August 29, 2016

CT Port Authority Chair Tells Lower CT River Local Officials, “We’re All on One Team”

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River but still deep in discussion are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) Board Member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River, but still finding time for discussions, are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) board member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

There was an overarching message both throughout the Connecticut Port Authority’s (CPA) meeting in Old Lyme’s Town Hall Thursday afternoon and during a subsequent boat ride on the MV ‘Victoria’ for members and local officials on the Connecticut River.  It was, in the words of CPA Chairman Scott Bates, that, “We’re absolutely committed to river communities.”

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town's needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town’s needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

In addition, while sailing from Essex down to Old Saybrook and then back up to Hamburg Cove on a perfect afternoon, Bates stressed, “Part of our mission is protecting these beautiful waters … and the quality of life we have here while preserving access to the river.”

View of the Connecticut River from the "Victoria."

View of the Connecticut River from the “Victoria.”

Bates noted that to have “five local officials (Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald Jr., Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, all of whom were on board, and Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, who was unable to join the trip) “involved” was a really positive sign in terms of  “building a coalition.”  This, Bates explained, was key to the development of a strategic plan for the CPA—something the Authority has been charged with preparing with a deadline of Jan. 1, 2017.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

The  CPA is a relatively new quasi-public agency created in 2014 with board appointments made in 2016.  Bates said the agency was responsible for 35 coastal communities and with this trip, he would now personally have visited 28 of them. Since the CPA has not created a strategic plan previously, Bates said he is determined, “to include everyone,” in the process, adding that he regards part of the Authority’s mission to be “getting small town and big cities together.” and, in turn, “to make great things happen for our state.”

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the 'Victoria.'

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the ‘Victoria.’

Apart from Bates and the four local First Selectmen and Selectwomen, also on board were Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG) Executive Director Sam Gold, River COG Deputy Director and Principal Planner J.H. Torrance Downes, CPA Board of Directors member John Johnson and Joe Salvatore from the CPA.  Reemsnyder is also a board member of the CPA.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder and Johnson.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder, Bates and Johnson.

At the earlier meeting in Old Lyme, Downes had given a presentation to CPA members to introduce them to the Lower Connecticut River during which he had described the geography of the estuary, noting it had, “very little industry and very little commercial development.”  He described it as a “really prime area for bird migration” and highlighted numerous points of scenic beauty.

J.H. Torrance Downe, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

J.H. Torrance Downes, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

Bates noted one of the CPA’s responsibilities is to pursue state and federal funds for dredging and, while sailing under the Baldwin Bridge towards the Connecticut River’s mouth where several tributaries join the main river, Reemsnyder commented that Old Lyme had been a beneficiary of a $1.6 million state grant for dredging two of those tributaries — the Black Hall and Four Mile Rivers.  She noted that it had been a successful exercise thanks in part to Salvatore, who had, “held our hand through the whole project.”

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the 'Victoria.'

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the ‘Victoria.’ Joe Salvatore stands at rear.

Johnson, whose life and business career according to the CPA website, have “a common underlying element: the coastal waters,” also confirmed the benefits of a dredging program, saying, “There is a need for depth of water — both elements, marine and maritime, need depth of water.”  Still on the dredging issue, Bates said he had met separately with Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna and told him that he could have “whatever he needs to keep the mouth of the Connecticut River open.”

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

Reemsnyder took a minute to commend Bates for his leadership of the CPA, saying, “Scott has given focus to coastal communities,”  while Johnson added, “We are blessed with our new chairman.”

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

Glancing around at the numerous boats docked both in marinas and on the river itself,  Reemsnyder remarked, “Add up the money in these boats … [they represent] lots of economic drivers.”  On the same theme, Bates noted that the state is marketing its ports for the first time using “national expertise” in some cases with the aim of moving “more people and goods in and out of Connecticut.”  He added, “We have some great assets [in terms of ports in the state] but we could do more.”

Eyes on the Cove -- guests on the 'Victoria' gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

Eyes on the Cove — guests on the ‘Victoria’ gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

As the “Victoria’ pulled gently back into dock at Essex Yacht Club, Bates summarized the benefits of the boat trip saying that by spending time with these local leaders, he had been able to “see their waterfronts, assess their needs,“ and gain an “appreciation of the vitality of the Lower Connecticut River basin,” emphasizing one more time, “This is really about pulling together as a state … we’re all on one team.”

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House Approves Courtney-Sponsored Amendment Restricting Sale of Plum Island

Representative Joe Courtney

Representative Joe Courtney

Local Congressional Representative Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced Thursday (July 7) that a bipartisan amendment he had led, along with Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and Peter King (R-NY), to prohibit the sale of Plum Island was passed by the House of Representatives.

The amendment, which will prohibit the General Services Administration (GSA) from using any of its operational funding to process or complete a sale of Plum Island, was made to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2017..

In a joint statement, the Representatives said, “Our amendment passed today is a big step toward permanently protecting Plum Island as a natural area. Plum Island is a scenic and biological treasure located right in the middle of Long Island Sound. It is home to a rich assortment of rare plant and animal species that need to be walled off from human interference.”

The statement continued, “Nearly everyone involved in this issue agrees that it should be preserved as a natural sanctuary – not sold off to the highest bidder for development.”  Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump had shown interest in the property at one time.

plum_is_01a

In 2008, the federal government announced plans to close the research facility on Plum Island and relocate to Manhattan, Kansas. Current law states that Plum Island must be sold publicly to help finance the new research facility.

Aerial view of Plum Island.

Aerial view of Plum Island.

The lawmakers  joint statement explained, “The amendment will prevent the federal agency in charge of the island from moving forward with a sale by prohibiting it from using any of its operational funding provided by Congress for that purpose,” concluding, ” This will not be the end of the fight to preserve Plum Island, but this will provide us with more time to find a permanent solution for protecting the Island for generations to come.”

