We recently celebrated the 46
th Anniversary of Earth Day. Back in 1970, millions of people took to the streets for the first Earth Day and demanded cleaner air, waters, and lands. In the last four and a half decades our nation - and our state - have responded with programs and initiatives to meet these demands. We have made great progress - but there is more work to be done.
To keep us moving forward, DEEP will be focused this year on developing a series of strategic plans on critical issues. These include:
- A plan to meet the state's aggressive goal of reducing carbon emissions 80% below 2001 levels by 2050. Meeting this goal will require great changes in all sectors of our economy and in all of our lives.
Comprehensive Energy Strategy
(CES) - a revision and update of our first CES, which focused on energy efficiency, renewables, and transformation in the transportation sector.
Clean Air Plan
- An implementation plan to develop solutions to air pollution issues.
Statewide Water Plan
- DEEP is one of the state agencies working together to produce a statewide water plan that ensures sufficient, plentiful, clean water to support a high quality of life, healthy environment, and robust economy for the next generations of state residents.
- We have released a draft "Green Plan" as a roadmap to the preservation of important lands.
- This plan will guide the future use of Long Island Sound's waters and submerged lands.
Work on these plans follows recent successful adaptation of a Wildlife Action Plan and a Forest Action Plan.
We encourage your active engagement and involvement in helping us develop and implement these important plans.
Belated Earth Day wishes.
Input Requested on Connecticut's Green Plan
DEEP is updating the Connecticut Comprehensive Open Space Acquisition Strategy (Green Plan) through 2020 to best achieve statewide open space goals. The Green Plan is a document that intends to be a guide for land acquisition that will meet the statewide open space protection goal of conserving 21% of Connecticut's land base as open space by year 2023. Among other plan components, an action strategy is proposed for acquiring key lands identified as capable of providing certain benefits, for example buffers to climate change, wildlife habitat, and recreational trails.
How can we improve your open space plan? Municipalities, land conservation organizations, and the general public are encouraged to review and comment on the Green Plan. The new draft Green Plan, a previous version of the plan, and more can be found on DEEP's
Green Plan webpage
. Your comments can be submitted to
or CT DEEP, Land Acquisition and Management Unit, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106. The comment period will close on June 1, 2016.
One of DEEP's LEAN Teams maps the current permitting process.
DEEP Displays Lean Diversity at 2016 Statewide Showcase
DEEP participated in the third annual Statewide Lean Showcase, held last month at the State Capitol which featured the experience of state agencies with the customer-focused, process improvement initiative. After eight years and close to 80 projects, DEEP is very familiar with this year's event theme, "The Way We Do Business," which prompted eighteen participating agencies to exhibit how Lean thinking has changed the way their agency operates. Lean has been a key tool in streamlining DEEP business processes, resulting in timelier and more consistent and effective service to our customers.
The DEEP display featured seven projects that used the Lean model in innovative ways to maximize results for our customers. These interdisciplinary teams engaged in traditional (5 days), mini (2-3 days, narrow scope) and "Check Lean" Kaizen events focused on unique opportunities for energy and environmental protection, including information technology, energy efficiencies, administration, permitting and enforcement, and natural resources. For example, a traditional, spin-off Lean initiative, Electronic Underground Storage Tank (UST) Registration, gives the UST owner/operator control of their own information in an online registration option, which reduces the wait-time and waste of paper forms. For more information, visit the
EVConnecticut Funding Update
Municipalities and state agencies considering purchasing an electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for their fleet or who would like to install an EV station on their property should be aware that
DEEP's Public Fleet and Workplace EV Charging
is accepting applications until May 4, 2016.
If selected for an award, DEEP will provide up to $15,000 per EV and up to $10,000 per charger that meets the program guidance specifications.
New this round
is any town or agency that owns a commuter parking lot or other parking areas where vehicles park for 10 hours or longer is eligible to obtain up to $2,000 for the purchase and installation of a two-outlet, Level 1 EV charging station. To learn more about how you can start a workplace charging program at your facility and to read about lessons learned in initiating a workplace program, check out
EVConnecticut's Elements of Workplace Charging webpage.
