- 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.
Watch for more details!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com; or Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, N.Y. Sea Grant Long Island Sound outreach coordinator, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stratford – Gov. Ned Lamont joined legislators, state officials, agricultural advocates and business representatives on July 23 for a bill signing ceremony near the shore of the Long Island Sound to commemorate the enactment of legislation implementing policies that will support continued growth of Connecticut’s shellfish industry in an effort to increase the populations of oysters along the state’s shoreline and protect the sustainability of this vibrant sector of the economy.
The shellfish industry is a significant sector of the Connecticut shoreline’s economy, generating more than $30 million in sales annually and supporting 300 jobs statewide. There are currently more than 70,000 acres of shellfish farms under cultivation in Connecticut.
- extends Public Act 490 protections – which were adopted more than 50 years ago and allow landowners to have their qualifying lands classified as farms and thereby subject to reduced property tax rates – to include aquaculture operations;
- allows more flexibility to actively manage the natural oyster beds in Long Island Sound, ensuring that Connecticut oysters will be available for future generations through better management of the natural beds; and
- reconstitutes and expands the Connecticut Seafood Council with new membership to drive the industry forward.
It received overwhelming support from business and agriculture organizations across the state, including the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, the Connecticut chapter of the National Audubon Society, the Connecticut Restaurant Association, and numerous small business leaders that depend on the sustainability of Connecticut’s aquaculture to support their operations.
“Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing sectors in Connecticut, and this legislation continues to move the dial on this industry receiving some of the same protections and support that land farmers receive,” Gov. Lamont said. “My administration will continue focusing on commonsense changes like these that business owners in Connecticut deserve. I look forward to seeing this already great industry continue to grow. Let’s spread the word far and wide, Connecticut has some of the best oysters around.”
“This law ensures that the future for the industry is prosperous and encompassing of all the types of aquaculture industry in our state, including seaweed and indoor production,” Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt said. “The law also establishes parity and access to the property tax relief program, Public Act 490, to include aquaculture production, further ingraining this industry as a facet of Connecticut agriculture. Many thanks to the industry, the Connecticut Farm Bureau, and UConn Sea Grant for their partnership and commitment to this proposal and the future of the aquaculture in our state.”
“On behalf of its members and aquaculture farmers, the Connecticut Farm Bureau thanks Gov. Lamont and the legislature for their support of this very important legislation,” Connecticut Farm Bureau President Paul Larson and Executive Director Joan Nichols said in a joint statement. “This legislation provides both financial relief and equity in taxation for aquaculture farmers across Connecticut by expanding Public Act 490 to include aquaculture into the state’s definition of farmland.”
The governor noted that shellfish aquaculture also provides a number of environmental benefits, including by improving sediment quality through the harvesting process, stabilizing sediments and helping to protect the shoreline from erosion, and providing critical ecosystem functions by creating structure and habitat for other species that provide a food source for fish and other marine species.
The legislation is Public Act 21-24, An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Shellfish Restoration Program, The Connecticut Seafood Council and the Taxation of Certain Underwater Farmlands.
Beachcombing with his wife and two children led New Haven artist Joseph Smolinski to the source of inspiration and raw materials for works he will create for Connecticut Sea Grant’s 2021 Arts Support Award Program that reflect on the human impacts of climate change.
His project, titled “Carbon Adrift: Sea Coal in the Long Island Sound” was chosen for the annual arts award program now in its 12th year. It awards $1,000 annually to artists to create works relevant to coastal and marine environments and Connecticut Sea Grant themes and who are expected to display their works widely.
“The older I get, the more I realize that creativity comes from things like leisure time, when you’re not trying to make art,” said Smolinski, chairman of the Department of Art and Design at the University of New Haven. “My family spends a lot of time on the shore exploring, and we started finding these dark rocks and I started wondering, ‘Are they natural or anthropogenic?’”
Those dark rocks turned out to be sea coal, both dislodged from coal deposits by natural forces and mined pieces that probably fell off barges and cargo ships.
“At every beach I’ve been to on Long Island Sound I’ve found them, from pieces as small as grains of sand to some as big as a hand, four to five inches across,” said Smolinski.