For several years, members from both sides of Long Island Sound have been working in a bipartisan manner to delay and, ultimately, repeal the mandated sale of this ecological treasure. Earlier this year, the representatives, along with the whole Connecticut delegation, cosponsored legislation that passed the House unanimously to delay the sale of Plum Island.

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July 1 Update: Aquatic Treatment Planned for Rogers Lake, July 5

We received this updated information from the Old Lyme Selectman’s office at 11:05 a.m. this morning:

In accordance with the Connecticut DEEP, Pesticide Division notification requirements, Rogers Lake in Old Lyme & Lyme will be chemically treated on Tuesday, July 5, with the USEPA/CT DEEP registered aquatic herbicide Clipper (flumioxazin) to control the non-native aquatic plants fanwort and variable watermilfoil.

The designated treatment areas will be closed to swimming on the day of treatment as an extra precaution.

Warning posters depicting the treatment areas and the associated water use restrictions will be posted at points of access around the lake.  Additionally, use of the lake water for irrigation purposes will be restricted for a period of five days or until July 11, following treatment.

The work is being performed under contract to the Towns of Old Lyme & Lyme, CT pursuant to a permit issued by the CT DEEP (Permit # AQUA-2016-352). Information regarding this treatment may be obtained from the state licensed firm SOLitude Lake Management. Contact: Keith Gazaille, Regional Director (508) 865-1000

Funding provided by the Aquatic Invasive Species Management Grant and Prevention and Education Program administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

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They’re Everywhere! All About Gypsy Moth Caterpillars — Advice from CT Agricultural Experiment Station

Gypsy moth caterpillar

Gypsy moth caterpillars – photo by Peter Trenchard, CAES.

The potential for gypsy moth outbreak exists every year in our community.

Dr. Kirby Stafford III, head of the Department of Entomology at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, has written a fact sheet on the gypsy moth available on the CAES website. The following information is from this fact sheet.

The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, was introduced into the US (Massachusetts) by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot in about 1860. The escaped larvae led to small outbreaks in the area in 1882, increasing rapidly. It was first detected in Connecticut in 1905. By 1952, it had spread to 169 towns. In 1981, 1.5 million acres were defoliated in Connecticut. During the outbreak of 1989, CAES scientists discovered that an entomopathogenic fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga, was killing the caterpillars. Since then the fungus has been the most important agent suppressing gypsy moth activity.

The fungus, however, cannot prevent all outbreaks and hotspots have been reported in some areas, in 2005-06 and again in 2015.

The life cycle of the gypsy moth is one generation a year. Caterpillars hatch from buff-colored egg masses in late April to early May. An egg mass may contain 100 to more than 1000 eggs and are laid in several layers. The caterpillars (larvae) hatch a few days later and ascend the host trees and begin to feed on new leaves. The young caterpillars, buff to black-colored, lay down silk safety lines as they crawl and, as they drop from branches on these threads, they may be picked up on the wind and spread.

There are four or five larval stages (instars) each lasting 4-10 days. Instars 1-3 remain in the trees. The fourth instar caterpillars, with distinctive double rows of blue and red spots, crawl up and down the tree trunks feeding mainly at night. They seek cool, shaded protective sites during the day, often on the ground. If the outbreak is dense, caterpillars may feed continuously and crawl at any time.

With the feeding completed late June to early July, caterpillars seek a protected place to pupate and transform into a moth in about 10-14 days. Male moths are brown and fly. Female moths are white and cannot fly despite having wings. They do not feed and live for only 6-10 days. After mating, the female will lay a single egg mass and die. The egg masses can be laid anywhere: trees, fence posts, brick/rock walls, outdoor furniture, cars, recreational vehicles, firewood. The egg masses are hard. The eggs will survive the winter and larvae hatch the following spring during late April through early May.

The impact of the gypsy moth can be extensive since the caterpillar will feed on a wide diversity of trees and shrubs. Oak trees are their preferred food. Other favored tree species include apple, birch, poplar and willow. If the infestation is heavy, they will also attack certain conifers and other less favored species. The feeding causes extensive defoliation.

Healthy trees can generally withstand one or two partial to one complete defoliation. Trees will regrow leaves before the end of the summer. Nonetheless, there can be die-back of branches. Older trees may become more vulnerable to stress after defoliation. Weakened trees can also be attacked by other organisms or lack energy reserves for winter dormancy and growth during the following spring. Three years of heavy defoliation may result in high oak mortality.

The gypsy moth caterpillars drop leaf fragments and frass (droppings) while feeding creating a mess for decks, patios, outdoor furniture, cars and driveways. Crawling caterpillars can be a nuisance and their hairs irritating. The egg masses can be transported by vehicles to areas where the moth is not yet established. Under state quarantine laws, the CAES inspects certain plant shipments destined to areas free of the gypsy moth, particularly for egg masses.

There are several ways to manage the gypsy moth: biological, physical and chemical.

Biologically, the major gypsy moth control agent has been the fungus E. maimaiga. This fungus can provide complete control of the gypsy moth but is dependent on early season moisture from rains in May and June to achieve effective infection rates and propagation of the fungus to other caterpillars. The dry spring of 2015 resulted in little or no apparent fungal inoculation or spread until it killed late-stage caterpillars in some areas of the state, after most defoliation.

Infected caterpillars hang vertically from the tree trunk, head down. Some die in an upside down “V” position, a characteristic of caterpillars killed by the less common gypsy moth nucleopolyhedrosis virus (NPV). This was not detected in caterpillars examined in 2015.

Physical controls include removing and destroying egg masses, which can be drowned in a soapy water and disposed of. Another method is to use burlap refuge/barrier bands wrapped around tree trunks so that migrating caterpillars will crawl into or under the folded burlap or be trapped by the sticky band.

There are a number of crop protection chemicals labeled for the control of gypsy moth on ornamental trees and shrubs. There are treatments for egg masses, larvae and adult moths. Detailed information about these chemical treatments is available in the CAES factsheet.