Seeking Input on Barn Island WMA Management Assessment Report
At just over 1,000 acres,
Barn Island Wildlife Management Area
(WMA) in Stonington is Connecticut's largest, most diverse, and ecologically significant coastal wildlife management area. In 2013, DEEP received a Long Island Sound Futures Fund grant to begin the process of developing a comprehensive management plan for the area. As a first step, Connecticut College was contracted to gather all of the historic, scientific, management, and public use information available and present the DEEP Wildlife Division with a
Management Assessment Report
that details management recommendations/options to consider in addressing a variety of resource issues and needs identified for the property. DEEP is seeking comments on the Report, as well as any additional information related to Barn Island WMA, from the general public, conservation organizations, and various user groups, including researchers and educators familiar with the property. All input received will be considered in developing a management plan. Public comments will be accepted until June 30, 2016. (
) The draft management plan will be available for public review and comment in late fall 2016.
Higganum Reservoir Dam, Haddam is a Class C, High Hazard dam owned by the State. Photo: Liz Napier
New Safety Standards and Regulations for Dams
DEEP has implemented new provisions of a state law requiring owners of dams (public and private) to take more responsibility for them. Regulations adopted in February 2016 require dam owners to:
- Have their dams inspected by a professional engineer. Required frequency of inspections are based on the hazard class assigned to the dam - from every two years for High Hazard Dams to every 10 years for Low Hazard Dams; and
- Prepare Emergency Action Plans (EAP) for every high and significant hazard dam they own. Dams are considered to be of High or Significant Hazard if their failure poses a risk to downstream residents and properties.
An EAP is a document that defines conditions which require a response, and provides a clear direction for action. DEEP has a template for an EAP available on its
Dam Safety Program website
. DEEP recently notified 478 dam owners that EAPs for high and significant hazard dams must be completed by 2017. (DEEP owns 96 dams that require EAPs.) Questions about the new standards may be directed to Dam Safety staff at 860-424-3706 or DEEP.DamSafety@ct.gov.
New Biomedical Waste Facility in Connecticut
Last month, DEEP issued a permit to Future Healthcare Systems CT, Inc. for the construction and operation of the first biomedical waste facility in Connecticut. Biomedical waste (BMW) means any infectious, pathological and/or chemotherapy waste generated during the administration of medical care or the performance of medical research involving humans or animals. The regulatory definition of BMW excludes hazardous and radioactive waste, but there are stringent regulations ensuring the safe and proper management of this waste type. A typical "generator" of BMW is any person who owns or operates a facility that produces BMW in any quantity. This includes, but is not limited to, hospitals, laboratories, veterinarians, dental offices, skilled nursing facilities, and physicians' offices. Households are not regulated as biomedical waste.
This new facility in Bridgeport will receive and process infectious waste, sharps (needles and syringes), and animal derived waste and will provide job growth potential, reduce emissions by not transporting waste out of state, and create a competitive BMW disposal market for generators in Connecticut. The
Biomedical Waste (BMW) Frequently Asked Questions
table on DEEP's website provides basic information on handling and disposal requirements.
Coastal General Permit Process Revamped
|Ramp and Float; Photo: DEEP OLISP
DEEP's Office of Long Island Sound Programs (OLISP) regulates work in tidal wetlands and tidal, coastal, and navigable waters of the state waterward of the
Coastal Jurisdiction Line
(CJL). "Work" includes dredging, and building, repairing, or replacing seawalls, rock slopes, piers, floats, ramps, walkways, pilings, or any structure waterward of the CJL and in or over tidal wetland vegetation. Depending on the extent of work proposed, applicants may need an
individual permit or a certificate of permission
, or they may be eligible for a general permit (GP).
Recently, OLISP took stock of all its GPs. Since 1997, OLISP had developed and authorized a total of 15 different GPs, many of which were in need of modification. Meanwhile, 10 new GPs were under development. OLISP realized that this entire suite of GPs consisted of 25 activities that essentially fell into three overarching categories. OLISP re-grouped these activities into three consolidated GPs:
(1) Minor Structures, (2) Maintenance, and (3) Storm Preparation and Response
. Please see the DEEP website for new
GP registration forms, instructions, fact sheets
. Questions can also be directed to any staff member of the
OLISP Permitting and Enforcement Section
New Species of Rock Snot Discovered in Connecticut
Two new species of microscopic algae have been discovered in Connecticut by Diba Khan-Bureau, Ph.D., Professor at Three Rivers Community College and Mike Beauchene, Supervising Fisheries Biologist with the DEEP Inland Fisheries Division. In their recently published article in the European Journal of Phycology (the study of algae), Khan-Bureau and Beauchene reveal a new species to the world, Didymosphenia hullii, and a species new to Connecticut, Cymbella janischii. Both belong to a notorious group of microscopic algae collectively termed "rock snot."
