Connecticut Bureau of Natural Resources
Through the Years

Celebrating 150 Years of Natural Resource Conservation in Connecticut

150th anniversary logoScroll through the timeline below to explore major milestones in the history of the Connecticut Bureau of Natural Resources. Beginning with the creation of the Fisheries Commission in 1866, notice the progression leading us to today's Bureau of Natural Resources, which includes the Divisions of Wildlife, Inland Fisheries, Marine Fisheries, and Forestry. The Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police Division, which is in the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, was part of the 150th celebration because its origin can be traced back to the original Board of Fisheries and Game.

We are deeply indebted to William Myers, retired Conservation Officer, for the hundreds of hours invested by him to obtain, restore, and provide many of the historical photos (and their history) included in the 150th celebration materials.

1600s - 1700s - 1800s - 19001910 - 1920 - 1930 - 1940 - 1950 - 1960 - 1970 - 1980 - 1990 - 2000 - 2010



1648: Connecticut prohibited deer hunting.

1677: Connecticut law prohibited the export of deer hides and venison.



1725: A Roger Wolcott poem described the Connecticut River:
"With sens, pots, angles, and trammel-nets. In it swim salmon, sturgeon, carp and eels above fly cranes, geese, ducks, herons, and teals…”

1742: The last documented wolf was shot in Pomfret, Connecticut, by Israel Putnam.

1773: Salmon was netted from rivers with hauls of more than 3,000 pounds.

1798: Construction of a 16-foot dam was completed across the Connecticut River near the Millers River, approximately 100 miles upstream from Long Island Sound. The dam, like many others constructed around the same time, was built to supply power.  Unknowingly and unexpectedly, it provided a barrier to migrating Atlantic salmon and became the first example of over-exploitation of a fisheries resource. A passage from the 1870 Fish Commission report states: "The salmon ascended the river as far as the dam and were taken in great numbers the first year. The following year they were still a plenty, and then they began rapidly to decrease in numbers, and at the end of four years they had nearly all disappeared, and have never been seen since.”



1813: Wild turkeys were extirpated (gone) in Connecticut.

1842: Beavers were reported extirpated in Connecticut.

1850: Connecticut became one of the first states to enact a law protecting nongame birds.

1866: The Fisheries Commission was created by the State Legislature.

1866: The Fisheries Commission was tasked with assessing the shad and salmon fisheries in Connecticut, and to rebuild and sustain these valuable resources.

1869: A law was passed to appoint the first law enforcement officers for the protection of wildlife resources. The officers were appointed by the towns. View the Centennial Edition The Connecticut Wildlife Conservation Bulletin celebrating 100 years of environmental conservation law enforcement.

game warden

State Deputy Warden Harding F. Joray with his issued patrol vehicle, a 1929 Chevrolet.

Game wardens

County Warden Charles Allshouse (left) and Deputy Warden Gleason Allshouse (right).

1869: The Connecticut State Legislature passed an act prohibiting the collection of creeping fern (Lygodium palmatum), also known as Hartford fern, in response to rampant over-collection of this species for decorative purposes. This legislation is often cited as the first plant protection law in the United States.

1870: The Fisheries Commission began stocking black bass into lakes and ponds.

1871: A fishway was requested by the Commission for the first time. The Commissioners repeatedly reported that fishways were needed on all major rivers and streams, as well as “refuse matter from mills and factories” needed to be cleaned up. 

1871: First inland fisheries regulation: "Take by hook and line only."

1875: The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station was founded. 

1881: Brook trout fingerlings were bought by the state and provided to citizens for stocking.

1884: First rainbow trout were introduced. Early state fisheries workers were fish culturists with the charge to experiment with introducing new species. During the mid- to late 1800s, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, landlocked salmon, brown trout, lake trout, bluegill, common carp, and calico bass were introduced to many waters.

1886: A bill was passed to create Arbor Day in Connecticut. The first observation was held in spring 1887.

1890: The Holyoke Dam began lifting American shad above the dam to the northern reaches of the Connecticut River.

1893: Connecticut passed a law giving complete protection to white-tailed deer for 10 years; the law was subsequently extended to 1917.

1893: "An Act Concerning Shade and Ornamental Trees on Highways" was approved on April 19. It provided a fine for injuring or destroying trees designated as public shade trees.

1895: The Connecticut Board of Fisheries and Game was established.

