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.
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 withWrack LinesEditor Judy Benson at:firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
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 controlHydrilla 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 foundhere. An informational article from Sen. Blumenthal’s office can be foundhere.
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) in cooperation with USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) announce the detection of the box tree moth, Cydalima perspectalis (Walker), at a single retail nursery in Connecticut on boxwood imported from a nursery in Ontario, Canada. As of May 27, 2021, APHIS had confirmed the presence of box tree moth in three facilities in Michigan, one in Connecticut, and one in South Carolina. On May 26, 2021, APHIS issued a Federal Order to halt the importation of all host plants from Canada, including boxwood (Buxus species), Euonymus (Euonymus species), and holly (Ilex species).
The box tree moth is native to East Asia and has become a serious invasive pest in Europe, where it continues to spread. In 2018, it was found in the Toronto area of Canada. 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.
If you bought a boxwood plant within the last few months, please inspect it for signs of the box tree moth. Box tree moth symptoms include green-black frass and silk threads on the host plant. The caterpillars are very cryptic and it is easier to look for the shiny abundant webbing or pupae. The box tree moth is a federally actionable/reportable pest, so please refer any findings to The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station at: CAES.StateEntomologist@ct.gov and include a photograph and location.
Several special events are planned for Earth Day (April 22) at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus, including audiovisual artwork projected on campus buildings and an original puppet show.
Events will begin at 6:30 p.m. with music recorded by the five-person Connecticut-based groupHitch and Giddyupsponsored by the Avery Point EcoHusky club. At 7 p.m., UConn Puppet Arts graduate student Felicia Cooper will performISH, an original one-woman puppet show for all ages inspired byMoby-Dick. UConn Dairy Bar Coastal Crunch ice cream will be served after the show.
From 8 to 9 p.m., there will be a performance of the audiovisual work, “Reading the Wrack Lines,” created byConnecticut CollegeProfessor Andrea Wollensak. This will feature creative writing responses to climate change by UConn Avery Point and Connecticut College students used as audiovisual source material within a generative multimedia artwork projected onto both the Branford House the Avery Point Lighthouse. Collaborators for “Reading the Wrack Lines” include software developer Bridget Baird and sound artist Brett Terry. The exhibit is being presented in cooperation with TheAlexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art.
The events are free and open to up to 200 attendees to comply with Gov. Lamont’s Executive Orders for outdoor gatherings during the pandemic. Attendees should bring their own chair or blanket, wear face masks and maintain 6-foot social distancing. Rain date will be Friday April 23 at the same times. No pre-registration is required to attend.
“As a professor and CT Sea Grant research coordinator, I’m excited to be involved in this project,” said Syma Ebbin, who teaches courses in environmental and marine science and policy. “It seeks to integrate the personal creative reflections of students focused on coastal environments and the
human footprint—encompassing climate change, marine debris and plastics, among other topics they’ve explored this semester—within a generative and interactive video.
“I think the project themes resonate with and amplify the meaning of Earth Day and will generate deeper understandings in both students and the larger audience,” Ebbin said.
About the artists and their work:
Andrea Wollensak is a professor of art at Connecticut College whose work spans media from traditional to digital fabrication, to generative-interactive systems. She has collaborated with computer scientists, musicians, poets and scientists on works that explore themes of place-based narratives on environment and community. To learn more about her work, visit:https://www.andreawollensak.com/.
Felicia Cooper createdISHas part of her Master of Fine Arts in the UConn Puppet Arts program and performed it for audiences in downtown Storrs three times in March. Based loosely onMoby-Dick, it retells the story as if Ishmael were an 11-year-old girl and the whale were friendlier. She uses shadow puppets, object performance in a suitcase and original music composed by Juliana Carr in the show.
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.
This 35-page guide lists native trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and vines that are appropriate for planting in Connecticut’s coastal zone. It includes a map of that ecoregion and characteristics of each species, such as tolerance to salt water and salt spray, light and soil requirements as well as wildlife and pollinator value.
The Northeast Sea Grant Consortium, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and Water Power Technologies Office, and NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, announces a research funding opportunity to improve understanding of offshore renewable energy interactions with fishing and coastal communities to optimize ocean co-use.
This unique funding partnership will support objective, community-focused research on ocean renewable energy—including offshore wind and hydrokinetic current, tidal, and wave energies—in the U.S. Northeast for the benefit of a diversity of communities and stakeholders.
With a focus on advancing community and economic resilience, the funding opportunity aims to catalyze proactive socio-economic and technology research for offshore renewable energy planning in the Northeast. Over $1 million will be available to support research projects across three innovative areas:
Fisheries and Fishing Community Resilience
Coastal Community and Economic Resilience
Co-Location Management of Ocean Renewable Energy with Other Marine Activities
The Northeast Sea Grant Consortium and federal partners seek collaborative, multidisciplinary, and innovative proposals with results that will be valuable to a variety of stakeholders, from the fishing industry to resource managers, as the U.S. ocean energy landscape evolves.
The Northeast Sea Grant Consortiumconsists of the Connecticut, Maine, MIT, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Woods Hole Sea Grant Programs. Sea Grant’s mission is to enhance the practical use and conservation of coastal, marine and Great Lakes resources in order to create a sustainable economy and environment.
NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Centerworks with the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office to ensure informed management decisions based on sound science, promoting sustainability of marine life, supporting fisheries and coastal communities, and generating economic opportunities and benefits from the use of these resources.
DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and Water Power Technologies Officeare committed to developing and deploying innovative technologies for clean, domestic power generation from natural renewable resources such as wind, hydropower, waves, and tides. The mission is to enable energy science research, development, and testing of new technologies to advance innovative energy systems in the United States.
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 inThe Dayof New London and March 10 in theConnecticut Mirror.
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.”
Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate
Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
Rising to the Challenge
Our educators faced the unprecedented challenges of 2020 and pivoted programs to offer life transformative education despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Programming moved to virtual environments through online certificate programs, virtual field days, podcasts, WebEx meetings, and YouTube videos. Our educators created and released 318 new videos on YouTube in 2020. These videos reached 305,200 people and had 39,501 viewers that watched 1,200 hours of Extension instruction.
Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of the 169 municipalities across the state (see map on last page). The By the Numbers 2020 highlights some of our key impacts from these initiatives.