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DEEP Seeks National Estuarine Research Reserve in South Eastern Connecticut

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced a public meeting to share the results of DEEP’s effort to identify a site to be nominated for inclusion in NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) system.  The NERR system is a state and federal partnership that establishes a location dedicated to estuarine research, monitoring, education, and stewardship.
Since 2016, members of a multi-disciplinary team led by DEEP staff have reviewed hundreds of potential locations along Connecticut’s coast to identify for the top NERR site. After careful consideration and scoring, the team has recommended a network of state-owned properties and nearshore waters located along the Connecticut River and in Groton.  Specifically, the nominated site would include land areas in Lord Cove Wildlife Management Area, Great Island Wildlife Management Area, Bluff Point State Park, and Haley Farm State Park as well as open-water areas of Long Island Sound and the Thames and Connecticut Rivers.
A NERR site in Connecticut would complement and extend many existing scientific, environmental management, and education activities through the addition of federal funding, resources, and expertise.  Additionally, it would help identify and enable new research and stewardship initiatives by engaging the national NERR programs without the creation of any new land-use restrictions or regulations.
“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with NOAA to ensure the long-term monitoring and protection of Long Island Sound and its ecologically-important estuaries. The addition of these sites to the NERR system is critical as we monitor rising sea levels and other impacts resulting from climate change,” said DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee.  “As only one of two coastal states in the nation without a NERR site, the time is right for Connecticut to join the system.”
A public meeting will be held on November 13th at the University of Connecticut Avery Point campus in Groton.  Representatives from DEEP and NOAA will provide an overview of the NERR site nomination process and will be available to answer questions and take public comment.  Meeting details can be found on the DEEP website at
For more information about the NEER project, contact Kevin O’Brien at (860) 424-3432 or by email at

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