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Public input sought on proposed Connecticut estuarine research reserve

Groton — A team of academic officials, state agencies and environmental organizations is poised to nominate coastal areas of southeastern Connecticut for a proposed National Estuarine Research Reserve, and they are seeking the public's input.

A public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, in the second-floor auditorium of the Academic Building at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus.

Team members, who have been working on the proposal for more than two years, will discuss their efforts and the nomination process. Representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also will be on hand to answer any questions about the estuarine research reserve system, according to a news release issued by UConn and Connecticut Sea Grant. The initiative is being led by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, in coordination with UConn and Connecticut Sea Grant.

Through a state-federal partnership, the NERR system establishes reserve locations dedicated to research and monitoring of estuaries, education and stewardship. The proposed Connecticut reserve would complement existing scientific, environmental management and educational activities by providing additional funding, resources and expertise, according to the release. It also would help local agencies develop new directions and initiatives through leveraging national programs.

The reserve heading for nomination in Connecticut is a hybrid one that comprises several areas in southeastern Connecticut: the Lord Cove Wildlife Management Area and Great Island Wildlife Management Area in Old Lyme; Bluff Point State Park, Coastal Reserve and Natural Area Preserve and Haley Farm State Park in Groton, and public trust portions of bodies of water in the lower Connecticut River, Thames River and Mystic areas, the release said.

"A healthy and productive Long Island Sound is our greatest natural resource" and annually contributes an estimated $7 billion to the regional economy, according to the state webpage about the proposed reserve.


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