Coastal Habitats

2022 Long Island Sound Research Conference Announced

  • Clean waters and healthy watershed
  • Thriving habitats and abundant wildlife
  • Sustainable and resilient communities
  • Sound science and inclusive management

Deadline for abstract submissions is April 8, 2022. Registration deadline is May 6, 2022.

Download the flier here. Information: syma.ebbin@uconn.edu

Watch for more details!

#DoOneThing theme of 2021 #DontTrashLISound campaign

The Connecticut Sea Grant program, joined by volunteers from Save the Sound, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk and other groups, will launch the fifth annual #DontTrashLISound

campaign with a cleanup at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport on Aug. 16.

This year’s campaign, run by the Connecticut and New York Sea Grant programs with support from the Long Island Sound Study, will run through International Coastal Cleanup Day on Sept. 18. It will consist of cleanup events in both states, social media posts and giveaways of “Protect Our Wildlife” stickers for reusable water bottles and travel mugs.

The theme of this year’s campaign, #DoOneThing, encourages people to take at least one action to reduce litter on streets, parks and beaches before it gets carried into waterways and ultimately Long Island Sound. Social media posts will emphasize positive steps people are taking to address the problem.

“Campaigns like this one help keep people aware of the larger marine debris problem affecting Long Island Sound,” said Nancy Balcom, associate director of Connecticut Sea Grant. “They also help people focus on doable actions that we can all undertake with as much or as little effort as we have time to commit.”

For information on cleanup events, visit: https://www.savethesound.org/2021cleanup/

For information on the #DontTrashLISound campaign and how to obtain “Protect Our Wildlife” stickers, email CT Sea Grant Communications Coordinator Judy Benson at: judy.benson@uconn.edu

Teacher Webinar Offered on Long Island Sound Habitats

Sarah Crosby, director of Harbor Watch at Earth Place, collects data on grasses at a salt marsh in Groton in July as part of Connecticut Sea Grant-funded research project.
Sarah Crosby, director of Harbor Watch at Earth Place, collects data on grasses at a salt marsh in Groton in July as part of Connecticut Sea Grant-funded research project. Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

A new educational tool for teachers will be showcased in an Aug. 19 webinar sponsored by the Long Island Sound Study national estuary program and its partners Connecticut Sea Grant (CTSG) and New York Sea Grant (NYSG).

Titled “A Spotlight on Long Island Sound Habitats,” the webinar will showcase a Next Generation Science Standards-based StoryMap focused on highlighting habitats within the Long Island Sound watershed and some of the ‘phenomena’ observed or work done in those regions.

This webinar will feature:

  • A walkthrough of the StoryMap by NYSG and CTSG
  • A Q&A panel with expert Long Island Sound researchers and resource managers
  • A break-out session for teachers to explore the resource with each other and exchange ideas about how to incorporate the tool into the classroom

This educator webinar is suitable for anyone interested in learning about LIS habitats and this new educational tool showcasing them for students. Teachers and educators in New York and Connecticut are especially encouraged to join in!

It will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. on Aug. 19 via Zoom. Attendance is free, but registration is required.

Register at: https://cornell.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEsc-msqzktHNEI–kS11fyDH_5AwjwdDiE

**Certificates of attendance will be provided upon request.**

For more information, contact Diana Payne, CT Sea Grant education coordinator, at: diana.payne@uconn.edu; or Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, N.Y. Sea Grant Long Island Sound outreach coordinator, at:  jbp255@cornell.edu.

1st marine economics fellow to focus on natural coastal resources

Ethan Addicott
Ethan Addicott

By Judy Benson

Oversimplified, shoreline beaches are where the sand meets the sea.
Too often, this two-dimensional view has become the foundation of efforts to restore storm and erosion-battered beaches on Long Island Sound and other coastal areas. These projects mainly seek to widen the flat open sand swathe to maintain maximum recreational worth and protect nearby areas from storm and flood damage. Dune grass, beach pea, and the dunes these and other plants inhabit along the shore have largely been left out of the equation.

But thanks to a new marine and coastal economics fellowship created by Connecticut Sea Grant, a Yale University doctoral candidate will spend the next year and a half developing restoration tools that account for the real-world complexity and value of natural and manmade features beyond the sand. The fellowship is funded with $20,000 of the federal funds allocated to CT Sea Grant.

