February 10, 2016

RiverQuest Now Booking Annual Winter Wonderland/Eagle Boat Cruises on CT River

1302_2013FebEagleWatch_024-3a-580x414Connecticut River Expeditions is ready to cruise on the lower Connecticut River this February and March for their 13th Annual Winter Wonderland/Eagle Boat Cruises. These perennially popular winter cruises will depart from Eagle Landing State Park in the Tylerville section of Haddam, Conn.

Cruises will start on Saturday, Feb. 13, and run through March 20.

These cruises are very popular; it is suggested you book early to reserve your spots.

“We are really looking forward to offering this unique cruise during the 2016 winter season. After last year’s horrific ice conditions on the river, we can’t wait to get to work this year,” says Capt. Mark of the quiet, friendly eco-tour vessel RiverQuest.

He  adds, “On this special cruise, our goal is to search for and learn about resident and visiting Bald Eagles and other wildlife we will find on our journey. We feel very fortunate that we are able to bring people out on the river during this quiet season to experience these magnificent raptors and one of our greatest natural resources, the Connecticut River.”

5_immature_eagles_in_a_tree_compressedWithout the summer boat traffic, there is a sense of tranquility on the river and with no leaves on the trees, the river’s edge offers a very different view, making it easier to find and see winter wildlife. In past years, bird sightings have included from one to 41 Bald Eagles, along with numerous hawk and duck varieties, falcons, cormorants and more. On occasion, fox, coyote, deer, bobcat and even seals have been seen.

Winter and early spring are also a great time of year to explore and experience the entire lower Connecticut River Valley. Come out, enjoy and support local businesses. There are shops and restaurants in Haddam, East Haddam and neighboring towns; stop by and visit one before or after your cruise. Although Gillette Castle, just 4.5 miles away from RiverQuest is closed, the park grounds are open for daytime visitors.

Take your camera and binoculars, but if you have no binoculars, there are extras available on RiverQuest for your use during the cruise. There will be complimentary coffee and tea on board.

Weekend and weekday times are available for these 2+ hour cruises. Cost is $40 per person.

It is requested that no children under 10 travel. For more information, departure times and easy on-line reservations visit RiverQuest at ctriverquest.com. 860-662-0577. Private charters and gift certificates are also available.


Old Lyme Conservation Commission Requests Publication of Rogers Lake Long-term Plan

Targeted Areas of Acute Weed Infestation A. Hains Park/Rowing Docks B. Island Narrows C. Boat Launch Area

Targeted Areas of Acute Weed Infestation: A. Hains Park/Rowing Docks, B. Island Narrows, C. Boat Launch Area

The Old Lyme Conservation Commission regards Rogers Lake as one of the town’s most valuable resources  both for its recreational values and for its value as a source for two of the three main aquifers in Old Lyme. This is particularly important at a time when the Rogers Lake Authority plans to apply the herbicide Clipper to large areas of the lake for the very first time.

The Conservation Commission has asked us to publish the 2015 Rogers Lake Long-term Plan:

  1. Reduce the presence of waterfowl around the lake … 40 geese x 3 pounds per day x 365 days = 43,800 pounds of fertilizer per year
  2. Reduce the septic system pump-out frequency to three years and include Lyme lake residents in the program. Consider a local sewer system for Old Lyme’s lake residents.
  3. Encourage the Inland Wetlands Commissions of Lyme and Old Lyme to establish a monitoring system to assure that state law restricting phosphate in lawn fertilizer around water bodies is enforced.
  4. Greatly increase the use of benthic mats, including use of large mats to cover the worst patches of invasive weeds, especially in shallow water motorboat channels (Figure 1).
  5. Establish silt ponds at the mouths of the five largest streams feeding Rogers Lake and maintain them every year by removing the nutrient rich sediment and sell it.
  6. Plan a major fall drawdown (six feet) and plan to deepen boat channels and the worst areas of weed infestation. Establish dewatering areas. Sell the dredged sediment to pay for the operation. Bring in the Connecticut Water Company to provide a local water company to provide water for shallow well owners, permitting major draw-downs and ensuring year round potable water for lake residents.
  7. Establish special zoning regulations for the 500 acre drainage area on the southeast side of the lake to reduce nutrient runoff.  Re-engineer the dam at Ogle Pond so that it can control 3 – 5 inch rain events and prevent flooding of Boston Post Road and Grassy Hill Road.
  8. Assess the area to the north of the lake for nutrients entering the lake during major rain events.  Take steps to reduce this source of nutrients using dams and silt ponds.
  9. Create an email database for all residents of the Rogers Lake basin in order to keep the residents informed and to permit them to play an active role in lake management.
  10. Redevelop Hains Park, including the new boathouse project, community room, pavilion, swimming area and appropriate parking to help integrate and invest the townspeople in the life and affairs of the lake community.
  11. Continue an invasive plant education and monitoring program at the State boat launch to help prevent the introduction of additional invasive species into the lake.
  12. Seal lake bottom sediment in key areas with alum to prevent the release of phosphorus each time the lake becomes anoxic (usually in Autumn).  Even small increases in the levels of phosphorus result in greatly increased weed growth.
  13. Establish a long term plan to dredge the lake. Establish dewatering locations around the lake and establish a specific location nearby to deposit the spoils. Small quantities of material can be annually dredged from the lake without undergoing the extensive and expensive state and federal permitting process.  The Commission suggests that the town take advantage of this opportunity to target specific areas on the lake (See map of Rogers Lake above).

