plentiful on overcast evenings from mid-August to mid-September. Because the early successional habitat is changing back into woodland, the once common Brown Thrasher is now declining. Certain areas of the forest serve as critical stopover habitat during the fall migration.
Non-avian Resources: In addition to being an important wildlife habitat, Naugatuck State Forest also functions as a site for forestry, shooting sports (in the rifle range), horseback riding and hiking. Hunting is permitted throughout the forest, which is important to control the size of the deer herd, thereby reducing the impact of deer on the forest and early successional habitats of the forest. High Rock Grove was an important tourist attraction in the late 1800’s, when the site was called High Rock Park, and is still frequented today. In late summer, a variety of butterfly species can be found in the brushy fields of the park.
Existing Conservation Measures: The DEP Forestry Division's land management practices ensure a wide variety of habitats within the forest, thereby allowing the persistence of the early successional habitats. Deer hunting is allowed throughout the forest, helping to control the size of the deer herd.
Nominator: Edward Jurzynski, Naugatuck Valley Audubon.

State-listed Species:

Species Breeding Winter Migration Dates
Whip-poor-will, SC Yes - Yes To 2007
Common Raven, SC
Yes Yes Yes To 2007
Long-eared Owl, E
  Yes Yes To 2007
Saw-whet Owl, SC   Yes Yes To 2007
Brown Thrasher, SC
Yes Yes Yes To 2007
Yes   Yes 2006 -2007


Attachment 4: Distribution List

1. Audubon Connecticut
2. The Borough of Naugatuck
3. Boy Scouts of America - Housatonic Council
4. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
5. Connecticut Audubon Society
6. Connecticut DEP – Forestry Division
7. Connecticut DEP – Wildlife Division
8. Connecticut Ornithological Association
9. CT Professional Timber Producers Association
10. CT Sportsman Alliance
11. High Rock Shooting Association
12. New Haven Bird Club
13. Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society
14. Naugatuck Valley Watershed Association
15. The Town of Beacon Falls
16. The Town of Bethany
17. The Town of Oxford
18. Western Connecticut Bird Club
19. Mr. Roy Harvey
20. Mr. Greg Hanisek
21. Mr. Bruce Finnan
22. Mr. Mark Szantyr