Long Island Sound

CT Sea Grant: Re-Thinking Relationships with the Places We Love

Wrack Lines cover

The Fall-Winter 2019-20 issue of Wrack Lines, a publication of Connecticut Sea Grant is now posted at:

https://seagrant.uconn.edu/?p=5770. In this issue we’re re-thinking relationships with the places we love.

35 Volunteers Help Kickoff Campaign with Beach Cleanup

Volunteers from the beach cleanup day in New HavenNew Haven – One hundred pounds of litter – everything from deflated Mylar balloons and monofilament fishing line to plastic bottles, Styrofoam cups, straws, cigarette butts and lots of bottle caps — filled the buckets and reusable bags of 35 volunteers Thursday at Lighthouse Point Park as they helped launch a campaign to keep plastic trash out of Long Island Sound.

“My husband and I grew up down here, so we just wanted to come and help out,” said Lisa Ratti, who came with her husband Salvatore and their daughters Kylie, 13, Courtney, 11, and Rosalie, 4, from their home in Newington to work with the other volunteers in picking up trash.

The two-hour cleanup on a bright, windy August day at the popular city beach and picnic area was the start of this year’s “Don’t Trash Long Island Sound – Break the Single-Use Plastic Habit” campaign sponsored by the Long Island Sound Study, Connecticut Sea Grant and Mystic Aquarium. Now in its third year, the campaign this year expanded with four groups joining in the kick-off event – The Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound; Audubon Connecticut; The Nature Conservancy’s Connecticut chapter; and SoundWaters, which sponsored cleanups at the same time at two Stamford parks.

Read more…

Article by Judy Benson

Shellfish Mapping Tool

A new version of the Connecticut Aquaculture Mapping Atlas has been launched at: http://clear3.uconn.edu/aquaculture/.

The new and improved website was built based on feedback from shellfish interest groups like yours. The latest version of this interactive map viewer includes new data layers and functions. The viewer includes updated commercial and recreational harvest areas, natural beds, and shellfish classification areas as well as a plethora of navigation, environmental condition, and natural resource data. The viewer allows users to overlay map layers, draw new lease areas, and print professional-looking maps.

New to the Mapping Atlas? Take a look at the user guide or listen in to our upcoming webinar “Using the Aquaculture Mapping Atlas for Fun and Profit” to be held on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 2 PM to 3 PM. Check out the webinar description below and be sure to contact us with questions or comments. For your convenience, the webinar will also be recorded and archived on the CLEAR website.

Shellfish aquaculture is a large and growing part of Connecticut’s agriculture sector, but site selection is a major challenge. Farmers cultivate oysters, clams and scallops in designated areas of Long Island Sound. Those sites are considered public property and are leased from the state. Because these underwater farms are not located on private property, new or expanding activities are faced with a significant amount of scrutiny. Farmers need to identify growing areas that are biologically productive for their crop while also considering the potential use conflicts or environmental interactions with their activity on those sites. To help improve site selection for aquaculture, the Aquaculture Mapping Atlas was developed. This webinar will introduce the new function and capabilities of Version 4.

Presenters: Tessa Getchis, Connecticut Sea Grant & Cary Chadwick, UConn CLEAR

To register, visit: http://s.uconn.edu/shellfishwebinar

We encourage your feedback so that we can improve the aquaculture and shellfisheries resources we provide. Contact: tessa.getchis@uconn.edu. Technical questions regarding the Atlas should be directed to cary.chadwick@uconn.edu. Data questions should be directed to: kristin.derosia-banick@ct.gov

The Connecticut Aquaculture Mapping Atlas was developed by the University of Connecticut Center for Land Use Education and Research, in collaboration with Connecticut Sea Grant and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture.

State’s Aquaculture Industry Nets Benefits from Changes in Federal Plan


By Sheila Foran for UConn Today

Commercial shellfish farmers who use the ocean to grow their crops off the nation’s coastline now have the same kind of protection against crop losses as do people who farm on land, due to a recent change in federal policy.

The new language providing coverage was added to the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) as part of a recent Farm Bill and is a big deal for Connecticut’s $30 million aquaculture industry.

“We were thrilled to learn that after years of discussion with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), crops that have traditionally not been eligible for federal crop insurance have now been granted coverage under the NAP program,” said Tessa Getchis, a UConn aquaculture extension educator, who was instrumental in the policy change. “That’s a huge step forward for the aquaculture industry now that the program will cover losses due to named tropical storms and hurricanes.”

