State Forester Emery Gluck Talks Fires, Logging and Illegal Dumping in Nehantic State Forest

Fires and logging aren’t typically seen as hallmarks of a healthy forest — but for Connecticut’s 5,000-acre Nehantic State Forest, fires and logging are helping improve the health of the forest. “The basic tenant to forestry is to improve the forest from current conditions to a more healthy and diverse forest,” said Emery Gluck, a state forester managing Nehantic for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “Historically the forest coevolved with fire, then natives burned to make the forest more habitable. Now we are trying to do a replication of what that might have looked like.” For the eleventh

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Vineyard Wind Biologist Talks Common Ground with Fishing Industry

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NEW BEDFORD — With about 20 years of experience on the seas, Crista Bank has worked in academia as a fisheries biologist, conducted research with commercial fishermen, earned her 100-ton U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license, journeyed across the globe aboard traditional sailing vessels and taught marine science in New England, Southern California and the Florida Keys. In May 2018, she became a fisheries liaison for Vineyard Wind, an offshore wind developer based in New Bedford where she grew up and now lives. The company has two projects in the works — Vineyard Wind I, a 800-megawatt project off the coast

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Survey Reveals 200 Acres of Invasive Hydrilla in Lower Connecticut River

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According to a recent survey, more than 200 acres of the lower third of the Connecticut River is overgrown with hydrilla, an invasive aquatic plant that, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, is among the most difficult to control. “The big news from our survey is that hydrilla has been found in the Connecticut River,” said Greg Bugbee, an associate agriculture scientist at the Experiment Station. “The coves – Hamburg Cove and Whalebone Cove — are the most heavily impacted, along with sections near the shoreline that are three feet or less deep.” The hydrilla in the Connecticut River

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A Pesticide Ban, New Revenues, Among Issues Highlighted at Environmental Summit in Hartford

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With the legislative session just three weeks away, advocates, legislators and business owners filled Mather Hall at Trinity College on Wednesday for the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters 2020 Environmental Summit to settle on an environmental agenda for the February 5 start of session. “We got all the advocates and lawmakers in one room where everybody can hear the same thing about what we know the main drivers are going to be for environment and energy legislation this year,” said Lori Brown, executive director of the League. “It’s the whole environmental community in one room.” From a bottle bill to

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Glyphosate Use Faces Public Concern and Continued Use in Southeast Connecticut

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In 2019, amidst public concerns regarding the most common lawncare chemical — glyphosate, also known as RoundUp — the towns of Waterford, Groton and Chester opted to restrict non-organic applications of pesticides. This policy does not prevent the use of RoundUp on private land however. The restrictions were adopted after lawsuits in California against RoundUp’s maker, Monsanto, were decided in favor of plaintiffs who claimed exposure to the herbicide caused their cancer. “The concerns came from a neighborhood in Waterford where there was spraying between the road and the sidewalk curbing,” said Gary Schneider, the new director of Public Works

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State Adds $5 Million to Open Space in 2019, but Delays Announcement for 2020

Wednesday, the State Bond commission approved an additional $5 million for the acquisition of open space and watershed land, providing the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection with a total of $11 million to distribute in grants to the second largest pool of applicants to date.  The Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition grant program received 24 separate applications in its 2019 round of applications, in total requesting requesting considerably more than the usual $5 to $6 million in funding.  “Our administration has set high goals to mitigate the effects of climate change and implement policies that better preserve our

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Road salt, for better or worse is back this winter

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Salt on the roads has becomes a fact of life in New England during the snowy months from November to April, but that was not always so. In 2007, the State of Connecticut changed from a sand-salt combination to the exclusive use of salt on state roads, according to Kevin Nursick, spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Transportation, in a November 21 phone conversation. “Salt has its own problems, it’s just less problematic than sand,” said Nursick, who has been with the DOT for about 15 years. “It’s more effective at melting frozen material on the roadways and so it

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Connecticut River Conservancy Hires River Steward, Promoting Conservation, Environmental Justice

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“For good or bad, we are the mouth of the Connecticut river. So everything that is happening upstream is going to impact us,” said Kelsey Wentling, the new Connecticut-based river steward for the Connecticut River Conservancy. “We need to be engaged with groups and communities all throughout the watershed in order to make an impact. It’s a challenge and an opportunity.” Wentling moved to Middletown in September to take on the river steward role. “Personally, I am really interested in figuring out how CRC can participate in opening up access to the river, not just physically, but inviting more different

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Public-Private Partnership Seeds 100,000 Oysters in Niantic River

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EAST LYME — Shellfish experts deposited about 100,000 juvenile oysters into the Niantic River on Saturday, as part of a $10,000 public-private partnership plan by the Waterford-East Lyme Shellfish Commission to bolster the river’s oyster population in an effort to increase recreational fishing and improve water quality. “This is the first seeding that we’ll do,” said Peter Harris, chair of the shellfish commission. “We’re pretty confident that we’ll be successful.”  Harris said that this could be the first of multiple seeding if successful. “When they grow out to adults they will set seed and repopulate the area if it’s successful,”

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Fenwick is Site of Second Living Shoreline Project in Connecticut

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Last winter, after years of increasing erosion exacerbated by sea level rise, Long Island Sound breached a protective sand dune offshore of Fenwick leaving a recently restored marsh behind it vulnerable. “There is concern that there is going to be more flooding, especially during large storm events,” said Juliana Barrett, an extension educator for the Connecticut Sea Grant project at the University of Connecticut who has been working in Fenwick for more than a decade. “The other thing is the sociological aspect of it. There is an informal walking path around the beaches of Fenwick. This is where you would

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