1895: The first Special Game Protectors were appointed by the Connecticut Board of Fisheries and Game. (Learn more)

1898: First synopsis of fish and game laws were printed.

1899: First state-owned fish hatchery opened in Windsor Locks.

With increasing public demand for more trout and to support the pond fish program, additional hatcheries, still in existence, were established in Burlington (1923), Kensington (1930), and Plainfield (1972).



1900: The Yale School of Forestry opened.

1900: Chestnut bark disease (now called chestnut blight) first appeared in New York. By 1911, almost all chestnut trees in Fairfield County were dead and infected trees were found throughout New England.

image of chestnut tree stand

83-foot tall chestnut tree

1900: The Lacy Act imposes federal penalties for interstate transportation of illegally taken wildlife.

1903: Meshomasic State Forest becomes the first state forest in Connecticut. John Cordella “Del” Reeves was the first warden/forester hired by the State of Connecticut to patrol the forest. Today there are 32 forests totaling about 170,000 acres in the Connecticut State Forest System. These forests are managed through DEEP’s Division of Forestry. The majority of this forestland was acquired during the early part of the 20th century – a time period that saw the creation of a state forestry agency, the first state forests, and the first real efforts to protect and conserve our natural resources.

Image of John Cordella Reeves

John Cordella "Del" Reeves

1905: The Connecticut Forest Fire Law was established and the first fire wardens were appointed. State Forester Austin F. Hawes became the first State Forest Fire Warden on July 1, 1905. Lack of interest in forestry practices was thought to be largely due to high occurrences of forest fires. Landowners could not be expected to invest money in any long-term program when there was a strong likelihood of it going up in smoke.

1905: The gypsy moth was first found in Connecticut (Stonington). It was brought into eastern Massachusetts by a French astronomer in 1869. The state began fighting the moth's spread in 1890 and, by 1905, it had spread to parts of New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Controlling the gypsy moth population and tree defoliation caused by the moths are still problems today, with the last widespread outbreak in summer 2015.

1906: A fish oil factory, the Niantic Menhaden Oil and Guano Company, was built and functioned through the 1930s. The stone breakwater at Rocky Neck State Park is all that remains of this large “fish works.”

1906: Connecticut made funds available to landowners with crop damage caused by deer.

1906: Forest fire lookout towers began to be built in Connecticut. The first fire tower built on state forest land was the Mohawk tower in 1924. Others were built later and the system of triangulation to pinpoint the location of fires was introduced.

image of two firetowers

Fire towers in Union, CT (left), and at the University of Connecticut (right)

1907: Sale of hunting licenses began. With the successful generation of revenue to support hunting efforts, fish and game commissioners expanded the program to require fishing licenses for non-residents (1921), residents (1924), and marine waters (2010). By law, 100% of the proceeds from license sales must be allocated to support current Bureau of Natural Resource programs.

1907: Owners and lessees were allowed to shoot deer found damaging crops on their land.

1907: A law was passed that closed the spring waterfowl hunting season.

1908: First recorded release of ring-necked pheasants, which could be produced on game farms. Pheasants were brought into Connecticut to reduce hunting pressure on native gamebirds, which were declining due to population cycles and changing land uses. Eighty-eight birds were released in Windsor Locks. Today’s pheasant program focuses on the release of adult birds during the fall hunting season and is funded through the sale of pheasant stamps and hunting licenses.

image of game wardens banding pheasant

Game wardens band a pheasant before it is released at Tolland public hunting grounds.

1909: The first outbreak of blister rust in white pine was discovered.



1910: One of the first complete forest fire reports showed an estimated 834 fires, 47,000 acres burned, and $190,000 in damage in 1910

1914: Beaver reintroduction began with the establishment of a colony in Union, CT, by a private individual.

1914: The passenger pigeon became extinct. On September 1, the last surviving passenger pigeon, named Martha, died in a cage at the Cincinnati Zoo, putting an end to decades of market hunting. Read an article from Connecticut Wildlife magazine to learn more about this incredible story.

image of passenger pigeon

The extinct passenger pigeon

1915: Forest fires were reported as worse than ever before due to a tremendous amount of standing, dry timber from dead chestnut trees.

1916: A hatchery was built in the Noank section of Stonington. It produced millions of juvenile lobsters in summer and billions of winter flounder larvae in winter. The hatchery was destroyed in the 1938 hurricane, rebuilt further inland in 1940, but fell vacant after World War II.


