[CT Birds] Hammonasset and Other Issues

Kathy Van Der Aue kathyvda at gmail.com
Wed Jul 1 13:47:46 EDT 2015

I've been out of email and phone range for the past four days while I
accompanied the CT Young Birders Club to Vermont where we sought out boreal
species and worked with Chris Rimmer while he banded Bicknell's Thrushes
atop Mt. Mansfield.  (What a great time!)  Hence I've been unaware of the
questions that have been raised about Hammonasset and other issues
regarding conservation in our state.

Since the "owl tree incident" I believe the DEEP officials have become more
sensitized to the concerns of the birding community and we have had some
meetings and correspondence with them in which we have been able to raise
our concerns.  I am convinced COA has done what it can do to reduce the
impact of the development at Hammonasset.  We have been involved in an
advisory capacity with regard to those development plans and have pointed
out important areas that we believed were under threat.  In reviewing the
plans we were assured that the new Nature Center is to be built on the
paved area and that no more parking areas will be paved.  As to the West
Beach construction, all structures will be on the existing footprints with
the exception of an area where they will put basketball (volleyball?)
courts.  These improvements are mostly being made to replace structures
impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  Construction necessarily looks very
disruptive and I am hopeful that construction materials and debris are the
only deviation from the plans.  You are the eyes and ears of the birds and
I hope you will let us know if you see something going on other than the
approved plans.  As to the "Crossbill Pines," they have become diseased and
most have died.  Appropriate replacements are being investigated but the
best candidate is also subject to this disease and who knows if Crossbills
will accept them.

COA has been given a seat on the Important Bird Area Advisory Committee, a
committee established by Governor Malloy within the DEEP focused on the
identification and recognition of critical bird habitats and the promotion
of bird conservation in the State.  We at COA hope that this forum will
help to make the DEEP more aware of the importance of these areas and more
willing to accommodate the needs of the wildlife in the State.

Please write those letters, make those calls and continue to let us know
about issues that crop up.  Have you written or called your Senators about
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?  What about the gutting of conservation
funding in the State budget?  Did you write?  Did you call?  We can effect
change if we work together.

I appreciate the kind remarks some of you have made in support of all of us
throughout the State who work for conservation.  As President of COA I
promise we will do our very best to do whatever we can to help our birds.

Kathy Van Der Aue
Southport, Connecticut
Visit my Blog at http://naturaliststable.wordpress.com

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