The collapse of the lobster fishery in the late 1990s forced many lobstering families to find alternative ways to make a living on the water. While many transitioned into shellfish aquaculture, one lobsterman was interested in adding a new crop into his business: sugar kelp. DJ King (King Lobsters) cultivates shellfish and sugar kelp on his underwater leases. Anoushka Concepcion and Connecticut Sea Grant staff have been working with Mr. King, and others, to find successful ways to expand kelp farming in Long Island Sound. In this video, Mr. King briefly explains why he made the transition into kelp farming, what he most enjoys about farming kelp and some of the challenges he faces.
The Fall-Winter 2022-2023 issue of Wrack Lines is filled with articles and images telling stories around the theme of “Looking Ahead: people and projects shaping the future.”
The magazine leads with the first in what will be a series of articles about offshore wind development impacting Connecticut, followed by the inspiring story of how a dying forest was replanted for climate resilience. Next, a profile of longtime marine educator Tim Visel tells about his lasting impact on Connecticut schools and students. Lastly, the complex challenge of dealing with Contaminants of Emerging Concern is examined, with descriptions of how Sea Grant is involved and the particularly troublesome group of substances called PFAS.
Individual articles can be found below:
Original Publication by CT Sea Grant: https://seagrant.uconn.edu/?p=9850
Connecticut Sea Grant has published their Fall-Winter 2021-2022 issue of Wrack Lines magazine. The theme is “Discovery, Rediscovery and Rebirth”. It can be found in print and online here.
The lead article package describes the Connecticut Estuarine Research Reserve (CT NERR), a collection of the waters and lands at the lower Connecticut River and the lower Thames River, along with Bluff Point and Haley Farm State Parks, and its expected designation in early 2022.
Additional articles tell the story of researchers’ work to pinpoint the cause of the invasive seaweed problem plaguing Little Narragansett Bay in Stonington, and of the top-to-bottom redesign underway at one of Connecticut’s storied educational institutions, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven.
In the early 1990s Connecticut Sea Grant published popular guidebooks of Long Island Sound called Living Treasures: The Plants and Animals of Long Island Sound and Tesoros Vivientes: Las plantas y animales del Long Island Sound. Accompanying the books, the Sea Grant educators also developed slide presentations, which provide a great overview of the plants and animals that live in the underwater and shoreline habitats of the Sound. These photo tours, produced by Nancy Balcom, associate director of Connecticut Sea Grant, has been recently updated with new slides and photos.
The Living Treasures PowerPoint in Spanish and English along with StoryMap of the undersea life of Long Island Sound can be found here.
For information on obtaining the Living Treasures: The Plants and Animals of Long Island Sound and Tesoros Vivientes: Las plantas y animales del Long Island Sound booklets, visit: https://seagrant.uconn.edu/?p=864.
Published by Connecticut Sea Grant
The Thames River Heritage Park and Connecticut Sea Grant are celebrating Connecticut Trails Day on June 5 by inviting people to visit one or more of the four park sites where they can enjoy a self-guided, educational activity and receive a complimentary harbor cruise ticket for the heritage park water taxi.
In the Thames River Quests, first offered on Trails Day in 2018, participants follow a set of clues to different locations at each site to solve a word puzzle and learn about the region’s history and ecology. The Quests take place at Fort Trumbull State Park and the downtown Waterfront Park in New London; and at Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park and Thames Street in Groton.
For the second year, the Quests are available as self-guided activities people can enjoy any time, but those who register and complete the Quests on Trails Day can receive a free harbor cruise ticket and will be eligible to enter a prize drawing for heritage park T-shirts. The tickets can be used on the park water taxi once it begins operating for the season on June 12.
“These Quests are a shining example of our communities and local organizations working together and taking advantage of the resources we have right here to provide family-friendly and fun park experience,” said Capt. Paul Whitescarver, TRHP board president.
Those who plan to do one or more of the Quests on Trails Day are asked to pre-register on the heritage park website beginning on May 20. Everyone planning to do the Quests should download and print the directions from their home computer at: thameriverheritagepark.org/quests.
“These Quests are a wonderful way to get outside and visit places perhaps you haven’t before, while learning about the rich maritime heritage and history of the Thames River region,” said Nancy Balcom, associate director of Connecticut Sea Grant.
At the end of each Quest, participants are asked to take a photo and post it to their Facebook or Instagram account with @ThamesRiverHeritagePark #TRHPQuest or email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org to receive their complimentary ticket and to be entered into the prize drawing. Winners will be randomly selected throughout the summer.
Photos of the winners will be posted on the Thames River Heritage Park’s Facebook page. In addition to the Thames River Heritage Park and Connecticut Sea Grant, the Thames River Quests are also sponsored by The Day Publishing Co.
These native bivalves help keep the Sound clean by filtering excess nutrients and shoring up shorelines with colonies that create structure and buffer wave action, while also creating habitat for juvenile fish and other marine life. Plus, they provide a nutritious human food source for commercial and recreational shellfishermen to harvest.
With the shared belief that more is better when it comes to oysters, diverse groups have come together to find areas to expand the presence of these shellfish in the Sound. While each group’s main motivations may differ—from habitat restoration to improving water quality to growing the state’s shellfish industry—the common goal of achieving a healthier Sound through oyster restoration projects has led to the creation of a new online tool to advance that aim.
Connecticut Sea Grant Aquaculture Extension Specialist Tessa Getchis will receive a Service Excellence Award in the University of Connecticut chapter of the American Association of University Professors’ 2021 UConn-AAUP Excellence Awards.
The awards have been given annually since 1997 in six categories, and this year focused specifically on responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Getchis, who also holds the title of senior cooperative extension educator, is being recognized for her role in the various responses to the impact of pandemic shutdown on the state’s commercial shellfishing industry. This included a quick-turnaround survey done early in the shutdown to assess the economic fallout on shellfish farmers. That was followed by assistance programs that included: hiring commercial shellfish workers to rehabilitate the state’s natural shellfish beds; development of a website to share information about direct-to-consumer seafood markets; buybacks of oversized oysters; and assistance with applications for various government financial aid programs.
“We were able to provide some early relief to shellfishermen, and we’re really motivated to keep going, because this wasn’t a one-time impact,” Getchis said.
She stressed that the entire response would not have been possible without the contributions of colleagues at CT Sea Grant and the state Department of Agriculture Bureau of Aquaculture.
“It was and is a team effort,” she said.
CT Sea Grant Director Sylvain De Guise said the award is well deserved.
“It reflects on the recognition of her passion, teamwork, continued leadership and energy,” he said.
Her award will be given in a virtual ceremony on April 28. Also receiving a Service Excellence Award will be three assistant professors, Milagros Castillo-Montoya, Sharde Davis and David Embrick. Ten others will receive awards in teaching excellence, teaching innovation, research and creativity.
To read more about the pandemic response efforts, visit:
The 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.