[CT Birds] Special Session Wrap-up

Comins, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Mon Jul 6 11:25:18 EDT 2015

The Connecticut Land Conservation Council sent around a wrap-up of the recent special session.   The good news is that several issues in which Audubon and the birding community played a key supporting role in ended in a favorable way, including the land transfers at Silver Sands State Park and Quinebog WMA and proposed diversions from open space funding.  Thank you to all of you who participated in petitions, provided  bird data or were otherwise active on these issues.  Your voice can really make a difference!  Below is the message from CLCC:

"2015 Special Session Re-Cap & Final Messages

The 2015 Special Session ended early last week, providing some good news for the conservation community as we headed into the holiday weekend.

Community Investment Act: No Further Cuts
The budget implementer passed by the legislature did NOT include any further diversions from the Community Investment Act (CIA)<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001fB8M2-NXExxe0X5U6N0M-HzALryxJjmojp3W6HyZkIj-JygyTSqQdQIySxOaznJHLbkLJiw63LT3voxx_Mok8FOxaSvNPGlXgI06BaaXSB4yQerx9xCIMdfYFja7hMRKt5Vu8ETt8Kuw7SnoCCN5hFFORp0XGkYMuWy9w9m-xctI8t5QvA6EPJQHBCaKP_8u&c=kxasvaxXEVr2udfYjf2S2Yjd7uaQ5SHYD_Q3WNcmbphI9me7byT3Fg==&ch=AiB3QeF4ouRk43pLYQ1kfPbT92JW6ORpg2Uq0u_ofSQPQ8lWwsfd9A==> beyond those already approved under the budget for FY16 and FY17. Emerging from the special session without any further sweeps reflects a strong recognition by the legislature of the importance of this source of funding for open space, farmland/dairy, historic preservation and affordable housing programs.
Conservation Funding: Bond Authorizations Approved
The General Assembly approved a bond package that included authorizations for the following funding over the next two fiscal years:

  *   $16 million for the Open Space & Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001fB8M2-NXExxe0X5U6N0M-HzALryxJjmojp3W6HyZkIj-JygyTSqQdQ_L9qLI10yx9sobKJ3HXCBdTvb8tOfqUN_Duu3o4yppKsBaUfrfLQzbGWtoNMHFvf0jomlKk1DtnMuaQTIZgjLt65WW50wg1l4BDphz2sb6RcuYu0ejq7mCtv6m2yNr5nMo5nFmeVrU3QDDotV7XNicxdu0wRQzplzhz0xPCr3m&c=kxasvaxXEVr2udfYjf2S2Yjd7uaQ5SHYD_Q3WNcmbphI9me7byT3Fg==&ch=AiB3QeF4ouRk43pLYQ1kfPbT92JW6ORpg2Uq0u_ofSQPQ8lWwsfd9A==> for land trusts, towns and water companies.
  *   $15 million for the Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001fB8M2-NXExxe0X5U6N0M-HzALryxJjmojp3W6HyZkIj-JygyTSqQdZt1WIGK5E1XXLClYzKoZ7MYZVoKoQcgLj8vr-0iEL7vzZxyNvdKUAFFqA3WMtX7iC_jmI9DOeYWeQibvUr9mfwAF2eu49J9cZToToxVjBOB6sS7OwCvqqxBjHS44F5g_RY3PPF6AfRK4Y1S3vfq3BVT8lLJbhMJS7cJXoigzv8L&c=kxasvaxXEVr2udfYjf2S2Yjd7uaQ5SHYD_Q3WNcmbphI9me7byT3Fg==&ch=AiB3QeF4ouRk43pLYQ1kfPbT92JW6ORpg2Uq0u_ofSQPQ8lWwsfd9A==>, which is essential to DEEP's ability to acquire land for conservation and recreation -- another significant victory in light of the fact that the original biennial bond package had proposed completely eliminating funding for this program.
  *   $10 million for the Recreational Trails Grant Program<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001fB8M2-NXExxe0X5U6N0M-HzALryxJjmojp3W6HyZkIj-JygyTSqQdRhD_wEtHtbFPBaMJhTSUpFyducqjgZMr5ijjUvU97ycHZoe52CQPjUZp_xyGziD4v4SFoewMG3TCwy2CICkeJ3ySg9Qqj9SoHdGzFOLe1KIIGGhkvke5W86yiZHfw9_j6-BJdUySwfycj9q5VSfuG9dzeNaBAE-P7gKUGDFvusXUXgUpx0QweWcRrU5ZCyXYxQl86y5ow8F&c=kxasvaxXEVr2udfYjf2S2Yjd7uaQ5SHYD_Q3WNcmbphI9me7byT3Fg==&ch=AiB3QeF4ouRk43pLYQ1kfPbT92JW6ORpg2Uq0u_ofSQPQ8lWwsfd9A==> for construction, maintenance, and improvements to bikeways, pedestrian walkways, greenways, and multi-use trails.
  *   $25 million for State Park infrastructure alterations and renovations.
  *   $40 million for two new resilience and green infrastructure funds.
State Land Conveyances: Three Sections of Concern Dropped
Neither the 2015 Conveyance Act (the annual bill that allows the General Assembly to transfer public lands to towns and private parties), nor the budget implementer (a vehicle often used to revive bills that did not survive in the regular session) included proposals to transfer a portion of Silver Sands State Park to the City of Milford for parking (Section 3) and to permit access across parts of the Quinebaug Wildlife Management Area in eastern CT for gravel and sand extraction (Sections 13 & 14).
Other Good News
Pro-environment bills passed through the budget implementer included better controls over use of pesticides, including a ban on the use of lawn-care pesticides on municipal playgrounds, and restriction on the use of microbeads (a source of water pollution) in personal care products starting in 2018.
Final Messages
>From you ... Please thank your State Legislators<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001fB8M2-NXExxe0X5U6N0M-HzALryxJjmojp3W6HyZkIj-JygyTSqQdQHKdaw3Y7_xlJeIcPpgaANA3B44QiVSxKsDI9-M6K03P7LmnD48SF7lAh-xml7YDKBPpyN3UUpbfr1wrvF67RDF2kioPj7AXV0RAIlBtGH7KXZzrVRnJBYeTqoUf6LvD_pgO9lNXBFSr55OYdaRaIeb-w7VeWHkig==&c=kxasvaxXEVr2udfYjf2S2Yjd7uaQ5SHYD_Q3WNcmbphI9me7byT3Fg==&ch=AiB3QeF4ouRk43pLYQ1kfPbT92JW6ORpg2Uq0u_ofSQPQ8lWwsfd9A==> and Governor Malloy<mailto:governor.malloy at ct.gov> for their support of these programs and initiatives -- all of which truly make a difference for the economic well-being and overall quality of life in our communities.
>From us ... we've said it before, we'll say it again, and we can't say it enough: Thank you! Your active engagement with your State Legislators was key to successfully protecting these programs from further cuts, restoring those that had been eliminated completely, and helping to pass a number of pro-conservation and environment bills during a particularly difficult legislative session.
With appreciation for all you do -
Amy Blaymore Paterson"

Patrick M. Comins
Director of Bird Conservation
President, Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge

Audubon Connecticut
185 East Flat Hill Road
Southbury, CT 06488

Phone: (203)405-9115
Fax: (203)264-6332

pcomins at audubon.org<mailto:pcomins at audubon.org>
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