[CT Birds] Fwd: Special Session Update: Final Call to Action for Conservation

Kathy Van Der Aue kathyvda at gmail.com
Fri Jun 26 14:34:32 EDT 2015

 The substance of this message was forwarded to me from Amy Blaymore
Paterson <abpaterson at ctconservation.org> of CT Land Conservation Council.
This is certainly last minute, but our calls to Legislators have worked

COA members might be interested in the three issues below, which are
critical for anyone who cares about habitat and species conservation. The
conveyances are especially critical. The transfer of most concern is the
one in Killingly, which would transfer fragile habitat for state endangered
species (Eastern Spadefoot Toad) to a private and gravel company, resulting
in the irretrievable loss of rare natural resources at a DEEP-owned
Wildlife Management Area that was created precisely to protect those

1. Oppose further cuts to the Community Investment Act.

Background: Under the Budget approved June 3rd, 50% of the CIA funds
collected from January 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 will be diverted to
the general fund. An additional diversion of $90,000/year for the Horse
Guard Units in Avon and Newtown was added in the last hours of the regular
session.  As it stands, this sweep is already of an unprecedented magnitude.

Talking points:  Oppose any further diversions from the Community
Investment Act (CIA) -- a dedicated fund, set up outside the budget for the
purpose of providing a consistent stream of funding for critical programs
for open space conservation, farmland/dairy support, historic preservation
and affordable housing. The CIA has delivered for our communities in a big
way:  $133 million invested in over 1,100 projects in 168 towns.

2. Support the Bond Package to fund DEEP's Open Space and Watershed Land
Acquisition Program and Recreational Trails Program.  Restore funding to
the Recreation and National Heritage Trust Program.
Background:  The Bond Package authorizes $8 million/year for the Open Space
and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program (OSWA) matching grants program
and $5 million/year in bonding for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP),
but eliminates funding for the Recreation and National Heritage
Trust Program (RNTP) for each of the next two fiscal years.

Talking Points: Support OSWA and RTP funding which is essential for land
trusts, towns and water companies in their efforts to conserve lands and
create trails, respectively, in accordance with local and state goals and

Restore RNHT funding which is essential to DEEP's ability to acquire land
for conservation and recreation. Zeroing-out the RNHT program would set a
bad precedent for future funding of the program and undermine DEEP's
ability to pursue a growing list of priority projects in its queue for
acquisition. (Even adding $1 million/year for RNHT would help to keep the
program moving forward.)

3.  Support the Amendment that removes three sections of concern from the
Conveyance Act.

Background:  During the regular session, thanks to your advocacy efforts,
Sections 3 (involving Silver Sands State Park to the City of Milford for
parking), 13 & 14 (involving access roads across parts of Quinebaug
Wildlife Management area in eastern CT for gravel and sand extraction) were
removed from the 2015 Conveyance Act
 (the annual bill that allows the General Assembly to transfer -- by swap,
sale or just plain giveaway -- public lands to towns and private parties).
The bill will now be taken up by the General Assembly during this Special

Talking Points:  Support the removal of these proposals from the Conveyance
Act -- all three raise serious concerns with respect to potential adverse
environmental impacts on public conservation lands.   Click HERE
more detail on the concerns surrounding these proposals.

Amy Blaymore Paterson, Esq.
Executive Director
Connecticut Land Conservation Council
16 Meriden Road
Rockfall, Connecticut 06481-2961
860-685-0785 office
860-614-8537 cell (best)
860-347-7463 fax

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