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Your Environmental Connection

News for Connecticut's Businesses & Municipalities
October 2015
Message  from  
Commissioner Klee

If you visit our web homepage and look very carefully, you will notice a new feature.  It is an addition to the series of orange buttons that run across that page labeled "Online Services."
 
If you click on that button it takes you to a complete list of services we now offer on-line - from permits for commercial activities, to licenses you need for fishing and hunting, to proceedings you can follow, and even to shop in the DEEP store.
 
We've added this button to our homepage because we know all of you want the convenience and 24-hour access that online services provide.  The number of ways you can do business with DEEP electronically has grown - a nd we intend to keep expanding it to serve you better.
 
Rob
In This Issue




 

 
 
 


DRAFT RFP to Modernize the Connecticut Solid Waste System

DEEP has released a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) to redevelop Hartford's waste-to-energy plant and other facilities owned by the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA). The final RFP, which will call for plans to dramatically increase recycling and decrease the incineration of waste, will be issued later this fall and will launch an eighteen-month process to identify a developer for the system of facilities known as the Connecticut Solid Waste System Project. More information, including the draft RFP, is available at www.ct.gov/deep/ResourceRediscovery. Comments on the draft are welcome through October 27, 2015.
Outdoor Wood-Fired Furnace Incentive Program: Round 2 
   
Coming off the success of Round 1 where seventeen outdoor wood-fired furnaces (OWF) were taken out of service, DEEP is offering another round of funding for the Good Deals for Good Neighbors program. This program provides funding to Connecticut residents and businesses to remove and/or replace older, dirtier OWFs.  An OWF is essentially a wood-fired boiler in a small, insulated shed with a smoke stack. 
   
With winter right around the corner, now is a great time to upgrade (or get rid of) OWFs. Because of the smoky air pollution they can emit, people living with or near OWFs are affected the most. One of the best ways to reduce your exposure to this pollution is to use cleaner, more efficient wood heaters (or remove them entirely).  DEEP's incentive program offers either $3,000 for the removal (scrapping) of an existing OWF; or $6,000 for the removal of an existing OWF and replacement with a new certified OWF that meets the program's requirements. Please note that this program does not cover indoor wood-fired furnaces or indoor wood stoves. If this sounds like a good deal to you, then please hurry! The application deadline is October 30, 2015.
Grants to Municipalities for the Control of Aquatic Invasives

DEEP is making grants available for aquatic invasive species abatement diagnostic feasibility studies and aquatic invasive species control and management projects on inland waters of Connecticut. Invasive aquatic species can directly harm the state's aquatic natural resources, and decrease the recreational, aesthetic, and economic values of those resources. The goal of this program is to conserve the state's resources by providing additional opportunities for controlling and/or preventing the establishment of aquatic invasive species. Only municipalities are eligible to receive grants through this program; up to $150,000 will be provided in FY 2016 to fund eligible studies and projects. Detailed information on eligible projects and the proposal submission process are on the DEEP website . The proposal deadline is Monday, November 9, 2015, at 4:00 pm.
Hydrilla (photo: Army Corps of Engineers)

Highly Invasive Hydrilla Found in Coventry Lake

In late September, DEEP announced that a very highly invasive aquatic plant has been found in Coventry Lake (Wangumbaug Lake) in Coventry. An aquatic plant biology class at the University of Connecticut found several fragments near the boat launch that was confirmed as hydrilla. Hydrilla, which is not native to the United States, has become a major problem in southeastern states and is beginning to spread into the Northeast. Hydrilla spreads aggressively; forms dense mats of vegetation; easily outcompetes and displaces native plants; alters aquatic habitats; interferes with recreational activities; and is very difficult to control once established.
 
