DEEP: Completed Draft of the Long Island Sound Blue Plan Released for Public Review and Comment

2019 Press Release
 
March 20, 2019
 
Completed Draft of the Long Island Sound Blue Plan Released for Public Review and Comment
 
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced the release of the draft Long Island Sound Blue Plan, together with the Long Island Sound Resource and Use Inventory and other supporting documentation. To commemorate the release of the Blue Plan, DEEP hosted press, legislators, stakeholders, and members of the public, at Hammonasset State Park and Meigs Point Nature Center on Wednesday March 20, 2019.
 
The event marks the start of the formal 90-day comment period, which will run through June 21, 2019, and is meant to be an opportunity for all who have an interest in Long Island Sound to provide their comment and feedback on the Blue Plan (Comments to DEEP.LISBluePlan@ct.gov; Blue Plan website at www.ct.gov/deep/lisblueplan).
 
The event commenced with remarks by Commissioner Dykes, who noted, “After three years of background research and preparation, unanimous bipartisan support from the General Assembly and the governor, critical outreach and engagement with stakeholders, ecological experts, and various partners, and countless hours of dedication from Advisory Committee members, the Long Island Sound Blue Plan is completed and ready for public review.  My heartfelt thanks goes out to the Advisory Committee, former DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee for his leadership, and the staff who provided support to the effort of bringing the Blue Plan to this point.  I’m very excited to now be working with you all in helping see the Blue Plan over the finish line.” 
 
Blue Plan Advisory Committee members also commented on the use and benefits of the Blue Plan:
 
“The Blue Plan provides an opportunity for all with a stake in the future of Long Island Sound to be heard. We are proud to be part of a process that honors these perspectives, employs the best knowledge and protects what we love—places important for nature and for people. Despite differences, everyone wins in working together for what matters most,” said Nathan Frohling, Director of Connecticut Coastal and Marine Initiatives for The Nature Conservancy, and a Blue Plan Advisory Committee member.
 
“The Blue Plan and LIS Resource and Use Inventory will be useful to municipal and regional planning bodies, including local Harbor and Shellfish Management, Historic Preservation, and organizers of traditional marine uses such as commercial shipping and marine traffic.  While these operations are not new to our waters, before the Blue Plan they’ve never had a framework to contribute to the ongoing collective management of Long Island Sound,” said Christine Nelson, Old Saybrook Town Planner. 
 
“As a representative of the marine trades industry, we have been pleased to participate in this process which protects important existing uses such as boating, the economy and infrastructure it supports along with the extensive natural resources of Long Island Sound” said Bruce Beebe of Beebe Dock and Mooring Systems.
 
Senator Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield) worked with former Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. and former Representative James Albis in the passage of the Blue Plan legislation in 2015. “The Long Island Sound is one of the most important ecological and economic assets that the State of Connecticut has, and it is critical that we fully understand its ecosystem and follow a comprehensive strategy to maintain and improve the long term health of the Sound,” said Senator Hwang. “The completion of this Blue Plan draft is a great achievement. I thank DEEP for their efforts, and I encourage the public to examine it and understand how the state and our partners who utilize this great resource are working together to effectively manage the Sound.”
 
“We all recognize the vital importance of Long Island Sound to our economy, environment and quality of life,” Representative Joe Gresko (D-Stratford) said. “The Blue plan will protect the Sound for recreational and economic uses while ensuring its overall environmental health for future generations.”
 
After the conclusion of the remarks, attendees moved to a reception at the Meigs Point Nature Center which showcased the Blue Plan video series, a collection of informative videos highlighting various stakeholders and their perspective on the Blue Plan, and the Blue Plan Viewer, an online mapping tool which planners and the public can use to understand the different types of resources and uses present in Long Island Sound.
 
The Blue Plan, legislation created through Public Act 15-66, enables a process by which Connecticut can develop a marine spatial plan to protect Long Island Sound’s natural resources and traditional human uses, while allowing for compatible future use and development. The Blue Plan aims to achieve this goal by creating a series of resources and information that can help planners and applicants, make better coordinated and compatible decisions. These resources include:
  • Long Island Sound Resource and Use Inventory: A comprehensive collection of spatial maps and contextual information about all the natural resources and human uses present in Long Island Sound.
  • Long Island Sound Significant Areas: A series of designated ecological and human use areas of significance, and their associated maps, to prioritize spaces that need additional consideration or protection in decision making processes.
  • Blue Plan Policies and Standards: Policies and standards written to value the natural resources and human uses in Long Island Sound, while aspiring to reduce future conflicts.
The Blue Plan, ultimately, is an opportunity for the people of Connecticut and all those interested in Long Island Sound to craft a vision for the future of Long Island Sound.
 
Stakeholders will be holding a sister press event at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Thursday, March 21 at noon in Room 1E.

For more information and to provide comments or feedback on the Blue Plan, please contact DEEP.LISBluePlan@ct.gov or visit the Blue Plan website at www.ct.gov/deep/lisblueplan.