April 18, 2016

Explore Connecticut’s Coast: Then and Now…

Connecticut’s Coast: Then and Now…

… is a new CLEAR story map that guides you through a comparison of scanned 1934 aerial photos of Connecticut’s shoreline with current imagery.  It briefly describes the process, the history of this one-of-a-kind dataset (the statewide 1934 aerials) and coastal processes.  Next, areas of change including marshes, beaches and new land are described and highlighted with “swipes” that allow you to make side-by-side comparisons. Finally, visit ten locations with a time series of multiple dates starting in 1880 and view the coast through the unique perspective of Lidar elevation.

Go to the Story Map




April 4, 2016

USGS Open File Report 2016-1007

Nitrogen loads from selected rivers in the Long Island Sound Basin, 2005–13, Connecticut and Massachusetts


Total nitrogen loads at 14 water-quality monitoring stations were calculated by using discrete measurements of total nitrogen and continuous streamflow data for the period 2005–13 (water years 2006–13). Total nitrogen loads were calculated by using the LOADEST computer program.

Overall, for water years 2006–13, streamflow in Connecticut was generally above normal. Total nitrogen yields ranged from 1,160 to 23,330 pounds per square mile per year. Total nitrogen loads from the French River at North Grosvenordale and the Still River at Brookfield Center, Connecticut, declined noticeably during the study period. An analysis of the bias in estimated loads indicated unbiased results at all but one station, indicating generally good fit for the LOADEST models.

Download this article from the USGS Publications Warehouse at https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20161007.


April 1, 2016

New study quantifies loss of Long Island Sound wetlands

Nearly a third of the wetlands along Long Island Sound have disappeared since the 1880s, representing a serious loss of this vital resource for coastal communities and for fish and wildlife, according to a study released Thursday.   Read more at The Day.

April 1, 2016

Construction to begin Friday on Route 1 bridge over Niantic River

East Lyme — The state Department of Transportation has announced that the first stage of construction for the replacement of the Route 1 bridge over the Niantic River will begin Friday. Click here to read more of this article at The Day.

Mar. 30, 2016

Niantic Bay Boardwalk restored

NIANTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — A popular shoreline walkway is finally completely open after being destroyed by some powerful storms.  Click here to read more and see a video from CT News 8.

Feb. 4, 2016

Consultants present proposed Mago Point regulations

Waterford — Proposed zoning rules and regulations for Mago Point could allow for a boardwalk down the neighborhood’s main street, boutique stores and incentives for shared street parking spaces among business owners, according to consultants who presented their proposals at a public meeting Wednesday.  Read more at The Day.

Jan. 27, 2016

CFE Co-launches Save Oswegatchie Hills Coalition to Protect Fragile Forest from Ill-conceived Development

Save the River-Save the Hills and the Friends of Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve unite with statewide group in fight for the forest

New Haven, Conn.—Connecticut Fund for the Environment (CFE), Friends of the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve (Friends), and Save the River-Save the Hills (STR-STH) have launched the Save Oswegatchie Hills Coalition to protect 236 undeveloped acres of forest, wetland, and Niantic River shoreline adjoining the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve in East Lyme. The creation of the coalition formalizes the groups’ partnership and provides an opportunity for organizations and citizens across the state to join the fight.

The southeastern Connecticut parcel drains to the Niantic River, a coastal estuary feeding into Long Island Sound. Despite shallow soils, steep ravines, and legally-protected vernal pools and wetlands throughout the terrain, the privately owned Hills have attracted numerous development proposals, which the Friends and STR-STH have opposed. The current owner of the 236-acre parcel, Landmark Development, LLC, has proposed high-density housing on the top ridge of the rocky landscape.

“These dedicated local organizations have been steadfastly fighting ill-conceived development proposals on these hills and wetlands for many years,” said Don Strait, president of CFE and its bi-state program Save the Sound. “An unbroken, fully-protected Oswegatchie Hills is critical to the entire region, coastal ecology, and the health of Long Island Sound. It’s time that we all stand united to speak up for this natural treasure. Saving important lands is difficult, but we’ve proven that when our community bands together, we can win big preservation victories. Last year, a 10-year coalition effort of determined local groups and statewide organizations secured permanent protection for the 1,000-acre forest in Old Saybrook. We’re looking forward to working alongside the Friends of the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve and Save the Rivers-Save the Hills to achieve the same success in Oswegatchie.”

Oswegatchie Hills, one of the few remaining large stretches of undeveloped and unprotected coastal waterfront land in the state, has been classified as open space and conservation land in the Town of East Lyme’s Plan of Conservation and Development since 1968. Concerned citizens formed the Friends and STR-STH organizations soon after proposals for a golf course community and high-density housing surfaced in 1999.

The most recent proposal from Landmark is for high-density housing that would place 840 housing units and over 1,700 parking spaces on 36 acres of land. In March 2015, CFE formally challenged the development proposal and became an intervenor in the ongoing litigation brought against the Town of East Lyme.

“CFE’s state-wide presence, credibility, and track record give us renewed energy to save this last large parcel of undeveloped open space,” said Kris Lambert, president of the Friends. “With their expertise, we continue to show that the best use of this land is preservation, not development.” The volunteer-based Friends organization coordinates stewardship of the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve with the town and the East Lyme Land Conservation Trust, including trail maintenance, erosion control, and invasive species control. Since its founding, the Nature Preserve has grown through the donation and acquisition of land and conservation easements and now totals 457 acres, comprising the southern two-thirds of the Hills. The coalition aims for the remaining 236 acres to be added to the Nature Preserve.

“Multiple conservation organizations and many individuals have told us, over the years, that they support our cause, but until now we haven’t had the means of bringing broader attention to our battle,” said Fred Grimsey, founder and president of STR-STH. “This coalition shows that we are a unified front of people and organizations who want to see the remaining Oswegatchie Hills preserved, not developed.”

Coalition outreach efforts include community presentations, emails and newsletters, and a Save Oswegatchie Hills Coalition section on CFE’s website, where conservation supporters can receive regular updates.

For more information and to schedule a presentation for groups, contact Suzanne Thompson, Save Oswegatchie Hills Coalition Coordinator, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, sthompson@ctenvironment.org, (203)-787-0646, ext. 114.


Niantic River sees plentiful scallop season after two-year drought

For the past two years, there weren’t enough scallops in the Niantic River to justify an official harvest season.

But this year the population of the mollusks in the river has jumped, drawing dozens of people to the area after the season’s opening day on Dec. 1.

Click here to read  this article by Martha Shanahan of The Day.

Dec. 28, 2015

NRWC Awarded Funding

NRWC has been awarded funding from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut to update the Niantic River Watershed Protection Plan.  This funding is derived from the inaugural Peter Grayson Letz Fund for the Environment. The Niantic River Watershed Protection Plan, which turns 10 years old in 2016, was the first  DEEP-approved watershed plan in Connecticut to utilize the nine element format recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency.  NRWC will use the funding to review and update the watershed plan to reflect the many plan elements that have been addressed and/or completed, and to include elements such as climate change and sea-level rise that were not included in the 2006 document.

Read more about the Peter Grayson Letz Fund for the Environment award at the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut or at The Day.