For complete information about the gypsy moth and its management, visit the CAES website and look for the fact sheet on gypsy moth.

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East Lyme Public Trust Invites Community to Celebrate Boardwalk Re-dedication

View_along_boardwalkOn Saturday, May 28, at 11 a.m., the East Lyme Public Trust Foundation, in co-operation with East Lyme Parks and Recreation Department, will sponsor A Dream Fulfilled, the official re-dedication of the East Lyme Boardwalk.  The re-dedication ceremony, which will be held on the Boardwalk, will feature keynote speaker, Sen. Paul Formica, former First Selectman of East Lyme.

Other speakers will include East Lyme First Selectman Mark Nickerson, Public Trust President Joe Legg, Public Trust Past-President Bob DeSanto, Public Trust Vice-President John Hoye, and Parks and Recreation Director Dave Putnam; all the speakers will recognize the many people who have helped made this dream a reality.

The East Lyme Public Trust Foundation would like to invite the general public to witness this historic occasion.  In addition, the members would especially like to encourage the participation of the 200 people who dedicated benches and the innumerable people who sponsored plaques.

They would also love to welcome all members of the Trust – past and present – and all those who originally helped make the Boardwalk a reality.

Participants should enter the Boardwalk at Hole-in-the Wall on Baptist Lane, Niantic.  Then, there will be a short walk to the area of the monument where the ceremony will take place.  At the entrance to Hole-in-the Wall, the Public Trust will have a display of historical information and memorabilia related to the construction and re-construction of the Boardwalk.  Public Trust members, Pat and Jack Lewis will be on hand to host the exhibit titled Before and After and to welcome participants.

After the ceremony, participants will have the opportunity to visit “their bench” and re-visit “their plaque.”  During and after the dedication, music will be provided by Trust member, Bill Rinoski, who is a “D.J. for all occasions.”  Rinoski will feature “Boardwalk-related” music and Oldies plus Top 40 selections.  This historic occasion will be videotaped as a public service by Mike Rydene of Media Potions of East Lyme.  High school volunteers will be on hand to greet participants and help with directions.

The organizing committee is chaired by Michelle Maitland.  Her committee consists of Joe Legg, President of the East Lyme Public Trust, Carol Marelli, Bob and Polly DeSanto, June Hoye, and Kathie Cassidy.

Visit Facebook – East Lyme Public Trust Foundation – for more information on the re-dedication ceremony. 

For more information on the Boardwalk, explore this website.

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Lyme Land Trust Seeks to Preserve Whalebone Cove Headwaters

Lyme Land Trust Preservation Chairman Anthony Irving, kneeling, and Vice President Don Gerber next to Whalebone Creek in the proposed Hawthorne Preserve in Hadlyme.

Lyme Land Trust Preservation Vice President Don Gerber stands with Chairman Anthony Irving (kneeling) next to Whalebone Creek in the proposed Hawthorne Preserve in Hadlyme.

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust has announced a fund raising drive to protect 82 acres of ecologically strategic upland forest and swamp wildlife habitat in Hadlyme on the headwaters of Whalebone Cove, one of the freshwater tidal wetlands that comprises the internationally celebrated Connecticut River estuary complex.

The new proposed preserve is part of a forested landscape just south of Hadlyme Four Corners and Ferry Road (Rt. 148), and forms a large part of the watershed for Whalebone Creek, a key tributary feeding Whalebone Cove, most of which is a national wildlife refuge under the management of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The Land Trust said it hopes to name the new nature refuge in honor of William Hawthorne of Hadlyme, whose family has owned the property for several generations and who has agreed to sell the property to the Land Trust at a discount from its market value if the rest of the money necessary for the purchase can be raised by the Land Trust.

“This new wildlife preserve will represent a triple play for habitat conservation,” said Anthony Irving, chairman of the Land Trust’s Preservation Committee.

“First, it helps to protect the watershed feeding the fragile Whalebone Cove eco-system, which is listed as one of North America’s important freshwater tidal marshes in international treaties that cite the Connecticut River estuary as a wetland complex of global importance. Whalebone Creek, one of the primary streams feeding Whalebone Cove, originates from vernal pools and upland swamps just south of the Hawthorne tract on the Land Trust’s Ravine Trail Preserve and adjacent conservation easements and flows through the proposed preserve. Virtually all of the Hawthorne property comprises much of the watershed for Whalebone Creek.

“Second, the 82 acres we are hoping to acquire with this fund raising effort represents a large block of wetlands and forested wildlife habitat between Brush Hill and Joshuatown roads, which in itself is home to a kaleidoscope of animals from amphibians and reptiles that thrive in several vernal pools and swamp land, to turkey, coyote, bobcat and fisher.  It also serves as seasonal nesting and migratory stops for several species of deep woods birds, which are losing habitat all over Connecticut due to forest fragmentation.

“Third, this particular preserve will also conserve a key link in the wildlife corridors that connects more than 1,000 acres of protected woodland and swamp habitat in the Hadlyme area.” Irving explained that the preserve is at the center of a landscape-scale wildlife habitat greenway that includes Selden Island State Park, property of the US Fish & Wild Life’s Silvio O Conte Wildlife Refuge, The Nature Conservancy’s Selden Preserve, and several other properties protected by the Lyme Land Conservation Trust.

Map showing the location of the proposed Hawthorne Preserve.

“Because of its central location as a hub between these protected habitat refuges,” said Irving, “this preserve will protect forever the uninterrupted access that wildlife throughout the Hadlyme landscape now has for migration and breeding between otherwise isolated communities and families of many terrestrial species that are important to the continued robust bio-diversity of southeastern Connecticut and the Connecticut River estuary.”

Irving noted that the Hawthorne property is the largest parcel targeted for conservation in the Whalebone Cove watershed by the recently developed US Fish & Wildlife Service Silvio O Conte Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan.