Hatchery grown lobsters

1916: The first minimum size limit for lobster was adopted (4 1/8 inch rostrum length).

1918: The Migratory Bird Treaty Act between the United States and Canada extended protection to nongame birds, including herons, egrets, terns, and shorebirds, and gave the federal governments the power to manage and regulate the harvest of waterfowl.



1921: The Connecticut State Parks and Forest Commission was established.

1923: The Burlington State Fish Hatchery opened.

1923: "The Nutmeg" was first published. It was a medium for the exchange of ideas among wardens and the forestry department. The name was later changed to "The Wooden Nutmeg." It was mimeographed until 1926, and then printed until it was discontinued.

1923: In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, a moving picture entitled “Trees of Tomorrow” was made, combining forestry and fire prevention propaganda.

image of the Burlington fish hatchery

Burlington State Fish Hatchery

1924: The sale of fishing licenses for inland waters began.

1927: Forest Fire Wardens began to organize trained crews to fight forest fires. These trained crews received a higher wage than untrained crews. In 1931, a law was passed authorizing the State Forest Fire Warden to equip trained fire fighting crews at the various state forests and maintain them during periods when forest fires were most likely to occur.

1928: Connecticut streams and rivers were first surveyed.

1928: It was reported that there was no longer a significant danger from forest fires.



1930s: Early wildlife habitat managers from the 1930s created open water areas in marshland at Great Island, in Old Lyme, and other marsh areas by using dynamite. These ponds were created to provide quality waterfowl habitat. Today, DEEP uses specialized equipment to create open water without causing damage to the marsh ecosystem.

image of marsh blasting explosion

Dynamite explosion in marshland

1930: The fire lookout tower had come of age. Enough stations were made to make triangulation possible so that fires could be located accurately.

1932: The Inland Fisheries and Marine Fisheries Divisions were created.

1932: A comprehensive Waterfowl Restoration Program was established in Connecticut.

1933: Edith Stoehr became the first female game warden. A trout stream was leased in North Branford and maintained for exclusive use by women to encourage them to take a more active interest in fishing. Miss Edith A. Stoehr was appointed warden and assigned to the trout stream after winning a fly-casting contest against four other women. In the fall, she was assigned to the public shooting ground in Farmington, of which a small portion was reserved for the exclusive use by women.

image of Edith Stoehr

Edith Stoehr at a "women anglers only" cabin

1934: The federal Duck Stamp Program was initiated by the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act.

1934: A Cooperative Wildlife Research Program was established at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

1935: Minimum size (16 inches) was adopted to conserve juvenile striped bass.

1937: The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson) was passed to provide funds to the states for wildlife management projects and land acquisition.

1938: The first list of streams were stocked for the opening day of fishing

image of boat stocking trout

"Boat stocking" trout in the Mill River, Hamden, CT

1938: The Great New England Hurricane struck Connecticut on September 21. It is estimated that one-fifth of the state's timber was blown over. The hurricane still holds the record for Connecticut's worst natural disaster.

blown over trees from 1938 hurricane

Destroyed tree stands from the 1938 hurricane

Shad Fishing

Shad fishing in the Salmon River, Leesville.



1946: The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission was formed by all 15 Atlantic coastal states as a governing body to manage fisheries resources on an interstate level.

1947: Shift to "put and take" trout - stocking large adult-sized trout for immediate harvest.



1950: The U.S. Congress passed the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act, which created a minimal tax on fishing gear to generate stable funds for long-term restoration programs in all states.

1953: Statewide size and creel limits were set for black bass. The limits of 12 inches and 6 fish are still set today.

1953: The Board of Fisheries and Game began monitoring wood duck nest boxes on state and private land.

1954: First annual midwinter waterfowl survey was conducted.

1955: The Connecticut Wildlife Conservation Bulletin was first published by the State Board of Fisheries and Game.

first issue of Connecticut Wildlife Conservation Bulletin

1955: A large black bear was spotted in Pleasant Valley (Barkhamsted). An article from a 1955 issue of The Connecticut Wildlife Conservation Bulletin regarding the sighting reads, "Several areas of CT have suitable conditions for this mammal, and perhaps CT can someday again include this interesting animal, once common, on its wildlife list.”

1956: A Hunter Safety Program was established in Connecticut. It eventually became the Conservation Education/Firearms Safety Program in 1982.

image of moose1956: First official photograph of a moose was taken in Ashford, CT.