He began reflecting on the processes that transformed plant matter into sea coal over millennium, and the use of coal as a fuel source by modern humans that contributes to climate change now threatening the planet. That evolved into the idea of using sea coal to make art that speaks both to its history in geological time scales, and to the impacts of the rapid consumption of fossil fuels by humans. The result will be mosaics of intricately patterned pieces of sea coal fixed to wood panels that Smolinski described as “images of the setting sun over Long Island Sound” that are intended to depict the sun as “the energy source that gives coal its anthropogenic value.”
In a complementary project that will be created for the project titled “Open Water,” Smolinski will use images of sunsets over the open waters of the Sound and the Atlantic Ocean onto which water is sprayed, then various pigments applied. By pairing the monochromatic mosaics with the “highly colorful and energetic nautical renderings” of the seascapes, Smolinski hopes to call attention to the future of the world ocean and its central role in human survival. He also hopes to develop a website for schools and environmental groups with information from his research about sea coal and the works created for his project. The various works will be created over the next year.
The independent review panel for the arts award said Smolinski’s project stood out for its “strong conceptual relationship between humans’ effect on the environment and artwork.” The panel also noted that the work addressed issues of materiality associated with environmental issues, eloquently evoking the transformation of materials such as coal through time.
“The submissions that we receive in response to the Connecticut Sea Grant Arts Support Awards program continue to amaze me with their varied aesthetic interpretations of Sea Grant’s mission,” said Syma Ebbin, CT Sea Grant research coordinator. “In addition to the creation of several art pieces, Joseph’s proposal will generate significant research and potentially will yield an educational website, gallery exhibitions, and a series of lectures to provide access to the art and science behind the art to local schools and the diverse communities within Connecticut.”
More information: Judy Benson, CT Sea Grant communications coordinator: email@example.com; (860) 287-6426
A Message from USDA to Gardeners in Connecticut
A New Invasive Pest May Be in Connecticut
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responding to a significant plant health threat and needs your help. Please check your boxwood plants for the invasive and destructive box tree moth. During the spring, a number of U.S. nurseries received potentially infested Canadian boxwood plants. This invasive pest feeds on the plants’ leaves, and can cause complete defoliation, eventually killing the plant.
Many Connecticut residents have already purchased and planted these boxwoods. If you bought one, you may have infested boxwood on your property. USDA wants to prevent the box tree moth from spreading and establishing itself in the State and beyond.
Help Protect Connecticut’s Boxwoods!
Here’s how you can help:
If you bought a boxwood plant during spring 2021, please inspect it for signs of the moth and report any findings to your local USDA office or State agriculture department. If State or Federal agriculture officials visit your home, please allow them to inspect your boxwood trees and place an insect trap. Box tree moths can produce several generations between June and October, so acting now is essential to prevent this pest from establishing itself in Connecticut.
This is what you should look for:
Caterpillars and webbing (larvae can reach 1.5 inches long)
Adult moths (wingspan is 1.5 to 1.75 inches):
Egg mass under the leaves
Report signs of infestation to:
Your USDA local office: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/planthealth/sphd
The Importance of Boxwoods
Boxwoods are popular shrubs and are found all over the country. They make an excellent choice for hedges and topiaries.
Older boxwoods can hold great historical value, such as the 150-year-old boxwoods at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in North Carolina. Unfortunately, these plants were lost to boxwood blight. Many States have historical gardens containing boxwoods, which the box tree moth could devastate.
This pest threatens the thriving U.S. boxwood industry, as well as nurseries and other businesses that sell these plants wholesale and direct to consumers. Boxwoods have an estimated $141 million economic impact in the United States, according to one industry estimate.
About the Box Tree Moth
The box tree moth is native to East Asia. It has become a serious invasive pest in Europe, where it continues to spread. The caterpillars feed mostly on boxwood, and heavy infestations can defoliate host plants. Once the leaves are gone, larvae consume the bark, leading to girdling and plant death.
Females lay eggs singly or in clusters of 5 to more than 20 eggs in a gelatinous mass on the underside of boxwood leaves. Most females deposit more than 42 egg masses in their lifetime. They typically hatch within 4 to 6 days.
