[CT Birds] Audubon Connecticut Testimony on Plum Island

Comins, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Thu Feb 18 12:53:02 EST 2016



Below  is our testimony on S.J. No. 4 (COMM) RESOLUTION MEMORIALIZING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PERMANENTLY PRESERVE PLUM ISLAND AS A NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE.

February 18, 2016
Re: S.J. No. 4 (COMM) RESOLUTION MEMORIALIZING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PERMANENTLY PRESERVE PLUM ISLAND AS A NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

We appreciate the opportunity to provide testimony in support of the preservation and protection of Plum Island.

Plum Island is an 840-acre natural and historical treasure located off the coasts of New York and Connecticut in Long Island Sound at the confluence of two estuaries of national significance - Long Island Sound and Peconic Bay. For centuries, this unique coastal environment has served our nation as a historic coastal fortress, a vital research institution, and a rich natural preserve that has provided refuge to numerous rare, threatened, and endangered species. Recognized as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society, Plum Island serves as a vital nesting, foraging, migratory stopover and wintering habitat to more than 210 documented bird species, including the federally endangered Roseate Tern and federally threatened Piping Plover, along with thousands of migrating birds.

Today, as a result of what we believe are several short-sighted decisions, the island is slated for sale to the highest bidder rather than being preserved for its conservation values and unique location. The consequences of not preserving the conservation values of the island would be devastating for both the island's cultural and natural resources as well as local communities.

As the human footprint expands, the natural places birds and other wildlife need become increasingly scarce. It would be nearly impossible for conservation interests to compete against well-financed private developers if the federal government moves forward with auctioning off Plum Island.

While legislation that would protect Plum Island has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 1887) and Senate (S.1675), its progress has been stifled. This resolution-which highlights the importance of our regional treasure, and Connecticut's desire to protect it-would help galvanize support and build momentum for Plum Island's permanent protection. Audubon Connecticut will continue to work with Congress to urge their support on the bipartisan effort, and as part of one of the largest conservation organizations in the United States, we will use our strength to make the American public recognize this is not merely a local issue-it is a national concern.

We encourage you to be supportive and request Congress to do what's needed to preserve Plum Island as part of our rich natural heritage, rather than an opportunity to destroy the unique value it possesses.

Thank you for considering this important request. We thank you for your leadership and support on conservation.

Stewart J. Hudson
Executive Director


(Contact): Genese Leach, Policy Manager, Phone: 301-704-5235, Email: gleach at audubon.org



There is some additional background information on the issue available here, which is an active action alert on federal legislation:

https://secure.audubon.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2115



This alert allows you to weigh in to federal elected officials, which is also very important!



Patrick


Patrick M. Comins, Director of Bird Conservation, Audubon Connecticut
Phone: (203)405-9115
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