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Great Island Wildlife Management Area, Connecticut River Estuary, Old Lyme.
One of the Properties in Connecticut’s Proposed NERR Site.

Invitation

You are invited to attend a virtual public comment meeting for Connecticut’s proposed National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR).

The meeting will be held on Tuesday August 4th, 2020, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM EDT via WebEx.

At this meeting the steering team will provide an update on the effort to designate a proposed National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) in Connecticut and will seek public input to help guide the development of the required Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Meeting Access

To join by computer:

https://uconn-cmr.webex.com/uconn-cmr/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=1200263550

To join by phone:

US Toll: +1-415-655-0002

Access code: 120 026 3550

Soon there will be posted further information about the meeting on DEEP’s website for the CT NERR ( https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Coastal-Resources/NERR/NERR-Home-Page). A little later this site will also carry copies of any presentations that were made.

The upcoming fall 2020 issues of Estuary magazine also has an article about Connecticut’s NERR.

Making Comments

Following from the Federal Register Notification are instructions for submitting comments:

  • Electronic Submission:Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NOS-2020-0089, click the “Comment Now!” button, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. Written comments must be submitted no later than Tuesday, August 18, 2020.
  • Mail:Submit written comments to Erica Seiden, Stewardship Division (N/OCM6), Office for Coastal Management, NOS, NOAA, 1305 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910; ATTN: CT NERR. Comments must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, August 18, 2020.
  • Instructions:All comments received are part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NOS-2020-0089 with no changes. All personally identifiable information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the commenter will be publicly accessible and maintained by NOAA as part of the public record. NOAA will accept anonymous comments; on the eRulemaking Portal, enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous. If you would like to provide an anonymous comment during the public scoping meeting, type your comment into the question box, and state that you would like to remain anonymous when your comment is read. Multimedia submissions (i.e., audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. NOAA will generally not consider comments, or comment contents, located outside of the primary submission sites or addresses (i.e., those posted on the web, cloud, or other file-sharing system). Please note, no public comments will be audio or video recorded.

Closed captioning will be provided for those who attend the public meeting online via WebEx: https://uconn-cmr.webex.com/uconn-cmr/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=1200263550.

Background

The NERR system is a partnership between coastal states and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), that establishes a location dedicated to estuarine research, monitoring, education, and stewardship. A Connecticut-based NERR would complement and expand many existing scientific, environmental management, and educational activities through the addition of funding, resources, and expertise from the national NERR system. Additionally, it would help identify and enable new initiatives to improve the understanding and sustainability of Long Island Sound.

For more than the last three years, a steering team of environmentalists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the University of Connecticut, Connecticut Sea Grant, and the Connecticut Audubon Society has been diligently seeking the designation of a NERR site for Connecticut to join NOAA’s system of 29 other NERRs. Each NERR has the overarching objective of preserving or improving the site and its level of conservation for the benefit of all.

The first phase of Connecticut’s effort culminated last year with NOAA’s approval of the site selection team’s recommended site, which is shown on the following map (image courtesy of Pew Charitable Trusts).

This site, one of five candidates considered, scored the highest on NOAA’s almost three dozen acceptance criteria. It includes several state-owned properties as well as public area in Long Island Sound. The properties are shown in the next illustration.

After the Connecticut NERR site receives official designation, anticipated for spring 2022, the state agency leading the CT NERR will pass from DEEP to the University of Connecticut, although their present partnership will continue.