Pupae typically first appear in April or May and are present continuously through the summer and into the fall, depending on the local climate and timing of generations. Adults first emerge from the overwintering generation between April and July, depending on climate and temperature. Subsequent generations are active between June and October. Adults typically live for two weeks after emergence.
Box tree moths are highly mobile and are reported to be good fliers. Natural spread of this moth in Europe is about 3 to 6 miles per year. One analysis from Europe concluded that natural dispersal from continental Europe to the United Kingdom was possible, suggesting sustained adult flights of over 20 miles.
USDA’s Response with State Partners
In response to the incident, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a Federal Order on May 26, 2021, to halt the importation of host plants from Canada, including boxwood (Buxus species), Euonymus (Euonymus species), and holly (Ilex species).
In addition, APHIS is working closely with the affected States, including Connecticut, to:
- Find and destroy the imported plants in the receiving facilities;
- Trace sold imported plants to determine additional locations of potentially infected boxwood;
- Provide box tree moth traps and lures for surveys in the receiving facilities and other locations that received potentially infected plants; and,
- Prepare outreach materials for state agriculture departments, industry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists stationed along the Canadian border, and the public
For more information about the moth and boxwoods, or USDA’s response with State partners, visit: www.aphis.usda.gov/planthealth/box-tree-moth
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.
Connecticut Residents Urged to “Pick Up the Phone!” for Largest-Ever Town-Level Survey on Quality of Life and Recovery from COVID-19: Over 75 Leading Foundations, Hospitals, and Local Agencies Join DataHaven Initiative
Over 10,000 randomly-selected Connecticut residents will participate in the 2021 Community Wellbeing Survey’s live, in-depth interviews, the fifth such survey that DataHaven has fielded since 2012
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your health and financial well-being? Are the parks in your neighborhood in good condition? What has been your experience with telehealth appointments over the past year? What is your life like today and what do you think it will be like in five years?
Those are just a few of the topics included in interviews by friendly survey-takers helping DataHaven and dozens of leading community and charitable groups complete what is believed to be the largest neighborhood-level well-being survey in the United States. Since 2012, some 50,000 randomly-selected adults living in every ZIP code in Connecticut have volunteered their time to participate in the program’s live, in-depth interviews, including the over 10,000 interviews projected to take place by the end of 2021.
“Our experience is that people enjoy answering the questions in this survey,” says Mark Abraham, Executive Director of DataHaven, a 25-year-old non-profit organization that leads the collection and study of public data about Connecticut. “They are sharing their knowledge about how their families and communities have been faring during the past year, and about their own life experiences. These questions show that we care about how they feel, and create important indicators that will inform how Connecticut recovers from COVID-19.”
The 2021 DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey will allow unprecedented tracking of statewide, regional, and local trends over the past year. After seeing the impact of the 2012, 2015, 2018, and 2020 results, over 75 of Connecticut’s leading hospitals, government agencies, and charitable organizations have decided, once again, to support the 2021 survey. Funders include community foundations, United Ways, healthcare providers, community-based non-profits, local health departments, and other agencies located in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, Danbury, Greenwich, Milford, Middletown, Windsor, New London, Torrington, Derby, Windham, and many other cities and towns (see below). To ensure that the topics in the survey reflect the interests of local communities, including those that arose during the pandemic, an Advisory Council of representatives from 300 organizations around the state helped guide this year’s survey design.
Residents throughout Connecticut are receiving phone calls from survey-takers at the Siena College Research Institute beginning this month. Calls continue this summer and fall.
“Make a difference: Pick up your cell phone, help your community learn more about your needs, and tell us what you want to see to promote greater happiness and well-being in your neighborhood,” says Abraham.
