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Connecticut Audubon Society Calls For Land Acquisition, Conservation

Nick Bonomo, of Wallingford, and Frank Mantlik, of Stratford, spent a recent day birding at Stratford Point.
Nick Bonomo, of Wallingford, and Frank Mantlik, of Stratford, spent a recent day birding at Stratford Point. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The Connecticut Audubon Society recently released its Connecticut State of the Birds 2015 report, “Protecting and Connecting Large Landscapes,” and called for an increased emphasis on habitat connectivity and land preservation to improve the chances of survival for many of the state’s fish, bird, reptile, and mammal species.

At a news conference at its Coastal Center at Milford Point, Alex Brash, president of the Connecticut Audubon Society, said Connecticut and its municipalities need a long-term, steady source of money for land conservation and a well-formulated and prioritized plan to spend it wisely. The report recommends $500 million just to meet the state’s government’s portion of the land acquisition goal.

“Connecticut’s large natural areas contain the habitats essential to the state’s flora and fauna,” he said. “But they also provide other ecosystem functions that benefit the state’s human population, including nutrient cycling, waste treatment, food production, climate regulation and water-supply protection.”

Founded in 1898, the Connecticut Audubon Society manages 19 sanctuaries covering 2,600 acres.

The report uses as a focal point both the official state goal of protecting 21 percent of the land in Connecticut, or 673,000 acres, by 2023, and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s new Green Plan, its comprehensive open space guide, which currently is being revised.

Milan Bull, senior director of science and conservation for the Connecticut Audubon Society, said the organization is calling on Connecticut’s elected officials and conservationists to begin a campaign to authorize and approve a statewide land preservation bond act, or some other appropriate form of long-term conservation financing, as has been done in many states.

“The large landscapes that are essential for the well-being of our environment are getting sold, broken-up, disconnected and developed, to the detriment of all creatures, human and wildlife, that live in Connecticut,” Bull said. “We hear it all the time: we can’t acquire conservation land now because the economy is weak, because prices are too high, because we’re having budget problems. The knee-jerk reaction is that there’s never a good time to conserve land, and the result is that despite the occasional triumphs, we are losing opportunities.”

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