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Nutmeg TU meets Oct. 15

Chris CryderNutmeg TU 217 will resume regular meetings Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. at Port 5 in Bridgeport.

Chris Cryder, Special Projects Coordinator  for Save the Sound, will discuss “The Forage Fish that Feed the Sound’s Ecosystem.”

Connecticut, Cryder said, is a leader in opening riverine habitat for migrating forage fish such as river herring and shad. To date, 43 fish ladders have been built (such as Save the Sound’s latest on the Pequonnock) and 12 dams have been removed.

However, when the juvenile river herring that are born in Connecticut rivers and streams return to the ocean to mature, they are being incidentally caught and killed in great numbers in the commercial trawling industry for Atlantic herring. There are methods that can be employed to minimize the bycatch of river herring, but currently forage fish do not have adequate protections under the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the law that governs fisheries in U.S. Waters.

“We believe this needs to change,” Cryder said.

Nutmeg TU members will learn about the status of forage fish in Connecticut, hear updates on restoration work on the Pequonnock River (and others), and hear how they can assist with strengthening the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Chris Cryder has worked for Save the Sound, a program of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, for the past seven years. He has managed habitat restoration and green infrastructure projects, and has coordinated land preservation and watershed planning initiatives. He coordinated the Pequonnock River Initiative in 2010-11, which resulted in the creation of an EPA watershed-based plan for the river.

Cryder has a biology degree from The Pennsylvania State University, and a master of health services administration from The George Washington University.

He resides in Old Saybrook.

A blog by Cryder can be found at http://greencitiesbluewaters.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/the-forage-fish-that-feed-the-sounds-ecosystem.

Call, sign petition to protect Farmington

The University of Connecticut is seeking an additional water supply for a potential technology park in Storrs and increased development in the town of Mansfield, and has solicited a number of proposals. The plan submitted by MDC would draw water from a reservoir in the Farmington River watershed, west of Hartford, and pipe it to Storrs.

The Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Save the Sound, Trout Unlimited and other conservation groups are concerned that this would violate the state’s Plan of Conservation and Development by encouraging sprawl in rural areas, that it moves water from one watershed to another, and that it doesn’t conform to a regional water plan. Following these plans is one of the most important ways to make sure our waters stay healthy and adequate to support our communities and wildlife. (Read more in the groups’ blog post.)

Please join in asking UConn to find a more sustainable way to meet its water needs, and in calling for statewide planning that will protect our critical water resources.

Step 1: Call UConn

Call the office of UConn President Susan Herbst at 860-486-2337 .

Sample script:

“Hi, my name is ___, from ___. I’m calling to ask President Herbst to find a solution to UConn’s water needs that doesn’t pull water from the Farmington River Watershed. Water planning is an issue that affects all Connecticut residents. Please make UConn a leader by choosing a solution that supplies only as much water as is needed, protects the integrity of the Farmington and Thames watersheds, and conforms to the state’s Plan of Conservation and Development. Could you pass my message along? Thank you!”

Step 2: Sign the Petition

Voices for the Farmington River has created a petition asking for a smarter water solution for UConn. Please join the over 1,000 Connecticut residents who have already spoken up for sustainable water planning. Then please share it with your friends. Let’s see how many signatures we can get before June 7, when the petition will be ended and delivered to Governor Malloy and President Herbst.