“UNITED BY DATA”: FUNDERS AND SUPPORTERS FOR THE 2021 COMMUNITY WELLBEING SURVEY
Unlike most statewide and national surveys, the DataHaven program brings together grassroots efforts across the state – effectively unifying dozens of existing regional surveys into a single, exceptionally high-quality program that covers the entire state. The mission of the initiative is to produce reliable neighborhood-level information on issues that are most meaningful to local residents, and to foster collaboration between the hundreds of organizations, institutions, businesses, and agencies that are working to build stronger communities. This nationally recognized program provides neighborhood- and regional-level information not available from any other source on community vitality, health, housing, family economic security, safety, and other topics.
“We believe the 2021 Community Wellbeing Survey, the most comprehensive local-level survey of its type in the United States, will continue to be of great value to neighborhoods and organizations striving to make our cities and towns even better places to live and work,” says Abraham.
Results from the survey will be published in a series of local and statewide reports throughout 2021 and 2022, helping to shed light on progress being made toward community priorities, including financial security for families, access to affordable health care, public health and safety, and opportunities for children to succeed, as well as on current challenges, such as the opioid epidemic, housing instability, and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Dozens of reports and studies have used data from the Community Wellbeing Survey, including many that are posted on the DataHaven website.
Partners providing the support required for the program are representative of each region:
- In Fairfield County and the Greater Danbury area, organizations including Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, the Health Improvement Alliance of Greater Bridgeport, Bridgeport Hospital, Saint Vincent’s Medical Center, Stamford Hospital, Greenwich Hospital, Danbury Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, Supportive Housing Works, United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, United Way of Western Connecticut, Norwalk Health Department, Stamford Health Department, and the Danbury Health Department are among the funders.
- In the Greater New Haven and Naugatuck Valley areas, funders include The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Greater Waterbury Health Partnership, Connecticut Community Foundation, Valley Community Foundation, Yale New Haven Hospital, Griffin Hospital, Waterbury Hospital, Saint Mary’s Hospital, City of New Haven, United Way of Greater New Haven, United Way of Greater Waterbury, Milford Health Department, Community Alliance for Research and Engagement, NewAlliance Foundation, Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, Yale School of Medicine, and others.
- In Greater Hartford and New Britain, the program has drawn support from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford Hospital, The Hospital of Central Connecticut, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, Johnson Memorial Medical Center, City of Hartford, Town of Windsor, Trinity College Center for Urban and Global Studies, Capitol Region Council of Governments, Eastern Connecticut Health Network, and others.
- Additionally, DataHaven will ensure that residents of Connecticut’s smaller cities and rural areas are included to the same degree as those living in its major metropolitan areas. Support comes from organizations including Connecticut Office of Rural Health, Connecticut Health Foundation, Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, Windham Hospital, Backus Hospital, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, MidState Medical Center, Sharon Hospital, Bristol Hospital, North Central District Health Department, Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, Middlesex Hospital, Eastern Highlands Health District, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ (DMHAS) Problem Gambling Services division, and Northeast District Department of Health.
DataHaven is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with a 25-year history of public service to Connecticut. Since 1992, DataHaven has worked with area organizations and agencies to develop reports and tools that make information more useful to the community. DataHaven maintains extensive economic, social, and health data, including information collected through its Community Wellbeing Survey and other programs. DataHaven is a formal partner of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, a collaborative national effort by the Urban Institute and approximately 40 local partners to further the development and use of neighborhood information systems in local policymaking and community building. For more information, visit www.ctdatahaven.org.
The Spring-Summer 2021 issue of Wrack Lines examines actions that grew from different crises, from the pandemic to sea level rise to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.
The issue leads off with an article by Robert Klee, former commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, reflecting on the valuable lessons we can take from the pandemic to improve the environment and our communities. Other articles describe how Connecticut’s seafood growers, harvesters and sellers weathered the pandemic, and how their counterparts in Southeast Asia fared.
Two more articles examine the slower-moving crises of sea level rise in coastal and inland communities in Connecticut and North Carolina and the role of managed retreat or buyouts. The final piece showcases the research of Connecticut Sea Grant Director Sylvain De Guise on dolphins experiencing long-term impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
The entire issue can be found here.
Articles in this issue:
This issue continues the “Talk to Us” feature soliciting reader comments, many of which will be shared on the CTSG website. Share your feedback and questions with Wrack Lines Editor Judy Benson at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!