The source of the plant fragments is unclear at this time and DEEP is currently arranging to have Coventry Lake surveyed to determine the extent of the hydrilla infestation, as well as the most effective control method. Additionally, DEEP's Boating Division will increase staff presence at the boat launch to inspect boats and trailers and to provide information on invasive species and proper boat decontamination methods. Read the full news release for more information and precautions for boaters, anglers, and other recreational users to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals, including hydrilla.
RecycleCT Offering Grants to Schools  
Recent legislation, P.A. 14-94, called for the creation of the RecycleCT Foundation to raise public awareness and participation in recycling.  The RecycleCT Foundation has begun by promoting the importance of recycling and encouraging people, government entities, businesses, and organizations to adopt recycling as part of their everyday lives or operations. DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee, who serves as Chairman of RecycleCT, said the new foundation has launched its first major effort: a recycling grant program focused on schools.  schoolbus-line.jpg
 
The grants are open to all CT-based K-12 schools, with preference f o r schools registered with the CT GreenLeaf Schools program. Maximum grant i s $1,500, which can be used to fund projects from field trips to the purchasin g of equipment for staff to better comply with recycling requirements. Grant applications are due November 15, 2015.  More information at www.RecycleCT.org
Brownfield Grants Available

Connecticut's  Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has grant funds to help encourage the remediation of brownfield sites. Cleaning up and redeveloping these contaminated properties protects human health and the environment and helps our state's economy to grow by transforming vacant or underutilized sites into community assets.   A total of $6.5 million will be earmarked for remediation projects and $1 million will be for assessment projects. Eligible applicants (municipalities and economic development agencies) can request up to $2 million for remediation projects and $200,000 for assessment projects. Awards may be used for a range of brownfield assessment, remediation and redevelopment activities, including abatement, demolition, site investigation and assessment, groundwater monitoring, installation of institutional controls, and professional services fees associated with redevelopment.
 
Funding of up to $1 million is also available to develop a comprehensive implementation plan for the remediation and redevelopment of neighborhoods, districts, corridors, downtowns, waterfront zones or other areas with multiple brownfields. Eligible applicants for this funding include municipalities, economic development agencies and regional council of governments. Grant applicants can request funding of up to $200,000. Further details on application criteria for both grant programs are available at www.ctbrownfields.gov .  Applications must be submitted via email no later than 4 p.m. on November 16, 2015.

Free Webinars on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

The Governor's Council on Climate Change has launched an innovative webinar series focusing on how municipalities, businesses, and other organizations across North America are leading on climate change. The series kicked off in September with a presentation on the Stamford 2030 District, followed by one this earlier this week on land use policies to protect the climate. Other scheduled webinars include presentations on:
  • goNewHavengo, a program to encourage clean transportation in the Elm City (Oct. 23);
  • BGreen 2020, a Bridgeport public-private partnership on sustainability (Oct. 30);
  • Equity Work Group, a Portland, Oregon project to identify opportunities to enhance the benefits of climate change programs and policies for all residents (Nov. 4);
  • California PATHWAYS, a project to develop long-term greenhouse gas reduction scenarios for the Golden State (Nov. 20); and
  • Boston Green Ribbon Commission, a public-private partnership to share ideas, monitor progress, and engage key sectors in implementation of the city's Climate Action Plan (Dec. 1).
The webinars are free but registration is required. ( Full descriptions, registration info, and a list of other upcoming webinars) To sign up for webinar announcements or suggest a topic for a future webinar, e-mail deep.climatechange@ct.gov.
Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge Proposed Plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has released a draft comprehensive plan and environmental impact statement for the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, the nation's first watershed based, landscape-scale refuge which conserves more than 36,000 acres throughout the 7.2 million acre Connecticut River watershed in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. The plan, when final, will guide management of the refuge for a period of 15 years. It is available for public review and comment through November 16, 2015.

