The past few months have been a particularly busy period at DEEP.
One of the projects we are most excited about is the launch of the Passport to Parks program, which allows those with Connecticut registered vehicles free access to our state parks, while providing a sustainable funding source for our parks through the addition of a $10 fee on non-commercial registrations.
Each year more than 9 million people visit Connecticut state parks. The parks are an economic driver for our state and the communities in which they are located. When people visit our state parks they also visit local restaurants, shops, farms, and even the occasional brewery or winery.
We have also released the Comprehensive Energy Strategy which provides a roadmap towards a cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy system. The strategies included in this document identify new tools and approaches that can help our state achieve its ambitious climate change goals, while doing so as cost-effectively as possible to benefit our residents and businesses.
Finally, and perhaps most disappointingly, is the fallout from the General Assembly sweeping a significant portion of the funding for our award-winning Connecticut Green Bank and energy efficiency programs, as well as the sweeps of all of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auction proceeds, which were supposed to be invested in Connecticut's clean energy economy. These programs have been vital to our efforts at reducing carbon emissions and helping customers and businesses lower their energy consumption.
We are working closely with the Green Bank, the Energy Efficiency Board, clean energy companies, legislators and advocates to mitigate the damage caused by those sweeps and secure the future of these vital programs.
Passport to Parks Launched, State Parks Now Free for CT Registered Vehicles
DEEP is pleased to announce the launch of the state's Passport to Parks program. This new system allows Connecticut residents with valid state license plates to access all state parks for free and provides greater financial support to the state park system.
Passport to Parks is supported through a $10 fee that is being applied through the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to non-commercial vehicles that have new registrations, renewals, and plate transfers registered.
It also allows us to give more to the public that has now invested in our park system: increased lifeguards; extended
season from opening day of fishing into fall foliage viewing; longer hours at our museums and nature centers. These are the things park visitors enjoy.
At DEEP we aim to create a positive visitor experience with a focus on safety and ensuring parks are properly maintained: from trash pickup to clean bathrooms to trail maintenance.
We are expecting 10 percent more visitors as residents take advantage of Passport to Parks. Therefore everyone's assistance is needed to install the backpacker ethic of "pack it in, pack it out" to help us manage waste.
Our state park system also provides great seasonal employment opportunities. Anyone who is interested or knows someone who would be interested in a being a lifeguard or park maintainer please fill out an application. This year our application is online at www.jobapscloud.com/ct/
For more information on the Passport to Parks program, check out the
|DEEP Releases Comprehensive Energy Strategy
Following release of the Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES) draft in July 2017, DEEP received 3,000 written and verbal comments. As the agency was finalizing the document, the state budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 resulted in diversion of $175 million from clean energy and energy-efficiency funds. As a result, DEEP further revised the CES strategies to address the urgent need for energy-efficiency funding models that can be sustained and for innovative tools to ensure that the state stays on track to improve energy productivity, reduce emissions, cultivate a robust clean energy workforce, and help customers save money on their energy bills.
- Ensure sustainable and equitable funding for efficiency.
- Advance market transformation of the energy efficiency industry.
- Grow and sustain renewable and zero-carbon generation in the state and region.
- Expand deployment of all cost-effective distributed generation ("behind the meter") programs in a sustainable manner.
- Continue to improve grid reliability and resiliency through state and regional efforts.
- Reduce transportation greenhouse gas emissions by accelerating adoption of low- and zero-emission vehicles and strengthening alternative-fueling infrastructure.
- Increase mobility, connectivity, and accessibility by advancing smart-growth, mixed-use transit-oriented development, and innovative transportation partnerships.
- Modernize the grid.
Final Resource Assessment, Appraisal, and Determination of Millstone Report
On February 1, DEEP and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority issued a
that does not settle the question of whether the Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford is profitable - but makes the facility eligible to participate in a zero-carbon electricity procurement authorized by the legislature in 2017.