“I’ve been interested in coastal ecosystems since I was young, growing up in Miami,” said Ethan Addicott, 29, who is pursuing his doctorate in environmental and resource economics at Yale and was chosen for the fellowship post. “I’m working to quantify the relationship between healthy dune ecosystems and property values, to enhance the relationship between natural resources and management decision making.”

CT Sea Grant Director Sylvain De Guise said Addicott’s project will accomplish the two main goals of the new fellowship. It was created to help train a new generation of students in marine and coastal economics, and to give coastal communities new resources to draw on in making decisions about threatened coastal areas.

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Sen. Blumenthal Seeks Funding for CT River Hydrilla Control

Sen. Richard Blumenthal
Sen. Richard Blumenthal talks about the threat of the invasive aquatic plant hydrilla to the Connecticut River at an event in Middletown on June 3.  Judy Preston / Connecticut Sea Grant

Sen. Richard Blumenthal announced on June 3 that he is leading an effort to secure $100 million over four years in federal funding for a multistate effort to control hydrilla in the Connecticut River watershed.

In an event at Harbor Park in Middletown, Blumenthal said he is seeking an urgent fiscal year 2022 appropriation for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Aquatic Nuisance Research Program and the Aquatic Plant Control Program to create a task force to control Hydrilla verticillata.

The invasive plant has spread exponentially throughout the Connecticut River, from Agawam, MA., to Essex, CT. The hydrilla in the Connecticut River has been shown through genetic testing to be a type not previously found in the United States. Hydrilla poses a great risk to the wetland ecosystems, public drinking water supplies and recreational and tourism industries in New England and New York state, according to information from Blumenthal’s office.

The task force would be centered in Connecticut and led by the Army Corps, the Aquatic Invasive Species Program of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. It would create and implement a strategic Plan of Action that would:

  • prevent further spread
  • mitigate hydrilla’s affects
  • eradicate where feasible
  • monitor to ensure rapid response to future occurrences

Connecticut Sea Grant has joined 14 other government agencies, environmental and community groups thus far in support of Blumenthal’s efforts. Connecticut Sea Grant’s letter of support can be found here.  An informational article from Sen. Blumenthal’s office can be found here.

hydrilla
Hydrilla growing in the Connecticut River

 

group of people standing infront of CT river
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, second from left, joins representatives of some of the 15 groups that are thus far supporting the efforts to obtain funding for control of hydrilla in the Connecticut River. Judy Preston / Connecticut Sea Grant

 

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Healthy Soils to be Focus of 2021 Coastal Certificate Program

This year’s Coastal Certificate Program will take place virtually over four days in mid-May. Led by Judy Preston, CT Sea Grant’s Long Island Sound outreach coordinator, this year’s classes will emphasize healthy soils at the root of healthy gardens, landscapes, and ultimately the watersheds that are essential to clean waters and a healthy Sound.

The classes will also look at how soils fuel diverse gardens that sustain wildlife, including pollinators. Co-sponsored by Maggie Redfern, assistant director of the Connecticut College Arboretum, it will also feature guest speakers.

The classes will be from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on May 11, 13, 18 and 20. Class is limited to 35 students.

To register, visit: https://mastergardener.uconn.edu and go to the Garden Master Course Catalog: https://uconnmastergardeners.gosignmeup.com/Public/Course/Browse

For information, contact: Judy Preston at: judy.preston@uconn.edu; (860) 395-8335

Download a pdf of the flier here.

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LIS Blue Plan now in hands of CT Legislature

bull kelp in ocean looking up towards surfaceThe Long Island Sound Blue Plan, a marine spatial plan for what many consider the state’s most valuable natural resource, has been voted out of the state Legislature’s Environment Committee and awaits a vote in the full House and Senate. Read about the plan and why many believe it should be approved in articles by CT Sea Grant Communications Coordinator Judy Benson published March 5 in Connecticut Hearst Media newspapers, March 7 in The Day of New London and March 10 in the Connecticut Mirror.

Read the article published in The Day here.

Read the article published in CT Hearst Media newspapers here.

Read the article published in the Connecticut Mirror here.

The Long Island Sound Blue Plan can be found here.

‘Right Trees for the Right Time’ series begins March 10

Connecticut Sea Grant is joining with the Avalonia Land Conservancy and UConn CLEAR in presenting, “Finding the Right Trees for the Right Time,” a series of four talks about planning and planting for a resilient coastal forest in southeastern Connecticut. The series begins March 10, culminating in a June 9 presentation by Juliana Barrett, coastal habitat specialist for CT Sea Grant, titled, “Brave New Worlds for Trees: Assisted Migration and the Study of Hoffman Preserve.”