Preserve Closures Announced in Lyme During Deer Firearm Hunting Season

The following Preserves in Lyme will be closed Monday through Friday from Wednesday, Nov. 18 through Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015 except to licensed hunters with valid consent forms from the Town of Lyme Open Space Coordinator:  Banningwood Preserve, Beebe Preserve, Chestnut Hill Preserve, Eno Preserve, Hand Smith, Honey Hill Preserve, Jewett Preserve, Mount Archer Woods, Pickwick’s Preserve, Plimpton Preserve, and Slawson Preserve.

These preserves, owned by the Town of Lyme or the Lyme Land Conservation Trust, will be open on Saturdays and Sundays during this hunting period as no hunting is allowed on weekends. The hunting program is fully subscribed.

For more information on the hunting program in Lyme, visit http://www.lymelandtrust.org/stewardship/hunting-program/


Last of the (Eightmile River) Dams to be Removed

The Ed Bills Dam locale in winter.

The Ed Bills Dam locale in winter.

The only remaining dam on the East Branch of the Eightmile River will come down as part of a river restoration project led by The Nature Conservancy and American Rivers.

Construction activities will remove the nearly 80-year-old Ed Bills Pond Dam and restore a natural river channel. The restored site will be ready for the return of migratory fish next spring. The project will provide habitat for such native species as brook trout, turtles, and mussels, as well as migratory alewife, blueback herring, Atlantic salmon, American eel and sea lamprey—all also native species.

“Connecticut has more than 5,000 dams. Most of these dams no longer serve their original purposes, yet they unfortunately still prevent fish from reaching spawning habitat critical to their survival. Projects like this one allow us to help change that and restore natural river conditions,” said Amy Singler, who is managing the project for the Conservancy and American Rivers.

The Ed Bills Pond Dam is near the mouth of the East Branch of the Eightmile River on Salem Road.  While the project will be visible from Salem Road, the dam is on private land. For the purpose of safety, public access is restricted. The public will be able to see photos as the project progresses and learn more about it at Facebook.com/CT.NatureConservancy and Facebook.com/AmericanRivers.

The dam is privately owned, and the dam owner is working closely with local and regional project partners to advance river restoration.

Funding partners include The Nature Conservancy, American Rivers, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund, Newman’s Own Foundation, Patagonia, Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, and many generous private donors.

The project will remove the dam and existing fish ladder in order to restore unrestricted natural river conditions through the area flooded by the dam, resulting in access to 9.7 miles of free- flowing river.

Like so many Connecticut Rivers, the East Branch of the Eightmile River has been dammed for more than 100 years; however, the dam being removed was built as recently as the 1940s for aesthetic and recreational purposes. The location of the fish ladder entrance at the dam is not optimal to allow passage of significant numbers of migratory fish.


Malloy to Attend Opening Ceremony for ‘The Preserve’ Today; Post-Ceremony Hike Planned

Governor Dannel Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Philip Miller (D-Chester/Deep River/Essex/Haddam) will participate in an event celebrating the permanent protection of “The Preserve,” the 1,000 acre coastal woodland.

Miller will be joining Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy and other state and local officials at a reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 13, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Great Cedars (West) Conservation Area, 155 Ingham Hill Rd., Old Saybrook.

Miller is inviting attendees to join him in a hike he will be leading at “The Preserve” following the opening ceremony.

Miller notes,“This is going to be a wonderful ceremonial event to celebrate the protection of this coastal land that will remain a treasured open space for everyone to enjoy,” adding, “Looking forward to welcoming as many people as possible who can attend.”


Nature Conservancy and East Haddam Conserve 133 Acres of Priority Lower Connecticut River Lands


EAST HADDAM — A project providing a key addition to a 10-mile conservation corridor has been successfully completed by The Nature Conservancy. Protection of more than 130 acres of forest will connect two popular conservation and outdoor recreation areas, while safeguarding three-quarters of a mile of streams and wetlands that feed into one of New England’s most important natural resources: the Connecticut River.

“Protecting the forests and wetlands that border Connecticut River tributaries benefits the health of the entire lower Connecticut River, as well as everything—and everyone—that relies on it,” said Sarah Pellegrino, land protection and strategies manager for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

“In this case, the newly protected land will help preserve water quality for brook trout, migratory fish and mussels; provide habitat for migratory birds and other animals and secure beautiful outdoor spots where current and future generations can hike, birdwatch and simply get out in the woods,” Pellegrino said.