The agencies said that publicly available data indicate Millstone is profitable under current and projected market condition. But they added that a limited amount of proprietary data provided by Dominion Energy, which owns the plant, raises the possibility the facility's profitability is faltering. Dominion declined to provide audited, detailed data that DEEP had requested, leaving the issue of the plant's profitability unresolved.
The draft determination indicates that further data, documenting that Millstone's finances place it "at risk", would be required if the facility's participation in the procurement process is to be weighed not merely on the basis of its energy price but on the basis that the plant is at risk of premature closure. The document notes that Millstone reactors "are critical to both Connecticut and the New England region, in terms of fuel security and meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals."
|Municipalities Line Up To Join Sustainable CT
Within weeks of its November launch, Middletown, Durham, Killingly, Greenwich, Portland, Torrington, Hamden, Hartford, Roxbury, and Madison had registered for the new municipal-sustainability certification program offered by
. Numerous other towns and cities were preparing resolutions that would allow them to follow suit.
The program's objective is to help Connecticut's diverse municipalities become more sustainable through action on: economic development, land and natural resources, cultural development, planning, transportation, infrastructure and operations, public services, housing, community equity, and innovation.
"We are thrilled that towns are already passing resolutions and registering for Sustainable CT," said Institute Director Lynn Stoddard. "Towns see great value in the voluntary roadmap of sustainability actions, additional resources to support action at the local level, recognition for their achievements, learning from peers, and sharing best practices."
Initial funding for Sustainable CT has been provided by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Common Sense Fund, and the Hampshire Foundation.
|Impact of Fund Diversion on Energy-Efficiency Programs and Green Bank
The state budget approved in late 2017 mandated that $175 million of electricity ratepayer funds designated for energy efficiency and other clean-energy programs be diverted to the CT General Fund. The diversion cut funding to the Connecticut Green Bank by half and funding for the Conservation and Load Management program by a third.
The diversion will mean major cuts in energy-efficiency and other clean-energy programs. In 2018 alone, these include:
- $2.9 million reduction in education and training for clean-energy workforce development;
- $31 million reduction in energy-efficiency upgrades for businesses, which will cost them millions of dollars in energy costs and reduce their productivity;
- $16.3 million reduction for CT Green Bank; and
- Loss of funds for weatherization upgrades for 12,900 homes - 5,600 of which are low-income households; and
- Elimination of Eversource's Clean Energy Communities program, which has provided energy-efficiency support for most of the state's municipalities.
"The diversion is disruptive to economic investments and environmental progress," said Diane Duva, Director of DEEP's Office of Energy Demand. "The state's clean-energy programs have been improving lives, making businesses more productive, and garnering national acclaim. The legislature's diversion of $175 million is extraordinarily shortsighted. It will cost the state and its residents and businesses far more than $175 million in lost energy savings, lost job growth, lost productivity, lost investment, and lost investor confidence. We will need new funding models to continue sustainably investing in clean energy."
Deputy Commissioner Mary Sotos added: "This diversion is effectively an energy tax, in that the charges on customer bills intended for clean-energy programs are now directed to the General Fund. In addition, the State had committed to the grid operator (ISO New England) that we would implement a certain amount of efficiency each year. The diversion makes it challenging to meet that commitment, and we will have to pay more to provide our share. All of this will result in higher electric bills and make it harder to meet our state carbon targets."
|Redevelopment of MIRA Facility
DEEP recently announced the selection of the Sacyr Rooney Recovery Team (SRRT) to modernize the Materials Innovation and Recycle Authority (MIRA) facility in Hartford. The facility is Connecticut's largest waste facility, currently permitted to manage one-third of the state's trash (over 700,000 tons-per-year). A new facility is needed due to the facility's aging equipment that is prone to unplanned outages.
The facility is set to undergo a transformation that will cut in half the amount of trash burned and dramatically increase the recovery of recyclable materials and organics. The environmental benefits include the recovery of over 40 percent of incoming Municipal Solid Waste for beneficial uses by employing enhanced recycling, anaerobic digestion, and composting technologies.
