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Natural Awakenings Hartford

Connecticut’s New Law Protects Open Space

Connecticut residents who are concerned about conservation have reason to be optimistic this week.

Governor Malloy signed a new law, Public Act No. 12-152, An Act Concerning the State's Open Space Plan. The law requires Connecticut to devise a formal strategy for protecting open space, and to update it every five years. Connecticut's official goal is to protect 21 percent of the land in the state.

The bill requires the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to prepare the strategy for achieving the 21 percent goal in consultation with the state Department of Agriculture, the state Council on Environmental Quality, municipalities, regional planning agencies, and private land conservation organizations such as Connecticut Audubon Society.  

The strategy must include an estimate of the number of acres preserved statewide, as well as timetables for land acquisition by the state, plans for managing the state's preserved lands, and an assessment of the resources the state will need to acquire and manage open space.

In addition, the highest priorities for land acquisition must be identified, including wildlife habitat and ecological resources that are in greatest need of immediate preservation, and the general location of each priority.

The bill also requires the DEEP to work with other state agencies to identify lands they own that might have conservation value, and to devise a plan for preserving the tracts with the highest conservation value. This provision could lead to the preservation of important acreage without having to spend state funds.

For more information contact Tom Andersen, Director of Communications and Community Outreach, Connecticut Audubon Society, [email protected] www.ctaudubon.org.
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