Located within the basin of the Eightmile River, a Connecticut River tributary, the acreage includes two separate acquisitions on which the town of East Haddam and The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut collaborated. Both acquisitions were awarded Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition grants from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Both areas will be open to the public for passive recreation.

The acquisitions are adjacent to the Conservancy’s Burnham Brook Preserve, which was the first land protected by the Conservancy in the entire Connecticut River watershed, starting in 1960.

Conservation of one of these properties—the 113-acre Lefebvre property—accomplished a long-standing Conservancy goal of connecting Devil’s Hopyard State Park and Burnham Brook Preserve. It adds to a roughly 10-mile conservation corridor that extends to the confluence of the Eightmile and Connecticut rivers.

This project was awarded a DEEP open space grant of $263,700 towards the total purchase price. The property will be jointly owned and managed between the Conservancy and the town.

The second acquisition—the 20-acre Zeleznicky property—is a 20-acre parcel that supports mixed hardwoods and contains over 1,000 feet of Burnham Brook. To protect this land, the Conservancy and East Haddam jointly applied for a DEEP open space grant and were awarded $78,000 towards the purchase price. The town will own and manage the property.

“These acquisitions were possible only because of the patience and commitment of willing land owners and of the conservation partners who played a role,” Pellegrino said “We’re extremely pleased both of these properties will remain as natural areas.”

Editor’s Note: The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 18 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 117 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org/connecticut.


Audubon Society’s CT River Lecture Series Starts This Afternoon

The Connecticut River Estuary Lecture Series hosted by the Connecticut Audubon Society begins this afternoon with a presentation on conservation education at Essex Meadows starting at 4 p.m.

Michelle Eckman, director of education at Connecticut Audubon Society, will discuss her efforts to advance science-based inquiry through Science in Nature, Connecticut Audubon’s award-winning environmental education program. She will be joined by a science teacher from Essex Elementary School, which is participating in Science in Nature, as well as Dr. Paul Spitzer, nationally known Osprey researcher, who will discuss the Osprey’s return from near-extinction.

Admission to the lecture is free but RSVP’s are required. To RSVP, contact Allison Bryant at the Connecticut Audubon Society at abryant@ctaudubon.org or 203 259-0416 x106.  A reception follows each lecture.

The second lecture focuses on the ecology of the estuary (May 24) presented by Dr. Wayne (Rocky) Geyer, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and Dr. Gail Kineke, associate professor at Boston College and a Woods Hole scientist.

The final lecture will look at the role of the estuary in painting and writing (June 4) and be presented by Jeffrey Cooley, founder and owner of The Cooley Gallery in Old Lyme.

Each lecture starts at 4 p.m. at Essex Meadows.

For more information on the lecture series, visit www.ctaudubon.org/2015/04/connecticut-river-estuary-lecture-series/.

These lectures are one of the initial projects  of a new regional board formed by the Connecticut Audubon Society to focus on the lower Connecticut River valley and southeastern Connecticut.

The new board will work in conjunction with Connecticut Audubon Society staff and state Board of Directors to provide direction and support to the organization’s conservation and education work in Old Lyme, Lyme, Essex, Old Saybrook, and other communities in southeastern Connecticut.

The board’s other seminal projects include the introduction of Connecticut Audubon’s award-winning Science in Nature outdoor education program at Essex Elementary School and an effort to expand Osprey Nation, Connecticut Audubon’s citizen science Osprey monitoring program.

For decades Connecticut Audubon Society has maintained nature sanctuaries in Montville, Haddam, East Haddam, Stonington and Middletown. In addition to being a key component of the region’s native habitat, the sanctuaries serve as portals of opportunity into nature for children and families in the region.

The chair of the new Regional Board is Herman Blanke of Old Lyme. Other members are Patsy McCook (secretary) of Old Lyme; Emily Bjornberg of Lyme; Elsie Childs of Old Lyme; Jim Denham of Essex; Margarita Emerson of Niantic; Eleanor Robinson of Old Lyme; Dr. Ted Vanitallie of Old Lyme; and Claudia Weicker of Old Lyme.

Herman Blanke and Jim Denham are also members of Connecticut Audubon Society’s Board of Directors.

In addition, Old Lyme resident John Forbis and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder have provided essential support to this effort.

“Having had the fortune to live in Essex for 15 years, I have always appreciated the values of the Connecticut River; its incredible aesthetic beauty, its ecological contributions, and its great historical legacy to the people of this nation., said Alexander Brash, president of Connecticut Audubon Society.

He continued, “In keeping with the great tradition of conservationists of the area, we are looking to work with its citizens and school children in order to highlight and protect the area’s birds, unique biodiversity and habitats, and leverage such interactions for greater awareness of conservation issues across the state.”

