By Judy Benson
Publication: The Day
Local residents who use Poquetanuck Cove are being asked to complete a survey to help officials in the two towns that border the brackish tidal arm of the Thames River understand its importance as a recreational resource.
The survey, created by the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/s/Y22LTM9 and should be completed by Feb. 28. Paper copies will also be available at the Preston and Ledyard towns halls and public libraries, said Jean Pillo, watershed conservation coordinator at the district, on Monday.
"I would love to get 500 people to reply, people from all over the area who use the cove," she said.
The results will be sent to the two towns so that land-use boards can refer to them in decisions about development proposals and planning issues that would affect the cove, Pillo said.
In addition to the survey, Pillo is also overseeing creation of a conservation plan for the cove that will be given to the towns and other parties with an interest in the cove by this spring. The towns would be asked to adopt the plan as part of their plans of conservation.
The plan will be written based on input from three workshop meetings with representatives of more than two dozen local and state agencies, nonprofit organizations and businesses with an interest in the cove. At the last of these meetings last month, the group brainstormed ideas for improving and protecting the cove, Pillo said.
One of the ideas was for the creation of a "cove keeper" position, Pillo said. The cove keeper would be hired to work with the two towns and other parties to ensure that the recommendations of the plan are implemented. Grant funds would be sought to pay the cove keeper's salary.
The group also recommended repairs to a historic bridge over Joe Clark Brook be undertaken as a joint project by the two towns. The brook is one of the main tributaries of the cove.
Pillo said she is also meeting with representatives of the state Department of Transportation today about two issues raised during the workshop. Repairs are needed to the section of Route 2A that passes by the cove to prevent the kind of flooding that occurred there during Hurricane Sandy, she said. The road was closed for several hours during the storm due to flooding.
She will also ask DOT officials to create a parking area near a state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection boat launch on the cove. At present, there is no parking, and accessing the launch is difficult, Pillo said.