CONNECTICUT PORT AUTHORITY AND CONNECTICUT AUDUBON SOCIETY PARTNER FOR PIPING PLOVERS
Program will Protect Birds at Hammonasset
(Old Saybrook) – The Connecticut Port Authority, in conjunction with the Connecticut Audubon Society, is beginning a program to monitor the population of Piping Plovers at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison.
The program is part of the follow up work required as a condition of federal approval for a dredging project that took material from the Housatonic River to re-build part of the beach at Hammonasset. The project was funded and completed by the Connecticut Port Authority at the end of 2017.
Monitoring of the restored section of beach, supervised by Connecticut Audubon, will begin on March 15 and continue at least until mid-July. If plovers begin to populate the rejuvenated beach area appropriate fencing and signage will be put in place to prevent beach-goers from disturbing the bird’s nesting areas. Up to $100,000, covering the next five years, was set aside in the project budget to pay for this environmental protection initiative.
“The Port Authority’s mission is to enhance the maritime industry in Connecticut and dredging projects like the Housatonic project are part of that plan, but it is also important to do so in ways that protect the environment,” said Scott Bates, chairman of the board of Port Authority. “In this case, we’ve been able to use dredged material to help re-build the beach at an iconic state park and at the same time provide potential new habitat for a fragile native bird species. We are delighted we’ve been able to access the expertise of the Connecticut Audubon Society for this project.”
Listed as threatened under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts, Piping Plovers nest only on beaches, where they are vulnerable to high tides, predators, pets, and human disturbances. Sixty-six pairs nested in Connecticut in 2017, the most since records started being kept in the mid-1990s. Those 66 nests produced 100 fledglings.
The bird’s recent success is largely attributable to the work of the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, which monitors and protects plovers statewide using the methods Connecticut Audubon will use at Hammonasset. The Audubon Alliance consists of the Connecticut Audubon Society, The Roger Tory Peterson Institute, and Audubon Connecticut, working under the supervision of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
“We commend the Port Authority for taking the welfare of Piping Plovers seriously,” said Patrick Comins, Connecticut Audubon’s executive director. “Their decision is the right one. We’ve demonstrated that monitoring beaches and protecting Piping Plovers results in an increase in the number of birds. We hope that the beach project at Hammonasset creates room for the birds to expand their range. If so, we’ll do our best to help them succeed.
“If other states were doing as well as Connecticut is doing, Piping Plovers probably would likely be headed for removal from the endangered species list.”
The Connecticut Port Authority is grateful to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for guidance on this project which has benefited the state in several ways.Connecticut Port Authority Approves Decision on RFQ for State Pier New London
The Connecticut Port Authority has given approval to the release of a Request for Qualifications for a terminal operating concession at State Pier in New London. Approval to proceed was granted at the authority’s regular monthly meeting on February 7.
Responses to the RFQ are due March 14, 2018.
“The authority’s decision to move forward on the State Pier project shows its commitment to our core mission, established by the legislature, to support and improve Connecticut’s maritime industry,” said Scott Bates, the chairman of the board. “As one of Connecticut’s three deep-water ports, New London can be a catalyst for economic development in the region if properly maintained and marketed.”
The New London State Pier covers nearly 30 acres and has two piers with direct rail and deep-water access. Approximately 100 miles south of Boston and 130 miles northeast of New York City, it is located next to major highways serving the Northeast. State Pier is located near the major shipyards maintained by Electric Boat and the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton.
Maritime Logistics, January 26, 2018
New Haven Register, January 4, 2018
New Haven Register, January 3, 2018
Connecticut Port Authority Statement on New Haven Port Study Update
Today, Scott Bates, Chairman of the Connecticut Port Authority, released the following statement upon the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report that analysis indicates dredge materials from the port are suitable for open water disposal, which opens up multiple, beneficial alternative use options.
“The New Haven project is a major investment in economic growth and job creation across Connecticut. The Connecticut Port Authority is proud to be a part of it, and we look forward to moving ahead with our partners at the U.S. Army Corps and the New Haven Port Authority.
The U.S. Army Corps’ latest update shows that dredged materials from the port will be suitable for open water disposal, which will shorten the necessary haul distances and increase the cost effectiveness of the overall project.
It also means we have the opportunity to not only expand commerce through the port of New Haven and create jobs throughout the region, but we can also have a positive impact on the surrounding environment through creation of new shellfish habitats, salt marsh restoration and safe resolution of the pit issue at Morris Cove.”
CPA Announces Early Completion of Housatonic River Dredge Project
A combination of efficient work and cooperative weather has led to the early completion of a major dredging project in the Housatonic River funded by the Connecticut Port Authority.
Work to deepen the river’s navigation channel was finished December 6th, almost two months before the scheduled completion. Nearly 270,000 cubic yards of clean sand from the river bottom has been used to rebuild eroding beach at Hammonasset State Park.
“The Connecticut Port Authority, in its first year of operation, has established a thoughtful system to identify and complete dredging and maintenance projects that enhance navigation and improve the use of Connecticut’s shoreline and inland waterways,” said Scott Bates, chairman of the Authority. “We hope to maintain steady progress with similar projects going forward.”
The Housatonic dredging project takes the river to its authorized depth and width from the mouth of the river to a point five miles north. More than 1,000 vessels are docked along the river and more than 1 million people use Hammonasset beach each year so this particular project benefits Connecticut in two ways.
The project cost $9.3 million.
Bond Commission Approves 18 Small Harbor Improvement Projects
Today the Bond Commission approved the Connecticut Port Authority’s request to fund 18 projects under the Small Harbor Improvement Projects Program (SHIPP). These projects cover a range of improvements including: marina repair, dredging, boat ramp facilities improvement, harbor management plans and feasibility studies. Details of each project are in the attached document.
“These projects will create jobs and opportunity for working families across Connecticut”, said Scott Bates, Chairman of the Connecticut Port Authority. “By partnering with local officials to identify and fund projects, we have developed a new roadmap for investing in Connecticut’s small harbor infrastructure and the long term growth of our maritime economy.”
“We are very pleased to see these projects come to life under SHIPP,” said Evan Matthews, Executive Director of the Connecticut Port Authority. “Part of our core mission is to invest in the waterfront infrastructure that supports our local communities. Using our CPA resources, along with local funding where possible, we’re able to boost the outcome for everyone.”
Background: Small Harbor Improvement Projects Program (SHIPP)
The mission of the Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) is to coordinate the development of Connecticut’s ports and harbors, while working with other state, local and private entities to maximize the economic potential of the state’s maritime commerce and industries. In pursuit of this mission, the CPA has created the Small Harbor Improvement Projects Program or SHIPP as a central part of its strategy to support economic development throughout Connecticut’s waterfront communities.
The CPA issued a Request for Applications in order to generate a pool of prospective Municipal Harbor Improvement Projects for consideration of funding under this competitive grant program. The solicitation was issued in Match, applications were returned April 17, 2017.
The CPA formed a projects committee to review the applications based on criteria developed. The result of that process was the attached list of 18 approved projects.
The Connecticut Port Authority is a quasi-public agency responsible for marketing and coordinating the development of the state’s maritime economy.