“There is a great conservation tradition to uphold in this region,” said Herman Blanke. “Roger Tory Peterson of Old Lyme helped make birding the popular pastime that it is and also drew the connection between birds and conservation. A century ago, the painters of Old Lyme turned this beautiful landscape into art. We view it as our goal and our responsibility to carry on that tradition of conservation and appreciation for the beauty of the natural world.”

Jim Denham said, “From its inception, Connecticut Audubon Society has made conservation education the foundation of its work. Each generation is responsible for helping the next generation understand how the natural world works and why conservation is important, and for making sure the wonders of nature don’t get lost amid all the distractions of the modern world. That’s what we are trying to accomplish at Essex Elementary School, and we intend for it to be a stepping stone to collaborations with other schools as well.”

Science in Nature, which provides curriculum-based outdoor science education to students in elementary and high schools, recently completed its first session at Essex Elementary, with a field trip to Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingworth. The second session is set for May 28 at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison.

Science in Nature teaches the principles of conservation science in local outdoor settings, focusing on climate and weather, rocks and soils, ecological adaptations, and wetland ecology. The goal is to increase environmental literacy among elementary, middle and high school students so they will understand basic environmental science principles and be more likely to participate in finding solutions to environmental issues within their communities.

In October it was named the best outdoor conservation program in the region by the New England Environmental Education Alliance. Schools from almost 50 communities in Connecticut have participated in Science in Nature, although Essex Elementary is the first in southeastern Connecticut to take part.

Osprey Nation uses volunteer citizen scientists, working under the direction of Connecticut Audubon’s conservation staff, to find and monitor nests of the state’s resurgent Osprey population.

More than 400 Osprey nests have been identified and plotted on a map. The greatest concentration in the state is on Great Island in Old Lyme. Connecticut Audubon is hoping that increased awareness of the project will propt more local residents to volunteer to as Osprey stewards in Old Lyme and elsewhere throughout the southeastern part of the state.

Founded in 1898, Connecticut Audubon Society is the state’s original and still independent Audubon Society. The Society manages four nature centers, two museums, and 19 sanctuaries across the state. It uses the charismatic nature of birds to inspire the next generation of conservationists, and to work with the current generation to protect and improve the state’s natural habitats for the betterment of state residents, birds and other wildlife.

Connecticut Audubon Society’s headquarters are at Birdcraft Sanctuary in Fairfield. It has regional centers and associated boards in Fairfield, Pomfret, Glastonbury and Milford.


With Protection of The Preserve, Partners Secure Historic Conservation Gain

Conservation acquisition of almost 1,000-acre coastal forest in Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook expands Connecticut’s conservation legacy and is the culmination many years of work.

OLD SAYBROOK, CT—A coalition led by The Trust for Public Land and including The Nature Conservancy today announced protection of The Preserve, a huge swath of undeveloped forest located primarily in Old Saybrook.

To support this project, The Nature Conservancy will hold a conservation easement over almost 900 acres of The Preserve.

Over the years, the Conservancy was involved in many efforts with partners to protect the land. In the end, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) took the lead and, in 2013, negotiated The Preserve’s acquisition from River Sound Development LLC. TPL secured $10 million for project costs with financial commitments from the state, Old Saybrook, Essex and many public and private donors. The state and Old Saybrook are sharing ownership, with the Essex Land Trust owning 70 acres in Essex. The state will hold an easement over the acreage in Essex.

“Helping protect a place of this magnitude is an opportunity that simply does not come around often. When it does, you take it,” said Frogard Ryan, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “It’s gratifying for the Conservancy to be able to play a crucial role in this milestone—a success that adds substantially to Connecticut’s remarkable legacy of conservation.”

The Preserve is an extraordinary expanse of forest, wetlands and vernal pools. It includes the headwaters of the Oyster River. It is a stopover spot for migratory birds and provides habitat for dozens of animal and plant species.

“The Preserve was the last remaining opportunity in Southern New England to protect a block of coastal forest this large,” Ryan said. “We’re inspired—and galvanized for the future—by the leadership and vision of the many partners who made this achievement possible.”

In 2014, to provide extra protection for public lands, the Connecticut General Assembly gave the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection authority to grant protective easements over state park and forest land to nonprofit organizations. Lawmakers also granted authority for an easement over The Preserve. Because of the Conservancy’s experience, the state, TPL and Old Saybrook asked the Conservancy to hold that easement.

The Conservancy is thrilled to be able to accept the easement and is grateful for financial support for long-term costs from TPL and philanthropist Joan Livingston Tweedy, her family and their Tortuga Foundation.

“This is an iconic conservation success story, and we’re honored to play a part in it,” said Sarah Pellegrino, land protection and strategies manager for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “The Trust for Public Land, the Tortuga Foundation, the state of Connecticut, the towns of Old Saybrook and Essex, Connecticut Fund for the Environment: The list goes on. So many people have played a part in making this dream a reality.”