Irving said the Land Trust hopes to create a network of hiking trails on the property with access from both Brush Hill Road on the east and Joshuatown Road on the west and connection to the Land Trust’s Ravine Trail to the south and the network of trails on the Nature Conservancy’s Selden Preserve.

Irving said there is strong support for the Land Trust’s proposal to preserve the property both within the Hadlyme and Lyme communities and among regional and state conservation groups. 

He noted letters of support have come from the Hadlyme Garden Club, the Hadlyme Public Hall Association, the Lyme Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Agency, the Lyme Planning and Zoning Commission, the Lyme Open Space Committee, the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, the Lyme Garden Club, the Lyme Public Hall, The Nature Conservancy, The Silvio O Conte Refuge, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, and the Friends of Whalebone Cove, Inc.

He reported that between Hawthorne’s gift and several other pledges the Land Trust has already received commitments of 25 percent of the cost of the property.

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Old Lyme Tree Commission Celebrates Arbor Day

Members of the three groups gather around the new oak tree. From left to right are Kathy Burton, Joanne DiCamillo, Joan Flynn. Anne Bing, Emily Griswold and Barbara Rayel.

Members of the three groups gather around the new oak tree. From left to right are Kathy Burton, Joanne DiCamillo, Joan Flynn. Anne Bing, Emily Griswold and Barbara Rayel.

“One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade” – Chinese proverb

The Old Lyme Tree Commission is pleased to announce the partnership of three community groups who combined their energy and experience to organize and implement the planting of five new trees in town to celebrate Arbor Day and to enhance the landscapes at Town Woods Park and Lyme Street.

Offloading a tree.

Offloading a tree.

Two red maple trees and one copper beech tree were planted behind the playground at Town Woods Park with a goal of providing some much needed shade to the area as they mature. The Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club ‘Love Your Playground’ Project provided the funding for the trees.

From left to right, Emily Griswold, Joanne DiCamillo and Barbara Rayel shovel soil around the beech tree.

From left to right, Emily Griswold, Joanne DiCamillo and Barbara Rayel shovel soil around the beech tree.

The Duck River Garden Club participated in The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut ‘Plant a Connecticut Native Oak’ project. The oak is our state and national tree and one of the finest for sustaining wildlife. The oak tree is located behind the concession building where it will grow into a large, stately specimen. In addition, a new columnar maple tree was planted in front of Town Hall by the Old Lyme Tree Commission.

River End Nursery crew plants a maple at Old Lyme Town Hall.

River End Nursery crew plants a maple at Old Lyme Town Hall.

After two disappointing postponements due to cold and rain, Mother Nature provided a beautiful, cool, sunny morning last week, perfect for tree planting. There was excitement in the air when the carriers from Millane Nursery and Canterbury Nursery arrived at the park with the trees. River End Landscape was onsite to unload them, remove the shipping materials, prepare the holes and set them into the ground. After the last tree was planted in front of Town Hall, they staked and mulched all of the trees.

The Junior Women’s Club and the Garden Club have established a watering schedule at the park. The Tree Commission will water the tree at Town Hall.

It was wonderful to work together on a noteworthy project that brings beauty and longevity to the landscape. The Old Lyme Tree Commission encourages all community members to celebrate this Arbor Day. Plant a tree!

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Enjoy a Tour of Private Gardens in Essex, June 4

See this beautiful private garden in Essex on June 4.

See this beautiful private garden in Essex on June 4.

ESSEX – On Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., plan to stroll through eight of the loveliest and most unusual private gardens in Essex. Some are in the heart of Essex Village while others are hidden along lanes most visitors never see. While exploring, you will find both formal and informal settings, lovely sweeping lawns and panoramic views of the Connecticut River or its coves. One garden you will visit is considered to be a ‘laboratory’ for cultivation of native plants. Master Gardeners will be available to point out specific features, offer gardening tips, and answer questions.

The garden tour is sponsored by the Friends of the Essex Library. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the Essex Library the day of the event. Cash, checks, Visa or Master Card will be accepted. Tickets can be reserved by visiting the library or by completing the form included in flyers available at the library and throughout Essex beginning May 2. Completed forms can be mailed to the library. Confirmations will be sent to the email addresses on the completed forms.

Your ticket will be a booklet containing a brief description of each garden along with a map of the tour and designated parking. Tickets must be picked up at the library beginning at 9:45 a.m. the day of the event.

Richard Conroy, library director, has said, “The Essex Library receives only about half of its operating revenue from the Town. The financial assistance we receive each year from the Friends is critical. It enables us to provide important resources such as Ancestry.com and museum passes, as well as practical improvements like the automatic front doors that were recently installed. I urge you to help your Library by helping our Friends make this event a success! Thank you for your support.”

The tour will take place rain or shine. For more information, call 860-767-1560. All proceeds will benefit Friends of the Essex Library.

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Potapaug Presents Plum Island Program

plum_is_01aPotapaug Audubon presents “Preserving Plum Island” on Thursday, April 7, at 7 p.m. at Old Lyme Town Hall, 52 Lyme St., Old Lyme, with guest speaker Chris Cryder, from the Preserve Plum Island Coalition.

Cryder will discuss the efforts to protect the island, which provides vital habitat for threatened and endangered birds.

This is a free program and all are welcome.

For more information, call 860-767-9763.

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CT Legislators Support Study to Preserve Plum Island From Commercial Development

Aerial voew of Plum Island lighthouse. (From Preserve Plum Island website)

Aerial view of Plum Island lighthouse. (From Preserve Plum Island website)

Last Thursday, March 24, at a press conference in Old Saybrook, a triumvirate of Congressional legislators from Connecticut, State Senator Richard Blumenthal and US Representatives  Joe Courtney (D-2nd District) and Rosa DeLauro (D-3rd District) confirmed their support for a study to determine the future of Plum Island located in Long Island Sound.

Members of the Plum Island Coalition — which has some 65 member organizations all dedicated to preserving the island —  were in attendance to hear the good news.