The program provides financial assistance to producers of what are normally considered non-insurable crops to protect against natural disasters resulting in crop losses or the prevention of crop planting. Before the new language, the law stated that commercial shellfish crops could be insured only if they were grown in containers or bags, but that’s not how it’s done in Long Island Sound.

Read more…

New Guide to Help Fish, Shellfish and Seaweed Growers Manage Risks

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 2.17.59 PMNew Guide to Help Fish, Shellfish and Seaweed Growers Manage Risks
GROTON CT—A new 285-page illustrated manual, the Northeastern U.S. Aquaculture Management Guide, has just been published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center. Edited by Tessa L. Getchis, Connecticut Sea Grant and UConn Extension aquaculture specialist, the manual is a wealth of useful information on potential hazards for those who grow fish, shellfish, and seaweed.  Twenty-five aquaculture extension professionals and many researchers, aquatic animal health professionals and farmers contributed to the information presented in this volume.
Every year, the aquaculture industry experiences economic losses due to diseases, pests, adverse weather, or operational mishaps.  This manual identifies many specific risks to help seafood growers identify, manage and correct production-related problems. The guide also includes monitoring and record-keeping protocols, and a list of aquaculture extension professional contacts who can help when there is a problem.
The publication was made possible by funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center (NRAC) to the Northeast Aquaculture Extension Network.  
It is available for download in PDF format at: http://agresearch.umd.edu/nrac/publications-0

A Watershed Moment


By Michael Dietz

Many of us have heard about watershed protection efforts. Perhaps you live in a drinking water supply watershed. Poor Willy Wonka was wrongly accused of poisoning the watershed of his brown river (it turned out to be chocolate). But what is a watershed, really? In physical terms, a watershed is an area of land that drains to a specified point. The size of the watershed depends upon where you put the point. For example, a tiny stream that runs near your home might have a relatively small area of land that drains to it, but the point on the Connecticut River where it meets the Long Island Sound has a very large watershed (11,300 square miles!) that extends all the way up to Canada. So we all live in a watershed, it just depends on where you put the point! Read more…

State Sees High Level of Beach Erosion After Powerful Storms

beach erosion


The Connecticut shoreline is eroding at rates not seen in our lifetime, and the devastation was sped up by powerful storms like Irene and Sandy.

In some spots, five years of erosion was accomplished in just three months, and for the first time, Channel 3 Eyewitness News is showing you the dramatic transformation up close.

Beach season is now upon us and the rebuilding process is going strong in Old Lyme. Many beachfront homes got walloped from Irene and then a year later by Sandy.

“Changes are going on, especially along the Connecticut shore,” said beachfront homeowner Catherine Roth.

It’s a statement we’ve heard before and probably sensed. But not many know exactly how much land these storms stole from our state.

“There are some areas in Connecticut where it’s been up to 400 to 500 feet. Some areas 600 feet,” said University of Connecticut researcher Joel Stocker.

Read more…

NEMO Monitoring Project Looks At Nitrogen Processing Through “Bioretention”

By Chet Arnold

In January, CLEAR’s NEMO Program broke ground on a new monitoring project focused on the Low Impact Development (LID) practice of bioretention. Bioretention is the practice of reducing the quantity, and increasing the quality, of runoff by directing it to a depression filled with plants. This is the same concept as the more widely recognized rain garden, which is just a small bioretention area with a little less engineering and a much sexier name.

The project, funded by the federal/state partnership Long Island Sound Study, is located on the agricultural half of the UConn campus. The bioretention cell (heretofore called “cell” because bioretention is hard to type) is about 500 square feet in size, and drains an area of pavement about 10,000 square feet. Impervious surfaces like pavement and rooftops prevent percolation of rainfall into the soil, creating storm water runoff and its associated problems of flooding, erosion and pollution. As can be seen in the photos, the cell is planted with a three different types of native plants (about 120 in this case), which help to reduce the volume of runoff through evapotranspiration (last time we’ll use that word) and process pollutants through biological uptake.


The project is to monitor how effective the cell is at removing nitrogen (N), a common nutrient that can cause a number of health and environmental problems when overabundant in drinking and surface waters. N pollution has been demonstrated to be a major driver of the problem of low oxygen levels in Long Island Sound, sometimes called hypoxia. Because of this, the entire lower Long Island Sound watershed, which includes almost all of Connecticut, is subject to a federal/state Clean Water Act provision that creates an allowable “budget” for N entering the Sound. This research will help determine if LID strategies like bioretention can help meet this budget.


The cell will be monitored for one year. If you want to know more, contact The Bioretention Man, Dr. Mike Dietz of CLEAR/NEMO.