David Sutherland, government relations director for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut said: “Connecticut’s conservation community long has been working to preserve this property. Through years of hopes and setbacks, the impact of raging real estate markets and the weight of global financial forces, The Preserve and the wildlife that lives on it has endured. This acquisition will enable them to continue to thrive for decades to come.”


Lyme, Old Lyme Presents Rogers Lake Weed Study Findings

A view across Rogers Lake in Old Lyme.

A view across Rogers Lake in Old Lyme.

The Towns of Lyme and Old Lyme have scheduled a public presentation on the recommendations of the Rogers Lake Weeds Study, completed by New England Environmental (NEE),  for Monday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium.

The recommendations are to use the herbicide flumioxazone to target certain areas of the invasive weeds that are a nuisance and safety concern, and to employ hydroraking in areas that contain nuisance pond lilies.

The Rogers Lake Weeds Study Committee voted 4 to 1 to approve the recommendation for the treatment and to proceed to a public information presentation. Representatives from NEE will be on hand to present their findings and answer questions on the options that were considered and the recommendations.

The Water Quality Report, Well Impact Report and the Final Report are all available on the town website at www.oldlyme-ct.gov, under Current Projects.


Middlesex Land Trust & CT River Gateway Commission Announce New Open Space Acquisition in Haddam Neck

haddamNeckMapRaulBrownFINAL031815_v2In February of this year the Middlesex Land Trust, in partnership with the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, purchased 50 acres of open space for permanent protection in Haddam Neck. This new preserve offers breathtaking views across the Connecticut River to Haddam Meadows State Park from a rough path that runs along the base of dramatic cliffs created from the property’s historic use as a quarry.

The Middlesex Land Trust now owns the preserve and is planning to develop a trail system for the public to enjoy for hiking, passive recreation and education. The tract lies along Injun Hollow Road just north of the 585 acres Connecticut Yankee property.

The land has been named the Brainerd Quarry Preserve to reflect the historic importance of the Brainerd Family in Haddam. Daniel Brainerd was one of the 28 founding settlers of Haddam in 1662, and a century later, in 1762, Deacon Esra Brainerd opened a quarry on the now preserved site. The quarry operated for more than 150 years, shipping stone down river to New York and as far south as Maryland, Virginia and New Orleans.

A 2011 study of the history and archeology of the area describes the Brainerds as “a family of entrepreneurs in the forefront of early industry and commerce in the Connecticut River Valley” and recommends the quarry site as “an ideal candidate for use as an outdoor classroom for studies in local history, geology, mining, early American industry, the Industrial Revolution in Connecticut and other related topics for grammar school, high school and college students.”

This significant property along the Connecticut River is now owned and managed by the Middlesex Land Trust, a regional not-for-profit volunteer land conservation organization that, since 1987, has been dedicated to the preservation of open space in northern Middlesex County.

The purchase was initiated by, and made possible through grant funding from the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, a state-local compact that protects the Lower Connecticut River Valley, one of the “most important ecological landscapes in the United States” according to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

A dedication ceremony for the new Brainerd Quarry Preserve and the opening of the preserve to the public is anticipated for the summer of 2015.


Old Lyme Land Trust Presents McCulloch Family with Land Saver Award

At its 49th Annual Meeting on March 22, the Old Lyme Land Trust (OLTT) presented its Land Saver Award to the McCulloch Family in recognition of the family’s extraordinary vision and generosity.

Inspired by their mother, “Rook” Metzger McCulloch, who instilled in them the principle of stewardship, and by their love of the land, David and Jean McCulloch, Catherine Taffy Holland and Mary Jean McCulloch Vasiloff donated a conservation easement on 434 acres known as the McCulloch Farm in 2000. The easement, held by The Nature Conservancy, restricts the use and prevents further development of the property.

Lying in the Black Hall River Watershed, the land has extraordinary conservation value. With this portion of the watershed protected, the Great Island tidal marsh complex with its rich and diverse wildlife is protected as well.

Christina Clayton, President of OLLT, noted that Old Lyme residents receive benefits from the donation in addition to the conservation ones. The McCulloch Farm lies along Whippoorwill Road in the center of town and contributes significantly to the rural character of Old Lyme. And the taxpayers remain unburdened by the cost of services that residential development of this large tract would have imposed.

Dr. Robert A. Askins, Katherine Blunt Professor of Biology at Connecticut College, was the guest speaker at the annual meeting. Dr. Askins is a renowned ornithologist and expert on ecology and conservation biology, who recently published a book entitled, “Conservation of Deciduous Forests in New England, Japan and Europe.”

Dr. Askins spoke about the need for a blended approach to the conservation of New England’s forests, in order to protect the greatest number of both plant and animal species. Large tracts of unfragmented forest are necessary for a number of threatened and endangered species, but others, such as the endangered New England cottontail and several species of songbirds, require early successional habitats, such a thickets and grassy openings in the forest canopy.

The OLLT plans to incorporate Dr. Askins’s recommendations into the management plans for its preserves.


