[CT Birds] Fwd: Hammonasset

john@birdspix.com schwarzjs at aol.com
Wed Jun 19 15:30:23 EDT 2013

A petition certainly couldn't hurt, but I agree with you that it would best originate from an organization with at least a modicum of gravitas (such as perhaps the COA), which you or I as individuals lack. It would be helpful to get this controversy aired on the evening news shows too.  I'd be happy to do whatever I can to help, but I wouldn't want to inadvertently step on the toes of the COA or any other organized group with the appropriate authority to accomplish this, and who might quite properly see it as their own purview to take the lead. I think there really needs to be a very organized effort here, with a thoroughly thought out strategy, if there is even a chance of accomplishing the desired result. This will require someone in charge (not me), and a "chain of command" to assure consistency and avoid duplication of efforts. I fear mere individuals acting alone have no chance to be successful, as they are simply too easy to brush off and ignore.



-----Original Message-----
From: Sally Brown <sbrown01 at snet.net>
To: CT Bird Bird <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Cc: john at birdspix.com <schwarzjs at aol.com>
Sent: Wed, Jun 19, 2013 2:58 pm
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Fwd: Hammonasset

This is a wonderful letter, John.  It needs to be signed by all of us.  

How about starting our own Change.org petition that would include the substance 
of this letter and anything else that would enhance our case?  

It would be best if the petition started from someone with authority in one of 
our birding organizations or environmental groups.

Here is a link to start your own petition.  I sign many environmental petitions 
every day.  And they are highly effective.  Knowing that hundreds and thousands 
of people have signed a petition is grassroots democracy at work.  It is time to 
show the state just how many CT residents oppose these changes.  


Sally Brown
Branford, CT

On Jun 19, 2013, at 1:13 PM, john at birdspix.com wrote:

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.

Very sincerely,

John S. Schwarz

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