Several informal public informational meetings were held during August and September. Four formal public hearings are scheduled for November to provide an opportunity for individuals to present oral comments. One of the public hearings will be held in Connecticut at the DEEP Wildlife Division's Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area on November 12, from 6:00 PM-8:00 PM. Sessions Woods is located at 341 Milford Street (Route 69) in Burlington. Visit the Silvio O. Conte webpage on the USFWS website to review the draft plan and obtain a complete list of dates, times, and locations of all meetings and hearings.
New Children's Book on Air Quality Now Available

As part of an outreach and education effort, DEEP, along with the University of Connecticut Healthy Environments for Children Initiative, has developed a children's book on air quality, titled Casey's Clean Air Week . The purpose of this book is to teach young children (approximately 4 to 7 years old) about the importance of clean air to protect both human health and the environment. The book advises children and adults of simple steps they can take to help prevent or reduce air pollution when using cars. A companion parent/guardian/teacher guide and children's activity book is available, which includes suggestions for adults who read the book to children, activities for children to reinforce the educational messages in the book, and additional information about actions adults can take to improve air quality.
 
Casey's Clean Air Week is available as a flipbook or a pdfPrinted copies of the book and companion guide are being distributed to Connecticut public and private elementary schools, libraries, day care centers, and pediatric offices. There may be a limited number of additional copies available for Connecticut educators, day care providers and pediatric offices upon request. To request a printed copy of the book or guide, please contact the Bureau of Air Management's Compliance Analysis & Coordination Unit at 860-424-4152.
Busting Green Cleaning Myths
 
DEEP has released a new video that focuses on the hazards of toxic cleaners and the need for compliance with state laws mandating the use of "green" cleaning products in schools.  It is a part of DEEP's "Wastebusters" series, which parodies a popular cable television show. The video was a cooperative effort between DEEP's Office of Pollution Prevention, the CT Department of Public Health (DPH), and Middlesex Community College with funding from the U.S. EPA.
 
Connecticut's green cleaning law was put in place to protect students and school staff members from indoor air quality issues that can impact health, e.g., cleaning products triggering asthma attacks.  The video was created to help address the problems associated with parents and teachers bringing toxic cleaners into schools. By using humor, the video works to convince everyone that green cleaning products work as well as regular cleaners - and are safer for people's health and the environment.  To view or share the video:  CTDEEPVideos on YouTube or CT DPH's schools webpage.
Guidance for Vehicle Repair Facilities and Fueling Stations

Many different types of fluids and parts are required to keep vehicles running - but if these are improperly managed, they can have a negative impact on air and water quality. Improper management can also expose employees to hazardous chemicals and lead to fines and increased liability for a business or municipality. DEEP has a compilation of fact sheets, known as Pit Stops, which includes environmental regulations and BMPs pertaining to vehicle repair and fueling. The Petroleum Storage and Dispensing and Waste Tanks, Filters and Fuel Fact Sheets have been recently updated and a new fact sheet was created to provide further guidance for fueling stations located in aquifer protection areas.
Municipal Summit on Climate Change and Sustainability

This daylong event recently held in Middletown was organized by the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE), co-sponsored by DEEP, and attended by more than 100 people from across the state. It featured a rich set of speakers from a dozen Connecticut municipalities and organizations as well as special presentations on New Jersey's statewide sustainability initiative. Topics included:
A complete set of presentations is available on ISE's web page.

Energize Connecticut Center Now Open in North Haven

The Energize Connecticut Center, which opened this summer, is an interactive, professionally staffed facility focused on energy education. The facility features energy displays and exhibits, a meeting and event room, a resource library, and student and adult tours that empower Connecticut residents and businesses to use energy wisely while keeping an eye on the environment. It is located at 122 Universal Drive in North Haven, near Panera Bread in the Target shopping center. For full details and contact info, visit http://EnergizeCT.com/Center.
Avian Influenza - Reporting Dead Wild Birds

Current scientific evidence indicates that outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI; bird flu) usually involve the death of a large number of waterfowl or shorebirds as opposed to individual birds that people may find on their property. As a result, when it comes to surveillance of dead wild birds as an early detection measure, DEEP will primarily focus on events that involve large numbers of birds. At this time, individual birds that are found dead will not be routinely tested especially if they are backyard birds - robins, sparrows, pigeons, cardinals, etc. - which are not considered to be highly susceptible to bird flu. DEEP is, however, interested in all mortality events and will follow up on those that are indicative of a potential HPAI or other wildlife disease outbreak.