The island still houses a high-security, federal animal disease research facility, but the decision has already been taken to move the facility to a new location in Kansas with an opening slated for 2022. The current facility takes up only a small percentage of the land on the island and significantly for environmentalists, the remainder of the island has for years been left to nature in the wild.

In supporting a federal study on the future of Plum Island, Sen. Blumenthal said, “This study is a step towards saving a precious, irreplaceable national treasure from developers and polluters. It will provide the science and fact-based evidence to make our case for stopping the current Congressional plan to sell Plum Island to the highest bidder.”

He continued, “The stark truth is the sale of Plum Island is no longer necessary to build a new bioresearch facility because Congress has fully appropriated the funds. There is no need for this sale – and in fact, Congress needs to rescind the sale.” 

Congress, however, still has a law on the books that authorizes the sale of Plum Island land to the highest bidder. Therefore, opponents of the sale will have the burden of convincing Congress to change a law that is currently in place.

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Land Trusts’ Photo Contest Winners Announced

Hank Golet Mitchell Award a

Winner of the top prize, the John G. Mitchell Environmental Conservation Award – Hank Golet

The 10th Annual Land Trust’s Photo Contest winners were announced at a March 11 reception highlighting the winning photos and displaying all entered photos. Land trusts in Lyme, Old Lyme, Salem, Essex and East Haddam jointly sponsor the annual amateur photo contest to celebrate the scenic countryside and diverse wildlife and plants in these towns. The ages of the photographers ranged from children to senior citizens.

Hank Golet won the top prize, the John G. Mitchell Environmental Conservation Award, with his beautiful photograph of a juvenile yellow crowned night heron in the Black Hall River in Old Lyme. Alison Mitchell personally presented the award, created in memory of her late husband John G. Mitchell, an editor at National Geographic, who championed the cause of the environment.

William Burt, a naturalist and acclaimed wildlife photographer, who has been a contest judge for ten years, received a special mention. Judges Burt; Amy Kurtz Lansing, an accomplished art historian and curator at the Florence Griswold Museum; and Skip Broom, a respected, award-winning local photographer and antique house restoration housewright, chose the winning photographs from 219 entries.

The sponsoring land trusts – Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Essex Land Trust, the Old Lyme Land Trust, Salem Land Trust, and East Haddam Land Trust – thank the judges as well as generous supporters RiverQuest/ CT River Expeditions, Lorensen Auto Group, the Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, Evan Griswold at Coldwell Banker, Ballek’s Garden Center, Essex Savings Bank, Chelsea Groton Bank, and Alison Mitchell in honor of her late husband John G. Mitchell. Big Y and Fromage Fine Foods & Coffee provided support for the reception.

The winning photographers are:

John G. Mitchell Environmental Award, Hank Golet, Old Lyme

Youth
1st: Patrick Burns, East Haddam
2nd: Judah Waldo, Old Lyme
3rd: James Beckman, Ivoryton
Honorable Mention Gabriel Waldo, Old Lyme
Honorable Mention Sarah Gada, East Haddam
Honorable Mention Shawn Parent, East Haddam

Cultural/Historic
1st: Marcus Maronne, Mystic
2nd: Normand L. Charlette, Manchester
3rd: Tammy Marseli, Rocky Hill
Honorable Mention Jud Perkins, Salem
Honorable Mention Pat Duncan, Norwalk
Honorable Mention John Kolb, Essex

Landscapes/Waterscapes
1st: Cheryl Philopena, Salem
2nd: Marian Morrissette, New London
3rd: Harcourt Davis, Old Lyme
Honorable Mention Cynthia Kovak, Old Lyme
Honorable Mention Bopha Smith, Salem
Honorable Mention Pat Duncan, Norwalk

Plants
1st: Mary Waldron, Old Lyme
2nd: Courtney Briggs, Old Saybrook
3rd: Linda Waters, Salem
Honorable Mention Pete Govert, East Haddam
Honorable Mention Marcus Maronne, Mystic
Honorable Mention Marian Morrissette, New London

First place winner of Wildlife category - Chris Pimley

First place winner of the Wildlife category – Chris Pimley

Wildlife
1st: Chris Pimley, Essex
2nd: Harcourt Davis, Old Lyme
3rd: Linda Waters, Salem
Honorable Mention Thomas Nemeth, Salem
Honorable Mention Jeri Duefrene, Niantic
Honorable Mention Elizabeth Gentile, Old Lyme

The winning photos will be on display at the Lymes’ Senior Center for the month of March and Lyme Public Library in April. For more information go to lymelandtrust.org.

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Old Lyme’s Open Space Commission Hosts Talk on Sea Level Rise, Salt Marsh Advance

The Town of Old Lyme’s Open Space Commission invites all interested parties to a workshop by Adam Whelchel, PhD, Director of Science at The Nature Conservancy’s Connecticut Chapter.  The workshop will be held on Friday, March 11, at 9 a.m. in the Old Lyme Town Hall.

The title of Whelchel’s workshop will be, “Salt Marsh Advancement and Sea Level Rise in Old Lyme Parcel by Parcel — Introducing the New Coastal Resilience Online Tool.”

The workshop will review:

  • Where and how much conflict will there likely be in the future between the existing built environment (roads, schools, churches, neighborhoods, businesses) and daily tides?
  • Where and how much salt marsh advancement will there be?
  • Where and how much salt marsh advancement occurs on existing protected and unprotected open space?
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Inaugural Meeting of ‘Friends of Whalebone Cove’ Held, Group Plans to Protect Famous Tidal Wetland

The newly formed friends of Whalebone Cove are working to prevent this sort of activity in the waterways.

The newly formed ‘Friends of Whalebone Cove’ are working to preserve and protect the Cove’s fragile ecosystem.

A new community conservation group to protect Whalebone Cove, a freshwater tidal marsh along the Connecticut river in Hadlyme recognized internationally for its wildlife habitat, will hold its first organizational meeting this coming Sunday, March 6, at 4 p.m.

