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New National Estuarine Reserve Established in CT

The CT National Estuarine Research Reserve covers 52,000 acres.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently announced the establishment of a new National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) along the southeast coast of Connecticut that will serve to facilitate public education and awareness, stewardship, and scientific research of coastal forest and grasslands, intertidal marshes, beaches and bluffs, nearshore reefs, and seagrass meadows (including 36% of Long Island Sound’s eelgrass beds).

The 52,160-acre reserve—the first in Connecticut—spans the lower Connecticut River, the lower Thames River, most of the waters of eastern Long Island Sound and western Fishers Island Sound, as well as state-owned land in Groton, Lyme, and Old Lyme. The CT NERR also includes traditional lands of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Mohegan Tribe, Western Nehântick Tribal Nation, Hammonasset Tribe, Wappinger Tribe and Wangunks Tribe.

The NERR system represents a partnership program between NOAA and coastal states. The federal agency provides funding and national guidance, while each site is managed by a lead state agency or university with input from local partners.

Today, research reserves cover nearly 1.4 million acres of estuaries, much of them in the Northeast, and are focused on the following:

  • Stewardship: Each site undertakes the initiatives needed to keep the estuary healthy.
  • Research: Reserve-based research and monitoring data are used to aid conservation and management efforts on local and national levels.
  • Training: Local and state officials are better equipped to introduce local data into the decision-making process as a result of reserve training efforts.
  • Education: Thousands of children and adults are served through hands-on laboratory and field-based experiences. School curriculums are provided online.

You can learn more here.


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