National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s announced that a network of state-owned properties in Lyme, Old Lyme and Groton, CT and portions of the surrounding waters has been designated as the nation’s 30th National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR). The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) worked in close partnership with NOAA, the University of Connecticut (UConn), Connecticut Sea Grant (CTSG), the Connecticut Audubon Society (CAS), and numerous other organizations and individuals to lead the designation process. The resulting Connecticut NERR (CT NERR) includes the land areas of Lord Cove Natural Area Preserve, Roger Tory Peterson Natural Area Preserve (formerly Great Island Wildlife Management Area), Pine Island, Haley Farm State Park, and Bluff Point State Park, Coastal Reserve and Natural Area Preserve, as well as portions of the surrounding open-water areas of Long Island Sound and the Thames and Connecticut Rivers. It also includes the DEEP Marine District Headquarters in Old Lyme and the UConn Avery Point campus in Groton. These locations provide critical habitat for birds, fish, and other marine and coastal species of plants and animals in the region and the designation of these areas as a NERR will help provide valuable opportunities for these “living laboratories” to advance relevant efforts in environmental science, monitoring, education, and stewardship.