Calling the group “Friends of Whalebone Cove” (FOWC), the organizers say their purpose is to “create a proactive, community-based constituency whose mission is to preserve and protect the habitat and fragile eco-systems of Whalebone Cove.”

Much of Whalebone Cove is a nature preserve that is part of the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge (www.fws.gov/refuge/silvio_o_conte) under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFW). The Refuge owns and manages 116 acres of marshland in Whalebone Cove and upland along its shores.

Prior to being taken over by USFW, the Whalebone Cove preserve was under the protection of The Nature Conservancy.

As part of the Connecticut River estuary, the Cove is listed in the Ramsar Convention on International Wetlands (www.ramsar.org) as tidal marshlands on the Connecticut River that constitute a “wetlands complex of international importance.”

The Ramsar citation specifically notes that Whalebone Cove has one of the largest stands of wild rice in the state. Except at high tide, most of the Cove is open marshland covered by wild rice stands with relatively narrow channels where Whalebone Creek winds its way through the Cove to the main stem of the Connecticut River.

Brian Slater, one of the group’s leaders who is filing the incorporation documents creating FOWC, said the creation of the organization was conceived by many of those living around the Cove and others in the Hadlyme area because of increased speeding motor boat and jet ski traffic in the Cove in recent years, damaging wetland plants and disrupting birds and other wildlife that make the Cove their home.

Slater said “Our goal is to develop a master plan for protection of the Cove through a collaborative effort involving all those who have a stake in Whalebone Cove – homeowners along its shores and those living nearby, the Silvio O. Conte Refuge, the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), hunters, fishing enthusiasts, canoeing and kayaking groups, Audubon groups, the Towns of Lyme and East Haddam, The Nature Conservancy, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, the Lyme Land Conservation Trust, the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, and others who want to protect the Cove.”

“Such a plan”, said Slater, “should carefully evaluate the habitat, plants, wildlife and eco-systems of the Cove and the surrounding uplands and watershed and propose an environmental management plan that can be both implemented and enforced by those entrusted with stewarding the Cove and its fragile ecosystems for the public trust.”

FOWC has written a letter to Connecticut DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee asking that he appoint a blue ribbon commission to conduct the research and develop the management plan.  FOWC also asked that Commissioner Klee either deny or defer approval on any applications for new docks in the Cove until the management plan can be developed and implemented. Currently there are no docks in the Cove.

2014-06-06 10.37.22_motorboat

“We are very concerned that the installation of docks permitted for motor boat use will greatly increase the amount of motorized watercraft in the Cove,” said Slater. “There’s already too much jet ski and speeding motorboat traffic in the Cove.  Those living on the Cove have even seen boats towing water skiers crisscrossing the wild rice plants at high tide. Something has to be done to protect the birds and marine life that give birth and raise their young in the Cove.”

Slater urged all those “who treasure Whalebone Cove and the many species of birds, turtles, fish, reptiles, amphibians, beaver, and rare flora and fauna that make their home in it to attend the meeting, whether they live in the Hadlyme area or beyond.”

Expected to be at the meeting will be representatives from USFW, DEEP, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, and several other conservation organizations.

The meeting will be held at Hadlyme Public Hall, 1 Day Hill Rd., in Lyme, which is at the intersection of Ferry Rd. (Rte. 148), Joshuatown Rd., and Day Hill Rd. Representatives from the Silvio O. Conte Refuge will make a short presentation on the history and mission of the Conte Refuge system, which includes nature preserves throughout the Connecticut River Valley in four states.

Refreshments will be served.

For more information, call 860-322-4021 or email fowchadlyme@gmail.com

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Potapaug Presents “The 2016 Great Gull Island Expedition” at Old Lyme Town Hall, March 3

Potapaug Audubon presents “The 2016 Great Gull Island Expedition” on Thursday, March 3, at 7 p.m. at the Old Lyme Town Hall, 52 Lyme St. with guest speaker Matthew Male.

Learn about the most successful tern colony restoration programs throughout the world. Readers can join our crew of researchers and volunteers to help with the world’s largest tern colony. Work on the island starts in April.

For more information, call 860-710-5811.

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Lyme-Old Lyme HS Alum Chris Bugbee Captures Video of Only Known Wild Jaguar in US

Conservation CATalyst and the Center for Biological Diversity released new video today of the only known wild jaguar currently in the United States. Captured on remote sensor cameras in the Santa Rita Mountains just outside Tucson, the dramatic footage provides a glimpse of the secretive life of one of nature’s most majestic and charismatic creatures. This is the first ever publicly released video of the jaguar, and it comes at a critical point in this cat’s conservation.

El Jefe video

The camera project is part of ongoing efforts to monitor mountain ranges in southeastern Arizona for endangered jaguar and ocelot. Chris Bugbee, a graduate of Lyme-Old Lyme High School and now a biologist with Conservation CATalyst, has been collecting data on the Santa Rita jaguar for the past three years (formerly through the University of Arizona).  Bugbee is the son of Old Lyme’s Parks and Recreation Director Don Bugbee and the Rev. Rebecca Crosby, Minister for Haitian Outreach at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

“Studying these elusive cats anywhere is extremely difficult, but following the only known individual in the U.S. is especially challenging,” said Bugbee. “We use our specially trained scat detection dog and spent three years tracking in rugged mountains, collecting data and refining camera sites; these videos represent the peak of our efforts.”

“These glimpses into his behavior offer the keys to unlocking the mysteries of these cryptic cats” said Aletris Neils, executive director of Conservation CATalyst. “We are able to determine he is an adult male jaguar, currently in prime condition. Every new piece of information is important for conserving northern jaguars and we look forward to building upon on these data so that we can collectively make better decisions on how to manage these fascinating and endangered cats.”

“Jaguars have always occurred in Arizona and yet we know so little about them in the northern portion of their range. Arizona should be poised to harbor and protect both jaguars and ocelots as they continue to disperse out from Sonora,” said Bugbee, who now lives in Tucson, Ariz.

