[CT Birds] Fwd: Hammonasset
schwarzjs at aol.com
Wed Jun 19 13:13:13 EDT 2013
I have sent the following letter. Also, just in case they haven't yet been made aware, the Hartford Courant, and any of the local TV affiliates, should also be kept fully informed about what is happening so that the public is aware.
Dear Commissioner. Esty:
By now you have probably have already become aware of the consternation over "improvements" being made at Hammonasset State Park in Madison. Please allow me to offer my own personal very grave concerns:
My interest is as a bird photographer (www.birdspix.com) who travels all over the country in this pursuit. I reside in Westbrook and, like many other Connecticut nature devotees, spend more time at Hammonasset than at any other single site in Connecticut. Many may not understand that Hammonasset is far more than a beach and a campground, it is an ecologically sensitive nature preserve and a crucial annual migratory stopover for many bird species, as well as a summer or winter home for countless others including four species of owls.
Of particular immediate concern is the filling in of rain pools and new paving under consideration. Each year the rain pools and gravelly fields and unpaved overflow parking areas provide necessary and irreplaceable habitat for Black-bellied and American Golden Plovers, Least and White-rumped Sandpipers, Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs, Snow Buntings, Savannah and Vesper Sparrows, and numerous other species. Human altering of what nature has purposely provided for these species is an enormous, if unintentional, mistake.
I understand that it is likely that whoever made the unfortunate decision to fill in the rain pools did so in a well-intentioned effort to improve on the aesthetics of the park and was most likely unaware of the concomitant dire adverse affects on the park's dependent avifauna.
It is not too late to undo the damage done so far, by fully restoring the rain pools to their prior natural condition, thereby returning them to the purpose that nature intended all along. I implore that this be done, with urgency, before autumn migration begins, fully understanding that indeed this action may require the reluctant swallowing of someone's personal pride, with the admission that a simply wrong decision had unknowingly been made without all the relevant considerations having been fully understood, but rest assured that in the end such an admission will be met only with the sincerest appreciation and relief, with no recriminations.
Any consideration of new paving anywhere in the park should be put on immediate indefinite hold while the serious adverse consequences to nature receive all the due time and attention they require to be fully aired, publicized, discussed, and understood, lest any more damage be done, this time, unthinkably, of the irreparable kind.
Like all of my Connecticut colleagues, I am ready to meet with you or any others with authority in this matter, at any time and place convenient to you, to help address this ongoing concern. The restoration of the rain pools really can not wait, as the annual shorebird migration will already be getting underway in July.
John S. Schwarz
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