CT River Museum Offers Canoe, Kayak Paddle Program This Summer, Partly Funded by Cabela’s

Connecticut River Museum Expands On-water Experiences with the Development of a Canoe and Kayak Paddle Program. Photo credit: Joan Meek.

Connecticut River Museum Expands On-water Experiences with the Development of a Canoe and Kayak Paddle Program. Photo credit: Joan Meek.

The Connecticut River Museum (CRM) will launch a canoe and kayak paddle program on the museum campus in Essex this summer as a major expansion of its environmental outreach. The Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion, conservation and improvement of wildlife and wildlife habitat, hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor sporting and recreational activities, has made a generous contribution to CRM that will fund the purchase of 10 boats as well as assorted equipment that will make this important educational program possible.

According to the museum’s director, Chris Dobbs, “The Connecticut River Paddle Explorations Program is an exciting expansion of our ongoing environmental education activities and will allow more members and visitors to get out on the water. We are thankful to the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund for making this possible.”

“Cabela’s Outdoor Fund is proud to support the Connecticut River Museum and its efforts in educating and exposing the community to the great outdoors,” said Jeremy Wonch, vice president of Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. “The Connecticut River Paddle Explorations Program will be great for both the community and the conservation efforts on the Connecticut River.”

Between June and September, CRM will offer canoes and kayaks at a nominal fee as a member benefit and to the public. The program will allow visitors to explore the local marshes and tributaries around CRM, a great way for adults and families to access the River.

Dobbs commented, “Through the generosity of the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, the museum will be able to use these boats for a variety of education programs.” He said that this would include “guided paddles, exploration of nature preserves along the River, and places further afield.” As part of the expanded vision for the museum, Dobbs would like the paddle program to partner with land trusts, historical societies, and other organizations up and down the River as a way to build appreciation for this “magnificent cultural and environmental resource.”

For more information about this program, to volunteer with the paddle program or to provide additional support, contact the Connecticut River Museum at 860.767.8269 or via email at crm@ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM and closed on Mondays until Memorial Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.

For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.


Become Part of FrogWatch USA! Learn How at Lyme Library Presentation, March 25

Learn how to identify the American toad (pictured above) at the upcoming Lyme Library presentation. Photo by Jill Sharp for Frogwatch USA

Learn how to identify the American toad (pictured above) at the upcoming Lyme Library presentation. Photo by Jill Sharp for Frogwatch USA

Come learn how to be an amphibian scientist!

On Wednesday, March 25, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Lyme Public Library, The Nature Conservancy will be hosting Jim Sirch, the Education Coordinator of the Yale Peabody Museum.  He will guide participants on becoming FrogWatch USA volunteers.

FrogWatch USA is a program created by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help engage the public in monitoring local frog and toad populations.  Frogs and toads serve as important clues to environmental health because they are highly  sensitive to changing environmental conditions.  They also help keep insect populations low, preventing the spread of disease.

Sadly, however, frogs and toads are on the decline.  Thirty eight species of the 280 native amphibian species in the United States are currently listed under the Endangered Species Act.

At this training, Sirch will teach you how to identify different amphibian calls, where and how often to monitor your local wetlands and how to submit your data to the larger FrogWatch USA effort, so you can help contribute meaningful information about the frogs and toads in your neighborhood.

Space is limited.  Contact Liz Robinson of The Nature Conservancy at (203) 568-6270 x 6409 to register.


Presentation of Nehantic State Forest 10-Year Forestry Plan This Afternoon in Old Lyme

A presentation of the proposed 10-year Forestry Plan for Nehantic State Forest will be given from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall.  The Old Lyme Open Space Commission and the Old Lyme Land Trust are hosting the event.  All are welcome to attend.

Emery Gluck from the Division of Forestry, Bureau of Natural Resources, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, will open by discussing, “Management Goals and Proposed Bio-Indicators for Nehantic State Forest Management Plan”

The next speaker will be Margo Burns, Environmental Planner for the Lower Connecticut River Council of Governments, who will present, “The Lower Connecticut River  and Coastal Region Natural Resource Base Strategic Conservation Plan: A GIS Overlay Analysis”

Tom Worthley, UConn Extension Forester, will discuss, “Background and Rationale for Managing Forests,” and Lisa Wahle from the DEEP Wildlife Division’s will present, “Connecticut’s New England Cottontail Program.”

Other speakers will include Dick Raymond, a DEEP Forestry, Municipal and Private Lands Forester for New London, Tolland and Windham Counties and Elizabeth Robinson, Land Steward for The Nature Conservancy Eight Mile River Watershed.

All are welcome to attend the program. An open discussion will follow the presentations.

The goals of the Nehantic State Forest Resource Management Plan are:

1) To promote biological diversity (viable populations of all forest species of plants and animals native to the area) by promoting upland ecosystems and populations that are not adequately sustaining themselves under current conditions.