1957: Weekly fishing advisory began.

1958: The first map of where to fish for trout was published.

1959: The CT Legislature reorganized state commissions into the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, bringing together all agencies concerned with the new “environmental movement” in the state.



image of coyote1963: Coyotes were first documented in Connecticut during the 1950s. The coyote in this photo was one of the earliest recorded in the state. It was killed in 1963 behind the Kensington Fish Hatchery. Today, coyotes are common throughout the state.

1963: The first “modern” fishway was built in Connecticut at Lees Pond Dam on the Saugatuck River, Westport. The fishway never worked and was replaced in the 1980s.

1965: Use of the pesticide DDT for aerial spraying of wooded areas in Connecticut to control the gypsy moth was banned by the State Board of Pesticide Control.

1967: The interstate and federal program to restore Atlantic salmon to the Connecticut River began.



DEP logo1971: The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was established. The Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources was reorganized into DEP to better meet growing environmental quality legislation.

1971: Northern pike were stocked into Bantam Lake, the state's first "Pike Management Lake."

1972: The federal Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of the organochlorine pesticide DDT nationwide. DDT contamination of food items eaten by raptors, like the bald eagle and osprey, is widely accepted as a major reason why populations of many raptor species declined in the mid-20th century. DDT accumulated in the food chain and, when contaminated food was ingested by the birds, it caused them to lay eggs with weakened shells that cracked when the birds incubated their eggs.

1973: The Connecticut Wildlife Bulletin was renamed The Connecticut Environmental Bulletin after the Board of Fisheries and Game became a part of the new Department of Environmental Protection.

1974: The first Atlantic salmon returned to the Connecticut River. The news made the front page of the London Times.

1974: The Deer Management Act was passed by the State Legislature, establishing regulations to manage deer based on science.

1975: Connecticut held its first regulated deer hunting season.

image of turkey being released1975: Wild turkeys were reintroduced into Connecticut. Our state’s successful wild turkey restoration effort began in Canaan with the release of 22 wild-trapped turkeys from New York. The state’s first legal, modern-day wild turkey hunting season was held in spring 1981. View the historic article, Forty Years of Connecticut Wild Turkey Biologists, from Connecticut Wildlife magazine.

1975: Connecticut adopted the first state commercial fisheries logbook reporting system.

1976: The Rainbow Dam Fishway, on the Farmington River in Windsor, began operation. At the time, it was the tallest fishway on the east coast of North America.

1976: The U.S. Congress passed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson Act), which established rules for stock restoration and sustainability for fish harvested by commercial and recreational fisheries. Connecticut was represented on the newly-created New England Fishery Management Council.

1976: The ongoing Shad Monitoring Program began. Juvenile American shad and blueback herring are collected at seven stations weekly from July to October. The 2015 shad index was the eighth highest in the 38 year time period.

Shad Monitoring



1980: The Bluebird Restoration and Wood Distribution Project was initiated.

1981: 529 Atlantic salmon returned to the Connecticut River. It would be the highest annual return for the restoration program.

1981: The Wildlife Division first published the newsletter SCOPE, which has evolved into the current Connecticut Wildlife Magazine.

  cover of SCOPE     old cover of Connecticut Wildlife Magazine     modern Connecticut Wildlife Magazine  

1981: Connecticut held its first spring wild turkey hunting season.

1981: The Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area was first acquired in 1981 when 455 acres of land were purchased by the State of Connecticut using Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration funds and matching gift credits (resulting in no cost to state taxpayers). Prior to state acquisition, the property was used as a summer camp by the United Methodist Church. The church had purchased the land from the Sessions family in 1957, with the condition that the land be kept in its natural state, and important consideration for when the church subsequently sold the land to the state for use as a conservation education complex.

1982: Connecticut's current Conservation Education/Firearms Safety (CE/FS) Program began.

1982: Minimum fish sizes were adopted in recreational fisheries to conserve juvenile winter flounder, scup, and summer flounder.

1983: The first two K-9 Patrol Dog Teams were certified in the Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division. 

image of two K-9 patrol dog teams

First two certified K-9 Patrol dog teams

1984: The ongoing Long Island Sound Trawl Survey began. To date, the Survey has identified 108 finfish species in their catches, with two new species observed in 2015. Mid-Atlantic and tropical species are becoming more common as the Sound's water warms.

