[CT Birds] Fwd: Resolution of the East River Boat Launch Access Issues

Keith Mueller kmueller at ntplx.net
Sat Feb 13 10:17:35 EST 2016

> Thank you Kathy, I appreciate all your hard work on this matter. Meeting with the State officials and their willingness to work with us will certainly benefit the birding community. 
> This was a big step in the right direction,
> Thank you again,
> Keith mueller
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Feb 13, 2016, at 8:22 AM, Kathy Van Der Aue via CTBirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org> wrote:
>> Keith Mueller and I met Thursday afternoon with Mike Payton of the Boating
>> Division, Jenny Dickson and Ann Kilpatrick of the Wildlife Division and Officer
>> John Torres of the Environmental Conservation Police to discuss the East
>> River Boat Launch site access issues.  We all agreed that the parking lot
>> sign limiting parking to boat trailers etc. was misleading and they have
>> agreed to remove the sign and replace it with signs designating certain
>> parking spaces for boat trailers.  The remaining spaces will be for public
>> parking on a first come, first served basis. They also plan to put in
>> concrete parking bumpers to try and organize the parking in the lot as
>> spaces are undesignated right now.  The confusing signage will also be
>> changed in other lots, such as the Great Island lot, over time.
>> We additionally discussed the possibility of having a few spaces along the
>> wider part of the access road designated for standing only (so a person
>> could sit in the car with binoculars and survey the Saltmarsh Sparrows).
>> Upon measuring the road and finding that this would be possible as the road
>> was 28 feet wide, it was agreed that this could also be done.  There will
>> be absolutely no parking on the other side of the access road.  Given a
>> choice of which side of the road to designate for standing spaces, we chose
>> the side which allowed the driver's side to have the best viewing (the
>> right side as you go in toward the lot).  These spots will be on the
>> portion of the road which is a little more elevated to reduce the
>> possibility of flooding. The area will be clearly marked with signs that
>> indicate only standing “parking” for wildlife viewing will be allowed and
>> it must be between the signs. Having a designated section will help address
>> concerns about emergency access and prevent the creation of pinch points at
>> sections where the access road narrows.
>> They ask for our patience as they need several layers of approvals in this
>> tight budget year for ordering the signs and concrete parking bumpers, but
>> expect it can be accomplished this spring.  As of now it is my
>> understanding that the lot can be used for parking without fear of drawing
>> attention from the EnCon police.   As to "Standing" along the access road,
>> it is still marked "No Parking" on both sides.  Until the signs are changed
>> the situation is in flux and I ask you to respect the signs.  I suspect
>> Officers would use their discretion if there was some exciting rarity that
>> drew birders to the spot before the signs are changed, but they would not
>> be legally required to do so.
>> Please let me know of any further concerns that you may have about this
>> issue.  I am personally very grateful that our concerns were met with such
>> respect by Mike Payton and am very happy with the result.  Jenny Dickson
>> and Ann Kilpatrick were understandably concerned that the marsh not be
>> infringed upon as it is valuable habitat for high conservation priority
>> species such as the Saltmarsh Sparrow.  Officer John Torres was concerned
>> with access for emergency vehicles if there are cars standing alongside the
>> access road but he agreed that the width of the road was sufficient for
>> emergency access.  I believe these concerns are valid and ask all of you to
>> be most careful when using these areas to be sure not to block emergency
>> access or infringe upon the marsh.
>> Thanks to Keith for bringing this matter to COA's attention.
>> Kathy Van Der Aue
>> ​, President, COA​
>> Southport, Connecticut
>> Visit my Blog at http://naturaliststable.wordpress.com
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