2) Maintain or improve aquatic system integrity

3) To promote healthy and sustainable forests

Indicators will be used to measure and monitor progress toward the management goals. Proposed indicators use a “Bio-diversity Scorecard” format developed by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences as a guide. It can be found at A Forest Biodiversity Scorecard

A landscape wide approach has been incorporated into the plan so management strategies in Nehantic take into account the condition and trends of the surrounding forest.

The plan will follow a “natural disturbance model of management” to promote biodiversity.

The model uses nature as a guide for management. A combination of active and passive management will be used to promote an array of all the different forest types and structures that have historically sustained all native plant and animal populations.

Active management generally involves trees harvests. Background information can be found at DEEP: Why We Harvest Trees in Connecticut State Forests and DEEP: Young Forest and Shrubland Initiative


Watershed Council Appoints New Steward to Protect Lower Connecticut River

Alicea Charamut

Alicea Charamut

The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) has announced the appointment of Alicea Charamut as the new Lower River Steward for the Connecticut region. She works from CRWC’s office in the deKoven House in Middletown, CT. However, she is responsible for protecting the Connecticut River basin from the Massachusetts border all the way to Long Island Sound.

“Water is one of our planet’s most critical resources,” notes Alicea. “Unfortunately, our rivers and streams are taken for granted. It is up to organizations like CRWC with its passionate members, staff, and volunteers to protect and restore our watersheds for future generations. I consider myself fortunate to join the staff and begin work on behalf of the Connecticut River watershed.”

Charamut is already working on a number of important projects, including: Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), upcoming water quality standard revisions, Long Island Sound clean-up plan revisions, extension of the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail into MA & CT, Connecticut Yankee barrier, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for tires, state-wide Water Planning, and is co-lead on CRWC’s Source to Sea River Cleanup.

An advocate for Connecticut’s rivers and streams for nearly a decade, Charamut has a strong background in biology and water resource issues. She currently serves as the President of the Farmington Valley Chapter and on the Executive Committee of the State Council of Trout Unlimited. Her work as a volunteer leader has given her many useful skills and knowledge of water issues, which she is eager to put to work for our rivers.

Charamut can be reached at 860-704-0057 or acharamut@ctriver.org.

The Connecticut River Watershed Council works to protect the watershed from source to sea. As stewards of this heritage, we celebrate our four-state treasure and collaborate, educate, organize, restore and intervene to preserve its health for generations to come. Our work informs our vision of economic and ecological abundance. To learn more about CRWC, or to make a contribution to help protect our rivers, visit www.ctriver.org or call 413-772-2020, ext. 201


OS Land Trust Hosts ‘A Place Called Hope’ at Annual Meeting, March 22

Zen, A Barred Owl, rehabbed by A Place Called Hope. Photo by Spirit Hawk Photography

Zen, A Barred Owl, rehabbed by A Place Called Hope. Photo by Spirit Hawk Photography

Join the Old Saybrook Land Trust (OSLT) for a program featuring A Place Called Hope and First Selectman, Carl Fortuna Jr., Sunday, March 22, from 3 to 5 p.m., at Grace Episcopal Church, 336 Main St., Old Saybrook.

Fortuna will offer a brief update on The Preserve purchase and plans for public access, then ‘A Place Called Hope’ will offer a live bird demonstration with some examples of birds that inhabit the 1,000 acre forest.
The brief OSLT Annual Business Meeting follows the program.
A Place Called Hope often draws a big crowd, so seating may be limited. Reservations are requested but not required. To reserve a seat, RSVP to oldsaybrooklandtrust@oslt.org, or call 860-575-4831, walk-ins are welcome up to room capacity. This is a free event with light refreshments served.
For more information about OSLT, visit oslt.org.

(Ice) Dammed If You Don’t …

An example of a roof ice dam in Willimantic, Conn.

An example of a roof ice dam in Willimantic, Conn.

Ice dams form when water from melting snow refreezes at the eaves or gutters. Water can then pond above the ice dam and even leak into the building. This is almost always a sign that (1) the attic is not properly insulated, (2) the roof is not properly ventilated, and (3) if there is leakage, the membrane beneath the shingles is not working.

In an ideal situation, proper insulation does its work to keep heat inside the house, and the roof is merely a means to keep rain or snow out. If your attic is not a living space, lots of insulation between the ceiling below and the attic space ensures that very little heat gets up there. Proper ventilation of the attic space then ensures that the roof never gets warm enough to melt snow on top of it.

Even if the room directly beneath the roof is a living space, the same principles apply. In this case, it is much harder to install enough insulation, but there should be a space between the insulation and the roof’s inside sheathing so that cold air can flow from eave vents up through that space to carry away any heat that gets through the insulation.

Modern materials such as “snow and ice membrane” provide a very good seal beneath the shingles. If your roof is old, it may have tarpaper, which degrades and becomes brittle. If so, it may be time (this summer) to have your roof stripped down to the sheathing and to have lots of membrane and good flashing installed. It may be possible to have soffit vents and adequate roof ventilation installed at the same time.

