Housatonic Railroad to remove dead trees

CORNWALL — Trees that likely died as a result of herbicide spraying along the railroad track are due to be taken down by the Housatonic Railroad Company (HRRC) this spring.

The Board of Selectmen reviewed the proposal submitted by HRRC at its regular meeting Tuesday, April 2. The work is expected to remain within the railroad’s right of way.

“Along River Road is the primary area,” said First Selectman Gordon Ridgway. “They’ve got some big trees to take down.”

Herbicide has not been confirmed as the cause of death for these trees, but it is suspected. Concerned citizens and representatives have lobbied state officials to revise the herbicide laws in Connecticut to prevent further impact to vegetation along the track.

State Rep. Maria Horn (D-64) and State Sen. Stephen Harding (R-30) both sit on the Environment Committee. Both met with HRRC on March 26 to discuss adopting the regulations in place in Massachusetts.

Tree Warden Bruce Bennett added that he has been invited to a meeting with HRRC April 15. Bennett is a member of the Housatonic Herbicide Working Group, a coalition of concerned citizens representing the towns through which the railroad runs.

“We’ve been wanting them to adopt the Massachusetts regulations, which are much more strict that Connecticut,” said Bennett. “Finally we’ve gotten through and they are actually going to sit down and speak with us.”

Road sealing

BOS reviewed plans to reseal town roads this spring. Ridgway reported that 11 miles of road have been identified to start. Seymour Sealing was selected to complete the work. Funding for the job will need to be approved at the April 19 Town Meeting.

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