Connecticut’s Healthy Trees
Trees are a crucial piece of Connecticut’s distinctive charm and character. With their beauty, ability to keep homes and sidewalks cool, erosion and flood prevention, and positive effect on property values, they’re one of the principal reasons our citizens enjoy a high quality of life.
Unfortunately, we are losing thousands of healthy street trees around Connecticut to overly-aggressive cutting by electric utilities—and could lose up to a million more by the end of their plans. Meanwhile the state has targeted regional airports for removal of acres of vibrant trees and wildlife habitat.
Connecticut’s roadside trees provide many benefits to our communities and state, including cleaner air, shade, stormwater absorption, and higher property values, but aggressive vegetation management programs by Eversource and United Illuminating threaten these trees. “Enhanced Tree Trimming” attempts to remove all tall-growing trees or limbs within eight feet of most utility lines. There are many towns with miles upon miles of trees slated for trimming or removal in 2018, and the program is planned for the next several years. Even if your town isn’t on the chopping block now, it may be soon. We’re tracking at-risk towns and providing information as it becomes available.
But there is something you can do. A well-informed municipal tree warden can make sure that the utilities are doing their jobs without going too far. Reach out to your tree warden to see what is happening in your community. Make sure she or he has a copy of our Protecting Neighborhood and Other Roadside Trees toolkit. And ask that your town adopt a tree protection ordinance to guide tree planning and maintenance.
Protect the trees in your area
- Get to know your tree rights now. You have them, and you should use them—before utility tree trucks show up on your street. Read about your rights here.
- Stay informed about the latest tree protection efforts by signing up for our action alerts.
Threatened Trees Near Connecticut’s Airports
The Connecticut Airport Authority plans to remove a large number of healthy trees at and near several airports around the state. Although these proposals are intended to increase aviation safety, there’s no meaningful analysis that shows the trees pose existing threats or that the proposed level of tree removal is necessary.
Two of the proposals stand out for their sheer level of environmental destruction. The proposal for Hartford’s Brainard Airport would remove trees from at least 40 acres including protected lands like the Keeney Cove Marsh State Wildlife Area and property held under Nature Conservancy conservation easements. The area is a nesting site for bald eagles and many of its trees stabilize the banks of the Connecticut River.
The proposal for the Groton-New London Airport would remove a vast number of trees in Connecticut’s only coastal reserve. The 800-acre Bluff Point State Park and Coastal Reserve serves as crucial habitat for imperiled shorebirds and migratory songbirds, but the Airport Authority’s proposal would subject the heart of Bluff Point to the unnecessary removal of mature, healthy trees and heavy machinery trundling through pristine woodlands and beaches. That’s not the future the people of Connecticut envisioned when they decided to permanently safeguard this unique property.
These proposals are unnecessary to ensure airport safety, unduly destructive, and do not comply with the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act. Learn more: Read our op-ed in the Hartford Courant or our formal comments on the proposals.