But in the meantime, if you have ice dams, it is important to drain the pond above the dam. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to do this with heat or an ice pick. Here’s a suggestion of a good temporary fix: make “sausages” by filling a stocking or similar porous tube with either rock salt or calcium chloride crystals and lay this across the ice dam so that it melts a channel through the dam to drain the pond.

Good Luck!

Rick Holloway is a longtime member of the Chester Energy Team. Look up the E-Team on the www.chesterct.org town site or Facebook.com/ChesterCTEnergyTeam


While Living Through Linus, Enjoy a Post-Juno Video of Lyme Street!

Lyme Street's iconic First Congregational Church

Lyme Street’s iconic First Congregational Church

We were thrilled to open our mailbox over the weekend and find that the incredible musician and Old Lyme resident (and LymeLine reader!) Dan Stevens had sent us a link to a wonderful video he made the day after Winter Storm Juno had hit.  It depicts a walk down Lyme Street before most residents had begun digging themselves out from the two feet of snow, which had fallen overnight.

As we currently live through Winter Storm Linus, we thought many of our readers might also enjoy Dan’s video, which is accompanied by an excellent — and, oh, so appropriate — soundtrack by the Old Crow Medicine Show.

Here’s the link to Dan’s video: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=926065094092702&pnref=story

With many thanks to Dan .. enjoy!


Winter Storm Linus to Impact Lyme, Old Lyme All Day; Schools Closed

Snow is already piled up at White Sand Beach in Old Lyme.  Soon there will be more to add ...

Snow is already piled up at White Sand Beach in Old Lyme. Soon there will be more to add …

Winter Storm Linus  is now affecting Lyme and Old Lyme, and will impact our area through Tuesday with a combination of snow, wind and freezing temperatures. Region 18 schools and the Lymes’ Senior Center are closed today, but trash and recycling pick-up will happen as scheduled.

A parking ban has been announced throughout Old Lyme starting at 11 p.m. Sunday and will be in force until further notice. The parking ban means all vehicles should be kept off the roads so that the roads can remain open for emergency vehicles and be safely cleared when the storm ends.

The Old Lyme Town Hall is tentatively set to open at 11 a.m.  That time could be adjusted later if conditions worsen. The ‘Solarize Old Lyme’ meeting scheduled for this evening has been cancelled.

To report a power outage, call 800-286-2000, or text the word “outage,” followed by a space and your zip code, to 24612.


Juno Made his Mark in The Lymes — and Here are the Photos to Prove it!

Winter Storm Juno brought nothing like the amounts of snow forecast along many other areas of the east coast, but here in The Lymes, we received more than 20 inches, but amazingly (and thankfully), retained power throughout both towns.

We asked readers to send us their favorite photos of the snow and many of you obliged — we thank you sincerely!

If we have missed any, then please let us know because we have had some strange gremlins in our email these last few days and some of the photos below turned up in our Spam folder.

So, let’s start with the big question … how much snow did we really get?

Time for tea?

Was it this much?

... or this much?

… or this much?

Or even this much.  Linda Graham sent in this photo of her husband John  digging out.

Or even this much?  Linda Collins sent in this photo of her husband,             John Graham, digging out on West End Drive.

Fran Gumkowski solved the problem for us by supplying this photo, which tells us that 21 1/2 inches accumulated.

Fran Gumkowski solved the problem for us by supplying this photo, which tells us that 21 1/2 inches of snow were accumulated.

Our four-legged friends definitely enjoyed the (with apologies to Thomas the Tank Engine!) “silly, soft stuff.”

Here's Flash unperturbed by his size (he's a corgi) having a fine old time.  Photo by Heather Supesano.

Here’s Flash, unperturbed by his size (he’s a corgi), having a fine old time.  This delightful photo was sent in by Heather Supersano.

And here's Buddy just loving the snow!

And here’s our Buddy just loving the snow!

Some feathered friends flew in for breakfast on Lyme Street and Dini Mallory managed to catch this beautiful shot of a cardinal on camera.

Some feathered friends flew in for breakfast on Lyme Street and Dini Mallory managed to catch this beautiful shot of a cardinal on camera.

How about the Winter Wonderland that the snow created?

Here's a view of Laurel Heights by Emily Snow.

Here’s a view of Laurel Heights by Emily Snow.

Here's Hawks Nest Beach looking east by Linda Graham ...

And here’s Hawks Nest Beach looking east by Linda Collins…

... and west, also by Linda Graham.

… and west, also by Linda Collins.

Oh, what a snowy scene!

Oh, what a snowy scene!

And finally, how did all that shoveling go at your house?

Jake Quaratella had the solution to shoveling as this photo, sent in by mom Martha, shows!

Jake Quaratella found the perfect solution to the shoveling challenge, as this photo, sent in by his mom Martha, shows!