The series is part of a larger project focusing on Avalonia’s Hoffman Preserve, a 200-acre forest in Stonington.

Download the series flyer here.

To register for the series, visit: https://clear.uconn.edu/webinars/schedule.htm

words over a lake background

Connecticut Sea Grant’s Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report

Men shoveling-CTSG 2020 annual report coverConnecticut Sea Grant’s Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report is now available. With photos, graphics, and summaries of many  projects and initiatives, it’s a great way to get a quick overview of Connecticut Sea Grant‘s programs. It is available here.

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25th season of Coastal Perspective Lectures Announced

Skip Finley
Skip Finley

The 25th season of the Coastal Perspectives Lectures will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 9 with a presentation by author and historian Skip Finley titled, “A Voyage of Discovery with Skip Finley.”

This annual lecture series spans the breadth of human interactions with coastal waters, including speakers from the natural and social sciences as well as arts and humanities. It is sponsored  by Connecticut Sea Grant, the UConn Department of Marine Sciences, the UConn Maritime Studies program and the UConn Avery Point Director’s Office.

Author of the recently published book, Whaling Captains of Color – America’s First Meritocracy, Finley will tell the story of how whaling was the first American industry to exhibit any diversity, where a man could rise to the ranks of captain based on skill, not skin color. His book features stories from the lives of over 50 whaling captains of color. Join Skip as he shares some of the stories he uncovered during his ‘voyage of discovery’ and paints a picture of the career paths of whalers.

Cover of "Whaling Captains of Color: America's First Meritocracy"The lectures, which are free and open to the public, will take place virtually for spring 2021 at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays through April 20. Log-information will be available at: https://marinesciences.uconn.edu/lectures/. Guidance on using WebEx (our online platform) can be found at: JPG PDF

If organizers are able to move to in-person lectures, they will be held in the UConn Avery Point Auditorium, 1084 Shennecossett Road, Groton, CT. Please email CoastalPerspectives@uconn.edu if you have questions about accommodations. [campus map]

For more information or to be added to our email list, send an email to CoastalPerspectives@uconn.edu.

For more information on “A Voyage of Discovery with Skip Finley,” can be found here.

The rest of the series will include:

  • Feb. 23, Andrew Kahrl, professor of history and African American Studies, University of Virginia, “The Struggle toReclaim Connecticut’s Coastal Commons.” Kahrl will discuss his book “Free the Beaches: The Story of Ned Coll and the Battle for America’s Most Exclusive Shoreline, which recounts the history of coastal development, beach privatization, and racial segregation in twentieth-century Connecticut and the struggle to restore public access to the state’s shoreline from the 1970s to the present. He will also discuss the social and environmental impact of exclusionarypublic policies on the state’s coastline and its future implications. More information about his presentation can be found here.
  • March 9, Chris Bowser, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program and the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, “The Hudson River
    The Avery Point lighthouse looks out over Long Island Sound and Ledge Light at the mouth of the Thames River.
    The Avery Point lighthouse looks out over Long Island Sound and Ledge Light at the mouth of the Thames River. Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

    Eel Project: Fish Conservation through Community Engagement.” Learn more about the mysterious American eel (glass eel). Bowser will introduce the world of glass eels, touch on the international cultural aspects of eels, as well as dive deep into the community science work characterizing glass eel populations on the Hudson River and how that community science-based data are applied to conservation efforts. More information on his presentation can be found here.

  • March 23 and April 6, speakers to be determined. Check back at: https://marinesciences.uconn.edu/lectures/.
  • April 20, Margaret Gibson, Connecticut state poet laureate and UConn professor emerita; and David K. Leff, poet, lecturer and former deputy commissioner of CT DEEP, “Rousing the Ecological Imagination through Poetry.” Poetry is a means by which people can deeply connect with the world around them.  Ecology is a science of connection.  As we rush headlong into the Anthropocene, earth’s complex systems are increasingly lashed to and influenced by human activity. If the delicate balances among the planet’s organisms and habitats are to survive, humanity has to be roused to good stewardship. Poetry’s fresh images and concise, musical language has the voltage to strike that emotional chord supporting science and public policy by rousing consciousness, amplifying compassion. More information about this presentation can be found here.

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