Rock snot, also known as didymo, was first reported in Connecticut in March 2011 when an angler reported seeing what appeared to be a small tuft of didymo in the West Branch of the Farmington River in Barkhamsted. This algae can easily be spread from waterbody to waterbody as it can remain alive for long periods of time, even when slightly moist. Before leaving any waterbody, practice the "Clean, Drain, Dry Technique" on anything that had contact with the water or the water bottom, including boats and fishing gear (waders). (
Details on the new discovery
information on nuisance aquatic organisms and invasive species
Connecticut Company Heat-Treats Firewood
The January/February 2016 issue of
Connecticut Wildlife magazine
, which is published by the DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources, features an
on a local company,
Back to the Basics
, in Terryville, that heat-treats firewood to kill insects, including emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle. Owner Dave Perugini purchases logs harvested from sustainably managed forests in Connecticut and then cuts and splits the logs to firewood size. Once heat-treated in a kiln, the wood is insect-free and ready to be burned immediately. Back to the Basics and other businesses in the Connecticut Grown Program for Forest Products are listed on DEEP's website.
Decade after Decade, CT's Springtime is Getting Warmer
This article continues a series on Connecticut's changing climate.
As disruption of the global climate progresses, Connecticut's spring temperatures climb ever higher. While the state's average annual temperature has risen primarily since around 1970 (see
), spring temperatures have risen across the entire 110-year period for which records are available. Over that time, the season's average in the Hartford area has risen about two degrees Fahrenheit - twice the annual average.
A change of two degrees over 110 years might not seem like much. But it has potentially significant implications, especially if it continues throughout this century and beyond as the
National Climate Assessment
indicates it will.
|Click on image to enlarge.
Earlier and earlier arrival of spring like temperatures could seriously disrupt New England ecosystems. "In many ways it's kind of nice having things flower earlier because we have such a long winter, but there are going to be
very big consequences
for that," warns Boston University researcher Richard Primack.
Conservationist Steve Zack notes that birds are at risk, for example. "[T]he new threat to birds is not simply warmer temperatures, but rather the
unexpected climatological and ecological interactions
that result," he says. For example, he points to a "[mismatch] that places [some] migratory bird hatchlings out of synch with their larval prey in the northern world."
Helping Communities Adapt to Changing Climate
The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA), a collaboration of DEEP and UConn, is a gateway to resources for communities bracing for the impacts of ongoing change in the regional climate.
CIRCA's web site
provides information on the Institute's priority research areas:
These links may be useful to those seeking support through the
Matching Funds Program
Municipal Resilience Grant Program
, or other funding opportunities. These funding pages are updated continuously, with FAQs and past recipients featured prominently. Communities interested in learning more about climate change adaptation and resilience may also want to check out the
page or read the CIRCA
. The web page also provides information on upcoming resilience
around the state and region. Stay tuned for details on specific research projects that are completed or underway.