SRRT will present an overview of their proposal at the February 27 Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) meeting, scheduled for 9:30-11:30 am in the DEEP McCarthy Auditorium, or you can
register to participate via webinar
|CT Greenway Council Seeks Greenway Nominations
DEEP and the Connecticut Greenways Council are soliciting nominations for official state greenway designations.
The Greenways Council designation recognizes greenways as open spaces that meet the
definition of a greenway
, enhance the community and are supported by local government initiatives. Designated greenways will be listed in subsequent revisions of the State Plan of Conservation and Development and may receive increased consideration for a variety of grants. There are currently 71 designated greenways in Connecticut.
Greenways are an integral part of many communities, offering recreational opportunities, providing alternate transportation options, helping to preserve open space and local history, and supporting economic development.
For a nomination form and additional information, please visit www.ct.gov/deep/greenways.
The Greenways Council will evaluate all nominations for consistency with
. Those selected will be announced by the Greenways Council in conjunction with their National Trails Day event in June. The deadline for submission of nominations is May 1, 2018.
New Online Aquifer Protection Area Program Technical Training for Municipal Officials
DEEP is pleased to announce that the new
Aquifer Protection Area Program
Technical Training Course is now available! This FREE, online course was custom built to assist municipal Aquifer Protection Agencies and staff in meeting the training requirements under the Aquifer Protection Act. Not only does the course provide an overview of the regulatory requirements for local implementation, it also instructs agency members and staff responsible for knowing the law and assists them in complying with the law.
To gain access to the course, complete the online
Course Request Form
. Shortly after your submission, you will be emailed login details for the
CT Education Academy
, the State's workforce training platform, where you will access the course. If you need technical support, you may contact the
CT Education Academy Support Team
at the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC), our partner in developing this course.
For questions, contact
, DEEP Aquifer Protection Area Program at 860-424-3335.
Helping Your Business "Weather the Storm"
Extreme weather events are becoming more common due to climate change, and f
looding is often a result. Studies, including those by FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration find that 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and another 25% that do re-open fail. There are preventative actions businesses can take to be resilient to natural hazards.
DEEP's Pollution Prevention program has put together a two page
to help dry cleaning businesses "weather the storm." This document, which may be useful to other types of businesses as well, contains
- Information on how to locate property on FEMA Flood Maps,
- Links to guidebooks and useful websites, and
- Steps a dry cleaning business should take to make their business and property more resilient to natural hazards and reduce the risks of contamination from chemicals on-site.
The Resilient Dry Cleaner presentation
provides an overview of how extreme weather events can impact a dry cleaning business and what shop owners can do to protect their business and the environment
Snow Disposal Policy
With additional snow likely before winter ends, DEEP reminds you that the preferred practice for snow disposal is to place it on upland locations away from the edges of surface waters and wetlands and where sand and other debris remaining after snowmelt can later be removed. The risk from depositing snow directly into surface waters (e.g., rivers, wetlands, and Long Island Sound), is that dirt, salt, litter, and other debris, which are routinely mixed in the accumulated snow, can harm fish and other aquatic life. DEEP'
snow disposal policy
provides guidance on how to properly manage snow accumulations. For more information, please contact the Water Permitting and Enforcement Division Engineer of the Day at 860-424-3025.
New Mobile Phone App - About My Woods - Helps Forest Landowners, Users
Do you know what's in your woods? There's an app for that.
About My Woods
is a free mobile app that provides location-specific information about the forest and connects users to professional resources. Woodland owners in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, as well as northern New England, now have a new tool to help learn about their woods. Foresters, loggers and others who work in the woods will find it useful too. The app is full of maps, photos, brand new videos, and information and connections to professional resources.
