A Blue Plan for Long Island Sound

There’s a lot going on in and around Long Island Sound. It’s 1320 square miles of saltwater and sun; beaches, ports, and marshes; sailboats, tankers, and lobster pots. To ensure a good and prosperous future for Long Island Sound, we need to build an inventory of our current uses and create a guide for the future.

The rerouting shipping lanes into Boston to reduce collisions with Right Whales is a classic example of effective Marine Spatial Planning.
Rerouting shipping lanes into Boston to reduce collisions with Right Whales is a classic example of effective Marine Spatial Planning. (Map: NOAA)

With so much happening on our water, how do we reconcile the way it is used and enjoyed? How do we honor our traditional maritime economy while looking forward to new future opportunities? How do we protect our fragile habitats and great places from harmful development and industrial projects?

We need a plan. A Blue Plan.

Senate Bill 312 would establish the Blue Plan Advisory Committee (BPAC) and set Connecticut and New York on the path of planning Long Island Sound. BPAC would have members from state agencies including DEEP and DOT, and representatives of the environment, recreational users, marine trades, municipal leaders, and other stakeholders.

The Blue Plan would follow a general practice called Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP). First, BPAC would conduct an inventory of the Sound’s resources, and where and how they’re used and enjoyed. Then, they would work together to protect traditional uses, plan for future uses, and prevent potential conflicts.

The Long Island Sound Blue Plan would follow the lead of two other New England states, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, which have completed similar forms of coastal & marine spatial planning. Regional Ocean Planning is also in its beginning stages here in New England as well.

Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning can be a complicated and lengthy process. Should Connecticut move forward with the Blue Plan, you can expect find a lot more about BPAC and their process here, on Green Cities Blue Waters.

SB 312 goes before the state Environment Committee this Friday, March 5, 2014 , and we need your help supporting it. Join us at the hearing, or submit written comments!

Environment Committee Public Hearing
1:00 pm on Friday, March 7
Room 1D, Legislative Office Building
300 Capitol Ave., Hartford

Please submit testimony and comments via email to ENV.testimony@cga.ct.gov no later than 8am on Friday. You can use this model testimony as a guide. Sign-up for speaking at the hearing will begin at 11:00 am in the LOB atrium. If signing up, please submit six copies to Committee staff no later than one hour before the start of the hearing. Please send us a copy at tarcher@ctenvironment.org. Thank you!

Posted by Tyler Archer, Outreach & Development Associate for CFE & Save the Sound.

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