is Upon Us
Connecticut's Mosquito Management Program (MMP), is a collaborative effort of DEEP, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), and the Department of Public Health (DPH). Together, these agencies monitor mosquito populations and humans for the prevalence of mosquito-borne diseases, like West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and provide technical assistance to municipalities, businesses, and residents concerning mosquitoes and their control. Zika virus is yet another mosquito-borne pathogen that has made its way into the Western hemisphere. In healthy humans, Zika is a relatively mild condition and most cases go unnoticed. However, it is passed human to human by the bite of an infected mosquito and, more recently, the CDC has determined that Zika can be passed through sexual transmission. Of particular concern, Zika can cause birth defects, including a condition called microcephaly where babies are born with abnormally small heads and brain damage. More information at
The primary vector of Zika is the Yellow fever mosquito (
), which is not found in Connecticut. However, another competent vector, the Asian tiger mosquito (
), has been found in Connecticut since 2006, mainly in lower Fairfield and New Haven counties. The DPH is the lead agency in developing a Zika Response Plan, and like the MMP's WNV and EEE Response Plans, a draft plan is available on the
websites. Weekly surveillance updates, precautionary and control methods, and the current list of certified applicators can be found at
2016 Ozone Season in Connecticut
The official 2016
season begins on May 1st and goes through September 30th. DEEP monitors, tracks and forecasts daily air quality levels across Connecticut all year long for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) but the
Air Quality Index (AQI)
takes on greater importance during the ozone season. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems including chest pain, coughing and throat irritation.
||Click on chart to enlarge.
In 2015, prompted by increasing evidence of ozone's negative health effects, the U.S. EPA adopted a more
stringent ozone health standard
, lowering the standard from75 ppb to 70 ppb (over an 8-hour period). DEEP has worked diligently since 1975 to implement common sense air pollution control strategies to help reduce the frequency and magnitude of ozone exceedance days. With the new lower ozone standard, however, expect to see more ozone exceedance days in 2016 in Connecticut.
DEEP encourages everyone but especially day care providers, summer camps and elder care/senior centers to subscribe to the
regarding ground level ozone, its health effects, what to do on a high ozone day, and most importantly, what you can do to help reduce ground level ozone in your own backyard.
DEEP's Village Green Monitoring Station:
Science in Action
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has funded the installation of six stand-alone solar and wind powered air monitoring stations throughout the U.S. This effort, known as the
Village Green Project
, fits air quality monitors that measure both ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) along with weather conditions into a park bench. These monitors, sometimes referred to as "Next Generation" monitors due to their small size and relatively low cost, provide high quality data and need very little power to operate. DEEP's Village Green station is made from recycled materials and is located on the Plaza outside of the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford.
The Village Green project puts science into the hands of citizens, allowing the public to access local air quality information from DEEP's bench and the five other benches through on-site displays and a mobile-friendly
. Students, teachers, community organizations and researchers are encouraged to access the
real-time data the bench produces
to understand air quality and how events such as weather changes or near
by sources of air pollution can change local conditions.
Connecticut State Parks Update
Nature Center at Meigs Point
at Hammonasset Beach State Park is nearing completion. The target opening date remains Memorial Day weekend and the finish work is advancing rapidly. This new Nature Center, a model of cooperative success between the Friends of Hammonasset and Connecticut State Parks, will offer interpretive exhibits based on years of experience obtained at the existing Nature Center which has been in operation since 1972.
Nature Center progress
can be followed regularly on-line.
Thames River Heritage Park
which embraces the historic districts, shopping and dining areas along the Thames River in New London and Groton is fast approaching its own opening day with the recent appointment of
water taxi operators, Jackie and David Dietrich. The three stop taxi crossing includes stops at two state Parks: the Civil War era
on the New London side, the Revolutionary War
Fort Griswold Battlefield
on the Groton side and the City Pier in Downtown New London. The
Friday - Sunday
water taxi (depicted in sketch above) is expected to follow up on the success it enjoyed in its initial trial run late in 2014
. Follow the
Heritage Park updates
for taxi schedules, highlighted tour stops and other special event days.
You and your family will not want to miss these upcoming events.
Saturday, May 7, 2016: Statewide Free Fishing Day (no license needed). No Child Left Inside Great Park Pursuit and CARE Family Fishing Day,
Stratton Brook State Park
, Simsbury, will be held from 9 AM to 3 PM.
Sunday, June 19, 2016: First Free Fishing License Day (free 1-day license is needed and will be available starting 3 weeks prior to the event at
Saturday, June 25, 2016: Women can fish too! On this day, our basics of fishing class will be open to women only (16 and up). The class will be held at our
education center in Killingworth (10 AM to 3 PM). Call 860-663-1656 to reserve your place (FREE).
Saturday, August 13, 2016: Second Free Fishing License Day (free 1-day license is needed and will be available starting 3 weeks prior to the event at
). The CARE saltwater fishing event and No Child Left Inside Great Park Pursuit,
Fort Trumbull State Park
New London from 10 AM to 3 PM.