Help monitor wild bird populations in Connecticut by reporting sightings of dead wild birds to the Wild Bird Mortality Database.   More information on Avian Influenza and details on what to do if you encounter dead wild birds are on DEEP's Avian Influenza webpage.
State Parks Update
 
Connecticut's State Park System concluded its Centennial celebration in late 2014.  In the twelve months since, the first full year of Park's second century, two new state parks have been added to the system. The first was Seaside
View along the shore at Seaside State Park
State Park in the fall of 2014. Located in Waterford it is the first new coastal park along Long Island Sound since 1963. The Seaside property was the former site of the Seaside Sanatorium. A Master Planning initiative of the beautiful 34 acres is underway and provides the public opportunity to voice their thoughts about future development and recreational use of the site and its structures which date from the earliest use in the 1930s. A Master Plan presentation in PDF format is available on-line for public review.  Seaside became State Park number 108.
 
In April 2015, Governor Malloy announced that Connecticut had acquired 40 acres of land in Bloomfield to be preserved for public open space and known as Auerfarm State Park Scenic Reserve, State Park number 109. This unique property was a gift of the granddaughter of Beatrice Fox Auerbach, co-founder of the G. Fox Department Store. The park is the new neighbor to the abutting 4-H farm. Within weeks of the announcement, DEEP integrated the location into its family based Great Park Pursuit (GPP) program and 200 families enjoyed Parks' newest landscape of woodlands and rolling hills. Positioned ideally in southwest Bloomfield, Auerfarm provides connectivity to Talcott Mountain State Park and thousands of acres of Metropolitan District Commission reservoir lands.
Hayrides through the meadows at Auerfarm State Park were a favorite of GPP participants in June 2015
2015 Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Species List

DEEP is required to review and update the Connecticut Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Species List every five years in accordance with the Endangered Species Act that was passed in 1989. The Act recognizes the importance of our state's plant and animal populations and the need to protect them from threats that could lead to their extinction. The last update was done in 2010, and the most current revision for 2015 revision is now complete and became effective on August 5, 2015.

Visit DEEP's Endangered Species webpage to view the 2015 Endangered Species Brochure, a summary of recent change, and other information about endangered species in Connecticut.
 
New England Cottontail Saved from Extinction

New England Cottontail
 (photo: Paul J. Fusco)
On September 11, 2015, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewe ll announced that a public-private partnership that united foresters, farmers, bird watchers, biologists, hunters, and other conservationists has saved the New England cottontail from needing protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. The once common New England cottontail was classified as a candidate for Endangered Species Act protection beginning in 2006 when widespread habitat loss greatly impacted its population. Voluntary restoration ef forts on private lands played a critical role in increasing and connecting young forest habitat to over 4,400 acres by removing trees and invasive sp ecies, planting native shrubs, and creating brush piles.

Connecticut has been engaged in all facets of the New England Cottontail Regional Initiative since its inception in 2009. Although DEEP is celebrating the success of efforts to date, work will continue for many years to ensure long-term stability of the New England cottontail. Visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's New England Cottontail Conservation webpage for more information about conservation efforts of Connecticut's only native rabbit.
Pollinators in Connecticut

You may be familiar with the pollinating habits of bees and butterflies, but there are many others to explore, such as flies, beetles, moths, and wasps. All are necessary for the variety of flowers, fruits, and vegetables that we enjoy every day.
Unfortunately, pollinators of all kinds are in decline in Connecticut and around the world, but you can help! You can improve pollinator habitat by taking simple steps to manage your property to be pollinator-friendly. Learn about pollination and the many pollinators found in Connecticut by visiting DEEP's new Pollinators in Connecticut webpage . Take part in improving the pollinator population in our state that is vital to the production of fruits, nuts, and vegetables.


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.