1984: The coast-wide Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistical Survey (MRFSS) began. In 2008 it was revamped as the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP).

1984: The U.S. Congress passed the Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act, which required the Secretary of Commerce to impose a moratorium on fishing for striped bass on any state that does not comply with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's plan for striped bass conservation.

1984: The Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act, first established in 1950, was strengthened and expanded by the Wallop-Breaux Amendment, which nearly tripled the amount of funds for fisheries programs in Connecticut.

1985: The Division's Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (NWCO) Program was established by state statute.

1986: The Wildlife Division's Nonharvested Wildlife Program was officially established by the State Legislature.

1986: The piping plover was added to the Federal Endangered Species List as threatened, and the state begins working with The Nature Conservancy to fence and protect nesting sites.

1986: Connecticut becomes the first Atlantic Flyway state in the nation to be granted a liberalized hunting season for nuisance resident Canada geese.

1986: The Connecticut Aquatic Resource Education (CARE) Program was created.

1989: The fisher was reintroduced into northwest Connecticut by the Wildlife Division.

1989: "An Act Establishing a Program for the Protection of Endangered and Threatened Species" became law in Connecticut.



1991: The Connecticut Bureau of Fisheries and Wildlife (now the DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources) celebrated their 125th Anniversary. View the 125th anniversary issue of SCOPE.

1991: The Sessions Woods Conservation Education Center was completed. The building also serves as a field office for the Wildlife Division.

1991: Raccoon rabies was confirmed in Connecticut.

1992: Connecticut's List of Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern Species became official.

1992: First successful bald eagle nesting in CT since the 1950s (Barkhamsted).image of two bald eagle chicks

1992: First documented case of a vehicle-killed bear in Connecticut (Redding).

1993: The first Wild Trout Management Area was established on the Tankerhoosen River.

1993: The Walleye Management Lake Program began with annual stocking of fingerling walleye in selected lakes.

1993: Connecticut issued its first State Migratory Bird Conservation (Duck) Stamp.

1993: The U.S. Congress passed the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (Coastal Act). Modeled after the very successful Striped Bass Act, the Coastal Act makes it mandatory for states to comply with Commission plans.

1994: Creel limits were established for the first time to control fishing mortality of adult summer and winter flounder.

1994: Connecticut residents were given the opportunity to donate a portion of their state income tax return to the Endangered Species/Wildlife Income Tax Check-off Fund.

1995: First documented case of a vehicle-killed moose in Connecticut (Hartland).

1995: The once depleted Atlantic striped bass population was declared fully restored 11 years after the U.S. Congress mandated state compliance with the Commission’s conservation plan under the Striped Bass Act.

1995: The Connecticut General Assembly imposed a moratorium on the issuance of most commercial fishing license types, including licenses for lobster fishing, trawling, gill netting, and commercial angling.

1996: The modern era of dam removal in Connecticut began with the removal of the Union City and Anaconda dams on the Naugatuck River.

1997: The first pair of peregrine falcons successfully nested in Connecticut since the 1940s. A pair of peregrine falcons hatched three chicks in their nest on the Travelers Tower in Hartford.

1998: Connecticut embarked on a new initiative to acquire open space.

1998: James V. Spignesi became the first Conservation Enforcement Officer in Connecticut's history to give his life in the line of duty.image of Officer Spignesi

1998: The invasive zebra mussel was discovered in East and West Twin Lakes, in Salisbury. Two new discoveries were found in Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinonah on the Housatonic River in 2010 and in Lake Housatonic in 2011.

1999: A catastrophic die-off of lobster in Long Island Sound triggered extensive research into the changing climate and its effects on marine animals.

1999: West Nile virus was identified in New York City and later in Connecticut. This was the first identification of this disease in the western hemisphere. By 2005, it had spread across the continental United States.

1999: Statewide Bass Management and Trout Management Plans were developed to manage these important freshwater species into the 21st century.

1999: Bear/human interactions increased drastically in the state.



2000: Matianuck Sand Dunes were designated as a Natural Area Preserve to protect the rare sand dune and pitch pine habitat of the endangered ghost dune tiger beetle (Cicindela lepida).

2001: The U.S. Congress created the State Wildlife Grants Program to provide federal dollars to every state and territory to support cost-effective conservation aimed at preventing wildlife from becoming endangered.

2002: 29 Bass Management Lakes were established with special length and creel limits.