Bugbee was featured in an article about the video of the jaguar by William Yardley titled, “He roams alone: El Jefe may be the last wild jaguar in the U.S.” and published in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

“Just knowing that this amazing cat is right out there, just 25 miles from downtown Tucson, is a big thrill,” said Randy Serraglio, conservation advocate with the Center. “El Jefe has been living more or less in our backyard for more than three years now. It’s our job to make sure that his home is protected and he can get what he needs to survive.”

El Jefe, as he has come to be known in Tucson, has been photographed repeatedly by remote sensor cameras in the Santa Ritas over the past few years. He is the only verified jaguar in the United States since Macho B was euthanized as a result of capture-related injuries in March 2009. “Jaguars are solitary cats that only tolerate each other for reproduction,” said Neils.

But a huge conflict is brewing that threatens to destroy El Jefe’s home. A Canadian mining company is pushing to develop a massive open-pit copper mine right in the middle of the big cat’s territory. The mile-wide open pit and 800-foot-high piles of toxic mine waste would permanently destroy thousands of acres of occupied, federally protected jaguar habitat where this jaguar lives.

“Clearly, the Santa Rita Mountains are a vital part of this cat’s home range,” said Bugbee. “This jaguar has been photographed in every month of the year in these mountains — there are more than 100 detections of him in the Santa Ritas since 2013 — how could anyone argue the importance of these mountains?”

“The Rosemont Mine would destroy El Jefe’s home and severely hamstring recovery of jaguars in the United States,” said Serraglio. “At ground zero for the mine is the intersection of three major wildlife corridors that are essential for jaguars moving back into the U.S. to reclaim lost territory. The Santa Rita Mountains are critically important to jaguar recovery in this country, and they must be protected.”

In October the rare cat was named “El Jefe,” which means “the boss” in Spanish, after a vote by Tucson school kids and others. The Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity has been working for decades to save jaguars in the United States, with the hope that El Jefe will soon be joined by more jaguars that wander up from Mexico. In 2014 the Center secured more than 750,000 acres of federally protected critical habitat for U.S. jaguar recovery.

Jaguars — the third-largest cats in the world after tigers and lions — once lived throughout the American Southwest, with historical reports on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the mountains of Southern California and as far east as Louisiana. Jaguars disappeared from their U.S. range over the past 150 years, primarily due to habitat loss and historic government predator control programs intended to protect the livestock industry. The last verified female jaguar in the country was shot by a hunter in 1963 in Arizona’s Mogollon Rim.

This research builds upon a three-year project (2012- 2015) from the University of Arizona surveying jaguars and ocelots throughout southern Arizona and New Mexico.

Editor’s Notes: i) The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

ii) Conservation CATalyst is a Tucson-based nonprofit organization specializing in conducting scientific research on cats that are in conflict with people.

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RiverQuest Now Booking Annual Winter Wonderland/Eagle Boat Cruises on CT River

1302_2013FebEagleWatch_024-3a-580x414Connecticut River Expeditions is ready to cruise on the lower Connecticut River this February and March for their 13th Annual Winter Wonderland/Eagle Boat Cruises. These perennially popular winter cruises will depart from Eagle Landing State Park in the Tylerville section of Haddam, Conn.

Cruises will start on Saturday, Feb. 13, and run through March 20.

These cruises are very popular; it is suggested you book early to reserve your spots.

“We are really looking forward to offering this unique cruise during the 2016 winter season. After last year’s horrific ice conditions on the river, we can’t wait to get to work this year,” says Capt. Mark of the quiet, friendly eco-tour vessel RiverQuest.

He  adds, “On this special cruise, our goal is to search for and learn about resident and visiting Bald Eagles and other wildlife we will find on our journey. We feel very fortunate that we are able to bring people out on the river during this quiet season to experience these magnificent raptors and one of our greatest natural resources, the Connecticut River.”

5_immature_eagles_in_a_tree_compressedWithout the summer boat traffic, there is a sense of tranquility on the river and with no leaves on the trees, the river’s edge offers a very different view, making it easier to find and see winter wildlife. In past years, bird sightings have included from one to 41 Bald Eagles, along with numerous hawk and duck varieties, falcons, cormorants and more. On occasion, fox, coyote, deer, bobcat and even seals have been seen.

Winter and early spring are also a great time of year to explore and experience the entire lower Connecticut River Valley. Come out, enjoy and support local businesses. There are shops and restaurants in Haddam, East Haddam and neighboring towns; stop by and visit one before or after your cruise. Although Gillette Castle, just 4.5 miles away from RiverQuest is closed, the park grounds are open for daytime visitors.

Take your camera and binoculars, but if you have no binoculars, there are extras available on RiverQuest for your use during the cruise. There will be complimentary coffee and tea on board.

Weekend and weekday times are available for these 2+ hour cruises. Cost is $40 per person.

It is requested that no children under 10 travel. For more information, departure times and easy on-line reservations visit RiverQuest at ctriverquest.com. 860-662-0577. Private charters and gift certificates are also available.

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Old Lyme Conservation Commission Requests Publication of Rogers Lake Long-term Plan

Targeted Areas of Acute Weed Infestation A. Hains Park/Rowing Docks B. Island Narrows C. Boat Launch Area

Targeted Areas of Acute Weed Infestation: A. Hains Park/Rowing Docks, B. Island Narrows, C. Boat Launch Area

The Old Lyme Conservation Commission regards Rogers Lake as one of the town’s most valuable resources  both for its recreational values and for its value as a source for two of the three main aquifers in Old Lyme. This is particularly important at a time when the Rogers Lake Authority plans to apply the herbicide Clipper to large areas of the lake for the very first time.