About My Woods
is available for free in the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store, or at
The app includes:
- Location specific maps, including information on soils, land cover, protected lands, terrain, and watersheds;
- Seven brand new videos (watch them on YouTube too at the About My Woods channel) to help landowners decide how to manage their woods;
- High quality photos and text descriptions of trees, wildlife, wildflowers, shrubs, and other things you'll find in the woods;
- Connections to resource professionals that can help landowners manage their land; and
- A "Things to Know" section with information on forestry, a glossary, and references to other helpful resources.
|Water Planning Council Approves State Water Plan
On January 23, 2018, the State Water Planning Council voted unanimously to finalize the Connecticut State Water Plan and move it to the General Assembly for the next step in formal adoption. The focus of the Plan is to protect water quantity and quality for all current and future in-stream and out-of-stream uses.
This completes a two-year planning process involving numerous stakeholders, including state agencies, environmental advocacy groups, water utilities, agriculture, industry, golf courses, academia, health officials, and wastewater groups. Informational meetings were held across the state during a 120-day public comment period and a public hearing was held in October. Hundreds of comments were submitted and changes were made to the Plan in response. A Response Document detailing how they were considered was generated. The next phase of adoption will take place at the Connecticut Legislature.
The Plan will be submitted to the Governor and the Chairs of the Legislative Energy and Technology, Environment, Planning and Development, and Public Health Committees for their consideration. The committees may hold a joint hearing, and then may forward the Plan to the General Assembly for a vote, or return it to the Water Planning Council with recommendations for revisions.
Additional information on the Connecticut State Water Plan can be found at www.ct.gov/water.
|Hydrogen Refueling Infrastructure Development Program Request for Proposal
EVConnecticut's Hydrogen Refueling Infrastructure Development (H2 Fuels) Program
will provide $840,000 in reimbursement grant funding for the construction and operation of a single publically available retail hydrogen refueling station within a five-mile radius of the I-95/I-91 interchange in New Haven. Interested parties can access the H2Fuels grant program web page through the
. Qualified hydrogen producers and/or developers are encouraged to submit their proposals to
Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology
(CCAT) no later than 4:00 p.m. on April 30, 2018.
In preparation for the release of the H2 Fuels grant, DEEP and CCAT held a public meeting in Hartford on January 24th, where they heard comments and suggestions on establishing a new hydrogen fueling network within the state to support the introduction of
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs). FCEVs are electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells that are capable of traveling over 300 miles on a single fueling. Materials and comments presented at the meeting can be found on the EVConnecticut website.
|6.5 MW of Municipal Solar Power in Fairfield
With the recent arrival of solar carports at Ludlowe High School, the Town of Fairfield now has approximately 21,000 solar panels on the rooftops and grounds of 23 municipal facilities. Together, these installations have a capacity of 6.5 MW and produce about 8.5 MWh per year - more than a quarter of the electricity consumed by all municipal operations.
All of the town arrays have been installed through "power purchase agreements" (PPAs), in which developers pay the upfront cost and the municipality locks in a discount price for electricity. Scott Thompson, chair of the
Fairfield Clean Energy Task Force
, estimated that solar saves the town about $1.4 million annually.
"The [PPA] model has been exceptionally effective because it offers terrific economic upside for the town, with little risk," Thompson said. "We have done so much solar, we are about to run out of roof space and have started leveraging the solar resources of our parking lots."
Fairfield has set an aggressive goal for 2020: for renewable energy to supply 40 percent of the electricity consumed by municipal operations. Its goal for 2050 is broader and deeper: for renewables to provide 100 percent of electricity consumed by the municipality, its residences, and its businesses.
|The Connecticut Conference on Natural Resources
The 12th Annual Connecticut Conference on Natural Resources (CCNR) is a multidisciplinary conference bringing together individuals working with natural resource and environmental management in Connecticut to share research, information, and ideas. It is scheduled for March 12, 2018 at UCONN, Storrs Campus.
is now open.
