[CT Birds] Hammo etc.

Glenn Williams gswilliams9 at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 29 13:34:37 EDT 2015

I fear that so many of us suffer from "learned helplessness".  Let me express my own.  Through my birding experiences I have seen blatant violations of environmental protocol that seem easy to report and correct.  Nothing has become of any of them.   

Through CBC territory birding, Andrew Dasinger and I found that Saint Sebastian Cemetery in Westerly, Rhode Island was filling in a wetland - a shrubby pond where we found two Eastern Pheobes, a Northern Parula, and a Rusty Blackbird over the last two Napatree CBCs.  I reported this dumping of grave dirt and trash to the Town of Westerly and the RI DEM.  We also found dumping of neighborhood debris in another wetland in Watch Hill.  To date, a silt fence was placed along the top of the debris and destroyed area in St Sebastian with no indication of clean up and trash is on the wetland side of the silt fence.  Nothing has changed in the other wetland.  My last two emails have been unanswered.

In Cedar Grove Cemetery in New London last year, I found that grave dirt, brush, leaves, and trash were being dumped into a wetland in large quantities.  Trees were also being cut down in this wetland  This is a good migratory spot near where I work,  I reported this to the local wetland and zoning enforcement officer.  She did say that the cemetery was given special permission (?!) to dump leaves and brush, but not grave dirt and trash.  After over a year of complaining via phone and email, I am no longer getting any response and the wetland filling and destruction continues.  

The Town of Groton transfer station has approximately 65 acres of grassland that is mowed to the ground during the growing season despite being viable as a habitat for grassland birds.  This issue has been brought up locally and during COA meetings when I was a board member but nothing has changed.  I continue to pay tax dollars to ruin a potential nesting area and migratory habitat.  

The "hot corner" at Bluff Point State Park is in need of management.  This issue was brought to the COA board when I was still a member and nothing has become of it.  We can't change the natural succession of the area, but management with the cooperation of the park staff can certainly maximize the monitoring of one of the most important fall migration spots in New England.  It would also be nice to manage the immediate area for successional species that might stop during migration.  I won't even go into the fact that Amtrak built a fence extending onto park property that has greatly reduced the ability to observe morning flight.  It was presumed at the time that a fight with Amtrak could not be won.

I am not blaming the fine institutions and people who work hard to preserve habitat for birds and wildlife in Connecticut.  I have been one of the point persons for COA on the last two areas mentioned.  Some phone calls are made and emails are sent but nothing becomes of it.  The issue gets put on the back burner as life continues and one eventually gives up.  There are too many layers of red tape to point fingers.  But if I feel impotent, as an active member of the Connecticut bird community, I can imagine how others do, too.  I have not had one success in this area - not one.  Number of people convinced to keep their cats indoors or leash their dogs in wildlife spots - zero.  Heck, I can't even get my own father to stop mowing the small pasture behind his house. 

This is not just a Hammonasset issue.  Degradation and development of habitat is forever. If you have been birding a local patch, CBC area, or breeding bird habitat for any length of time, you know what I am saying.  We do need to stand up together because it is too easy to ignore one or a few people.

Glenn Williams


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