The Conservation Commission has asked us to publish the 2015 Rogers Lake Long-term Plan:

  1. Reduce the presence of waterfowl around the lake … 40 geese x 3 pounds per day x 365 days = 43,800 pounds of fertilizer per year
  2. Reduce the septic system pump-out frequency to three years and include Lyme lake residents in the program. Consider a local sewer system for Old Lyme’s lake residents.
  3. Encourage the Inland Wetlands Commissions of Lyme and Old Lyme to establish a monitoring system to assure that state law restricting phosphate in lawn fertilizer around water bodies is enforced.
  4. Greatly increase the use of benthic mats, including use of large mats to cover the worst patches of invasive weeds, especially in shallow water motorboat channels (Figure 1).
  5. Establish silt ponds at the mouths of the five largest streams feeding Rogers Lake and maintain them every year by removing the nutrient rich sediment and sell it.
  6. Plan a major fall drawdown (six feet) and plan to deepen boat channels and the worst areas of weed infestation. Establish dewatering areas. Sell the dredged sediment to pay for the operation. Bring in the Connecticut Water Company to provide a local water company to provide water for shallow well owners, permitting major draw-downs and ensuring year round potable water for lake residents.
  7. Establish special zoning regulations for the 500 acre drainage area on the southeast side of the lake to reduce nutrient runoff.  Re-engineer the dam at Ogle Pond so that it can control 3 – 5 inch rain events and prevent flooding of Boston Post Road and Grassy Hill Road.
  8. Assess the area to the north of the lake for nutrients entering the lake during major rain events.  Take steps to reduce this source of nutrients using dams and silt ponds.
  9. Create an email database for all residents of the Rogers Lake basin in order to keep the residents informed and to permit them to play an active role in lake management.
  10. Redevelop Hains Park, including the new boathouse project, community room, pavilion, swimming area and appropriate parking to help integrate and invest the townspeople in the life and affairs of the lake community.
  11. Continue an invasive plant education and monitoring program at the State boat launch to help prevent the introduction of additional invasive species into the lake.
  12. Seal lake bottom sediment in key areas with alum to prevent the release of phosphorus each time the lake becomes anoxic (usually in Autumn).  Even small increases in the levels of phosphorus result in greatly increased weed growth.
  13. Establish a long term plan to dredge the lake. Establish dewatering locations around the lake and establish a specific location nearby to deposit the spoils. Small quantities of material can be annually dredged from the lake without undergoing the extensive and expensive state and federal permitting process.  The Commission suggests that the town take advantage of this opportunity to target specific areas on the lake (See map of Rogers Lake above).
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Preserve Closures Announced in Lyme During Deer Firearm Hunting Season

The following Preserves in Lyme will be closed Monday through Friday from Wednesday, Nov. 18 through Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015 except to licensed hunters with valid consent forms from the Town of Lyme Open Space Coordinator:  Banningwood Preserve, Beebe Preserve, Chestnut Hill Preserve, Eno Preserve, Hand Smith, Honey Hill Preserve, Jewett Preserve, Mount Archer Woods, Pickwick’s Preserve, Plimpton Preserve, and Slawson Preserve.

These preserves, owned by the Town of Lyme or the Lyme Land Conservation Trust, will be open on Saturdays and Sundays during this hunting period as no hunting is allowed on weekends. The hunting program is fully subscribed.

For more information on the hunting program in Lyme, visit http://www.lymelandtrust.org/stewardship/hunting-program/

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Last of the (Eightmile River) Dams to be Removed

The Ed Bills Dam locale in winter.

The Ed Bills Dam locale in winter.

The only remaining dam on the East Branch of the Eightmile River will come down as part of a river restoration project led by The Nature Conservancy and American Rivers.

Construction activities will remove the nearly 80-year-old Ed Bills Pond Dam and restore a natural river channel. The restored site will be ready for the return of migratory fish next spring. The project will provide habitat for such native species as brook trout, turtles, and mussels, as well as migratory alewife, blueback herring, Atlantic salmon, American eel and sea lamprey—all also native species.

“Connecticut has more than 5,000 dams. Most of these dams no longer serve their original purposes, yet they unfortunately still prevent fish from reaching spawning habitat critical to their survival. Projects like this one allow us to help change that and restore natural river conditions,” said Amy Singler, who is managing the project for the Conservancy and American Rivers.

The Ed Bills Pond Dam is near the mouth of the East Branch of the Eightmile River on Salem Road.  While the project will be visible from Salem Road, the dam is on private land. For the purpose of safety, public access is restricted. The public will be able to see photos as the project progresses and learn more about it at Facebook.com/CT.NatureConservancy and Facebook.com/AmericanRivers.

The dam is privately owned, and the dam owner is working closely with local and regional project partners to advance river restoration.

Funding partners include The Nature Conservancy, American Rivers, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund, Newman’s Own Foundation, Patagonia, Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, and many generous private donors.

The project will remove the dam and existing fish ladder in order to restore unrestricted natural river conditions through the area flooded by the dam, resulting in access to 9.7 miles of free- flowing river.

Like so many Connecticut Rivers, the East Branch of the Eightmile River has been dammed for more than 100 years; however, the dam being removed was built as recently as the 1940s for aesthetic and recreational purposes. The location of the fish ladder entrance at the dam is not optimal to allow passage of significant numbers of migratory fish.

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Malloy to Attend Opening Ceremony for ‘The Preserve’ Today; Post-Ceremony Hike Planned

Governor Dannel Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Philip Miller (D-Chester/Deep River/Essex/Haddam) will participate in an event celebrating the permanent protection of “The Preserve,” the 1,000 acre coastal woodland.

Miller will be joining Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy and other state and local officials at a reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 13, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Great Cedars (West) Conservation Area, 155 Ingham Hill Rd., Old Saybrook.

Miller is inviting attendees to join him in a hike he will be leading at “The Preserve” following the opening ceremony.

Miller notes,“This is going to be a wonderful ceremonial event to celebrate the protection of this coastal land that will remain a treasured open space for everyone to enjoy,” adding, “Looking forward to welcoming as many people as possible who can attend.”

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