The conference features a mix of professional and informal forums to promote information exchange, networking, a sense of community regarding Connecticut's natural resources, and recognize achievements of dedicated individuals and groups. The theme is "Coastal Resiliency" and Erik Eckl of Water Words that Work LLC and Oceanographer David Gallo are the featured speakers.
|Report Bobcat Sightings
Connecticut residents are asked to report bobcat observations as part of the Wildlife Division's new Bobcat Research Project. Observations can be recorded at iNaturalist; by sending an email to email@example.com; or posting a message or photo on the Connecticut Fish and Wildlife Facebook page. Eligible reports can be live sightings, roadkilled or deceased bobcats, or signs and tracks of bobcats. When reporting an observation, please provide a date of when the sighting took place, town, number of individuals observed, and whether any individuals had ear tags or a collar.
|Electrify America Requesting ZEV Infrastructure and Education Recommendations
As part of the Volkswagen (VW)
with the federal government, VW must make a significant national investment in zero emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure and brand-neutral ZEV awareness and education.
Electrify America LLC
, the subsidiary managing VW's national ZEV investment plans, is now implementing the
first of four 30-month investment cycles. Electrify America is currently looking for proposals, comments, and recommendations to inform their
second investment cycle
. This is a fantastic opportunity for municipalities and businesses to provide data and other information to help guide
Electrify America's next investment cycle. Additional details are available on the
Electrify America website
. All selected projects will be funded by
Electrify America and operated as part of the Electrify America network. If you are interested in this opportunity, please submit your proposals directly through the
Electrify America website
by March 1st.
To stay up to date on the latest VW news happening in Connecticut, visit DEEP's VW webpage or follow DEEP's Drive Clean CT Facebook page.
|What's IN, What's OUT
Last fall, DEEP in partnership with Winters Brothers, MIRA, USA Hauling & Recycling/AMH, Willimantic Waste and City Carting, created a universal list of acceptable items to standardize residential recycling across Connecticut. The "What's IN, What's OUT" initiative eliminates the need for guesswork about what goes into the blue recycling bin and what should be put in the garbage.
The public outreach effort to increase awareness of recycling rules is being spearheaded by The RecycleCT Foundation, a state-chartered fund that combines public and private resources to support the state's recycling goals. The outreach is built around the theme of "What's IN, What's OUT" and information for residents, municipalities and haulers about it can be found at www.recyclect.com.
The website offers:
- A mobile-friendly widget that provides a quick answer to questions about what can and can't be recycled;
- Short videos to highlight recycling issues;
- Material that cities, towns and haulers can download, customize and print to share with their residents or residential customers, including a brochure with a convenient list of items that can be recycled.
- Social media messages for Facebook and Twitter that playfully highlight the "What's IN, What's OUT" theme.
For further details regarding this initiative, please contact
Interactive Resource Map for Saltwater Anglers
Using an online Geographic Information System (GIS), the DEEP Marine Fisheries Program launched a new resource, compatible with mobile and web browsers, to use when searching for not only saltwater fishing spots, but also for locations of bait and tackle shops, places to obtain a fishing license, lists of captains of marinas to charter a boat, and boat launches with access to Long Island Sound. The Connecticut Angler's Guide is also accessible through these maps.
The feature most highlighted by the Marine Fisheries Program is the "popular places to fish" section which indicates, by shading sections in pink, the areas historically known as good fishing spots for Connecticut anglers. The pink-shaded areas also identify which types of fish are typically caught in the location.
|Title V Reporting Survey: Results
Building on the successful transition of nearly 100% of
General Permit to Limit Potential to Emit (GPLPE)
sources to electronic reporting through EMIT, Connecticut's web-based emissions reporting application, DEEP seeks to pursue mandatory electronic reporting for
Title V sources
as well. Before streamlining its reporting requirements, DEEP asked for feedback from Title V stakeholders through a brief online survey.