Celebrating 150 Years of Natural Resource Conservation in CT
DEEP's Bureau of Natural Resources is now celebrating its 150th Anniversary. Joining in the celebration are the Divisions of Wildlife, Inland Fisheries, Marine Fisheries, Forestry, and the Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police, as well as many partners. Throughout 2016, we are looking back at our history and also looking ahead to the future of natural resources in our state. Along the way, we are highlighting efforts taken throughout the past 150 years to conserve and enhance our fish, wildlife, and forests for all to use and appreciate. Check out a historical issue of our bimonthly magazine,
(and a get a
to continue reading about our 150-year history).
Follow along with the celebration
and participate in
to be held year-long. Visit our
CT Fish and Wildlife Facebook page
often to keep up-to-date on the celebration!
FRWA Developing Watershed Plan for Pequabuck River
Farmington River Watershed Association
(FRWA) is in the process of developing a watershed based plan to address nonpoint source (NPS) water quality impairment issues affecting the Pequabuck River, a tributary to the Farmington River. The Pequabuck River watershed encompasses portions of seven municipalities, including:
Bristol, Burlington, Farmington, Harwinton, Plainville, Plymouth and Wolcott
, and includes the drainage areas of the Poland River and Coppermine Brook. FRWA is developing the plan in consultation with the watershed municipalities and other important stakeholders such as the Pequabuck River Watershed Association. The goal of the plan is to identify sources of NPS impairments and develop strategies to address these sources. This
plan can then be used by watershed communities and other stakeholders as a fundraising tool, and long-term roadmap for addressing water quality impairments within the Pequabuck River watershed, to clean up the river and restore its value as a community amenity. FRWA has engaged the services of
Princeton Hydro, Inc.
to help develop the plan.
Funding for the project is provided, in part, by the
DEEP NPS Pollution Management Program
through a United States Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant.
Click on image of Pequabuck River Watershed to enlarge.
Graphic: Farmington River Watershed Association
National Estuarine Research Reserve Proposed
A healthy and productive Long Island Sound (LIS) is our greatest natural resource and contributes an estimated $7 billion annually to the regional economy. The Sound, however, is continually threatened by development, pollution, invasive species, and the effects of climate change. That is why Connecticut is embarking on a process to establish a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) for LIS, which would provide additional information to help make critical management decisions affecting the state's valuable coastal resources.
The NERR system is a federal/state partnership that establishes a location dedicated to research, monitoring, education, and environmental stewardship. A Connecticut-based LIS NERR would complement and extend many existing scientific, environmental management, and education activities through the addition of funding, resources, and expertise. A LIS NERR would also help identify and enable new directions and initiatives by leveraging nationwide programs. Connecticut is one of only two salt-water coastal states without a NERR. For more information about the process to establish a NERR for LIS, please go to the
October/November 2015 issue of Sound Outlook
as well as the
DEEP NERR webpage
. Visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's website to learn more about the
national NERR system
Wildlife Encounters - A Few Reminders on What to Do
Spring in Connecticut comes with a variety of issues related to wildlife. Here are some tips to avoid conflicts between people and wild animals:
Bears, Coyotes and Foxes:
Young animals may appear to be "orphaned" but the adult is probably close by, waiting for you to leave. It is best to leave the animal alone. If you are absolutely certain a wild animal has been injured or orphaned, before touching or moving it contact DEEP's Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011, or contact a DEEP authorized wildlife rehabilitator. To protect fragile young wildlife, people are urged to keep cats indoors and dogs on leashes. Countless numbers of rabbits, squirrels, birds and other wildlife fall prey to pets every year.
To prevent exposure to
1) Vaccinate pets against rabies and 2) Never approach any animal, domestic or wild, that is acting disoriented or is unusually tame or aggressive. Suspected rabid animals should be reported to the local police or animal control officer. If local authorities cannot be reached, contact DEEP at 860-424-3333.
Need to contact DEEP? Find the most up-to-date phone numbers for our program areas, a list of who to contact to report environmental concerns or problems, an A to Z subject directory, and other information about our agency on our Contact Us webpage.