2004: Sessions Woods WMA grows by 311 acres when adjacent property was purchased from the New Britain Water Department.

2004: The Conservation Enforcement Officer title is changed to the State Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police Officer.

2005: Connecticut's first Wildlife Action Plan is completed in an effort of "keeping common species common."

2006: Successful translocation of Connecticut's federally threatened Puritan tiger beetle (Cicindela puritana) was conducted to help establish a stable population in Massachusetts.

2006: The Sustainable Fisheries Act amended the 1976 Magnuson Act with strict new guidelines for fishery management plans that require overfishing be ended within one year and depleted fish stocks be fully rebuilt within 10 years.

2007: The bald eagle was removed from the federal Endangered Species List. Connecticut's population reached 14 nesting pairs.

2007: Channel catfish started being stocked in selected lakes.

2008: White-nose syndrome appeared in Connecticut's bat hibernacula.

2009: The sale of recreational marine waters fishing licenses began.

2009: The Wildlife Division joined the Regional New England Cottontail Restoration Initiative Partnership, along with other state and federal agencies.

image of a New England cottontail

2009: The first moose is tranquilized with the help of a helicopter and fitted with a GPS collar.



2010: The Division of Forestry completed the Connecticut Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy, now known as the Connecticut Forest Action Plan.

DEEP logo2011: The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is launched bringing together the former Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Public Utility Control, and an energy policy group that had been based at the Office of Policy and Management.

2011: The Connecticut Fish and Wildlife Facebook page was created!

image of Connecticut Fish and Wildlife facebook page

2011: Mid-Atlantic fish species (i.e., fluke, scup, black sea bass, bluefish) become more common in Long Island Sound as water temperature data show a warming trend since the 1970s. CT angler harvests of black sea bass exceeded 300,000 fish, one of the many mid-Atlantic species increasing in abundance in the Sound as water temperature increases.

2011: The world record striped bass was caught in Westbrook, CT.

2011: Long Beach West (Stratford) cottage removal and barrier beach restoration was completed through a partnership with town, county, state, federal, and private stakeholders.

2011-2012: Hurricanes Irene and Sandy caused significant damage to coastal habitats.

2012: The Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission decided to terminate the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program due to poor returns and diminishing funds. The Commission remains in place to manage interstate cooperation with the restoration of other diadromous fish species, such as American shad to the river. CT DEEP continues limited stocking of salmon with its Atlantic Salmon Legacy Program.

2012: The non-native emerald ash borer was first documented in Connecticut.

2012: The first YOUth Fishing Passports were distributed.

image of a child with a caught fish

2014: The Community Fishing Waters Program expanded to include six new waters. There are now 14 lakes in Connecticut designated as Community Fishing Waters near public transportation routes to enhance fishing opportunities in urban neighborhoods.

2014: Connecticut surpassed the 400 mile mark for opening river habitat for migrating fishes. This was accomplished through the construction of 64 fishways and over a dozen dam removals.

2014: Juvenile Atlantic sturgeon were caught during DEEP river surveys of the Connecticut River and were genetically confirmed to have been produced in the river. This is the first confirmed reproduction of this species in the Connecticut River since the 1800s.

Juvenile Atlantic Sturgeon

2014:  Public Act 14-201 was passed, dropping the price of hunting and fishing licenses by 50% for 16- and 17-year-old Connecticut residents. The Act also enabled the creation of two free fishing license days.

2015: A record 6 dams were removed in one year to reconnect fish habitat.

2015: Sunday hunting was allowed for archery deer hunters on private land.

2015: The New England cottontail was no longer under consideration for federal endangered species listing. View the success story from Connecticut Wildlife magazine.

2015: Public Act 15-52 was passed, creating the first opportunity for new entry into commercial fishing in 20 years.

2015: The Forestry Division completed an internal review of the 2010 Forest Action Plan to make sure the plan was relevant and to describe some success stories related to the U.S. Forest Service's national priorities.

2015: The Connecticut Wildlife Action Plan received its first revision.

2016: The Connecticut Bureau of Natural Resources celebrated its 150th anniversary.

2016: A new Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp was created. The stamp replaced pheasant tags and turkey permits. It is required to hunt pheasants, ruffed grouse, quail, chukar and Hungarian partridges, and wild turkeys. All revenues from the sale of Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamps are deposited into a separate, non-lapsing account to use exclusively for the purchase and management of game birds and their habitat.

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Content last updated on January 3, 2017.