The online survey was open from mid-November through mid-December 2017, and achieved an impressive 83% response rate. The survey results demonstrated:
Based on the overall outcome of the survey, DEEP will provide all Title V sources with pre-filled Compliance Certification forms at the time of Title V permit issuance/renewal/revision. DEEP also plans to require mandatory electronic submission (in EMIT) of all Title V reports starting in 2019. For additional information on this topic, view DEEP's Title V Reporting Survey: Results SIPRAC presentation.
- All Title V sources consider pre-filled Compliance Certifications to be useful, as long as there are no formatting issues.
- The vast majority of sources are also willing to switch to mandatory electronic reporting in EMIT.
- A few facilities identified some concerns and oppose mandatory electronic reporting. (DEEP plans to individually work with these facilities to address their concerns.)
Wildlife Encounters - A Few Reminders on What to Do
Spring in Connecticut comes with a variety of issues related to wildlife. Following are some tips to avoid conflicts between people and wild animals.
Bears, Coyotes, and Foxes:
Do not approach or try to feed
. Remove any food sources, such as garbage, pet food, bird feeders and suet, from yards. Report any bears on DEEP's
Bear Sighting Form
. Print out an informational
Be Bear Aware
poster for use at parks, campgrounds, etc. and
a sign for hiking trails
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
, vaccinate pets against rabies and 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.
|Swan Warning for Boaters during Nesting Season (Late March - June)
While nesting and raising young, swans will aggressively defend their territories against perceived threats, including people in small water crafts. With wingspans that can reach six feet long, swans are capable of causing serious injury and possibly tipping over small boats. For protection, stay away from nests, give swans a wide berth, and always wear a life jacket. The Wildlife Division has developed a
swan warning sign
(PDF) that can be downloaded from the DEEP website, laminated, and installed near a swan nesting territory to caution boaters and encourage them to avoid the swans.
|Pollution Prevention for the Garment Care and Dry Cleaning Industry
New information is available on DEEP's Pollution Prevention Program webpage for the
Garment Care and Dry Cleaning Industry including:
- Frequently Asked Questions for CT Dry Cleaners - contains information in an easy-to-read format to help dry cleaners prevent pollution, use best management practices and understand environmental regulations that affect dry cleaning operations.
- Part 1 - answers questions on Connecticut's Air & Waste Environmental Regulations and Wastewater Discharge Regulations;
- Part 2 - focuses on property transfer environmental issues when buying and selling a dry cleaning business, and also on preventing pollution by reducing chemicals and risks.
|Report Details Participation in Fish and Wildlife Activities
The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation is a partnership effort with state agencies and national conservation organizations and one of the most important sources of information on fish and wildlife recreation in the United States. The survey has been conducted nearly every five years since 1955. Takeaways include:
- In 2016, 101.6 million Americans 16 years of age and older (40% of the U.S. population) enjoyed some form of fishing, hunting, or wildlife- associated recreation.
- More than 35.8 million Americans fished in 2016, while 11.5 million hunted and 86 million watched wildlife.
- Sportsmen and women spent $41.7 billion on equipment, $30.9 billion on trips, and $7.8 billion on licenses and fees, membership dues and contributions, land leasing and ownership, and plantings for hunting. On average, each sportsperson spent $2,034 in 2016.
DEEP Job Applications Go Paperless
The State of Connecticut has implemented a new job applicant tracking system called JobAps for all Executive Branch employment opportunities. With this system the state has officially moved away from using a paper application
to an electronic application. Applicants now have a single, online source to explore and pursue State employment in a more efficient, intuitive, mobile, and simplified manner.
Among many new features, applicants can efficiently search and apply for current job openings on-line via a mobile-friendly website and receive e-mail notices about the status of each application. This exciting technology solution allows DEEP's hiring process to be greener and more efficient, as well as providing a simplified and streamlined application procedure for prospective employees. Further information, including all permanent and seasonal job openings, can be found on the JobAps
Online Employment Center
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.