Open forum on Long Island Sound Blue Plan Nov. 16

All who use Long Island Sound — for swimming, boating, fishing or commerce — are urged to attend a public forum on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk to discuss a plan being developed to guide the Sound’s future uses.

The Nov. 16 forum, “Shaping a ‘Sound’ Future with the Long Island Sound Blue Plan,” will feature details about the state-mandated effort, plus a panel discussion and Q&A with stakeholders. The 7 p.m. program will follow a reception at 6:30 p.m. The Maritime Aquarium is at 10 N. Water St., Norwalk.

Millions of people depend on Long Island Sound for the quality of life, economic value and natural resources it provides. Connecticut’s Coastal Management Program (CMP) protects coastal resources and guides development along the immediate coast. The Blue Plan — called for by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and state lawmakers in 2015 — will supplement the CMP’s existing authority in the deeper offshore reaches of the Sound. It is intended to prioritize the protection of existing natural resources and such uses as fishing, aquaculture and navigation from future conflicting or incompatible activities and would not create new regulatory restrictions for them.

Charged with preparing the Blue Plan by 2019, the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and its Advisory Committee are holding the Nov. 16 forum to begin the process of gaining public and stakeholder input.

Those attending this kick-off event will learn about the Blue Plan and how it will be developed, including how the public and stakeholders can be further engaged.

Speakers and panelists will include:

  • Rob Klee, CT DEEP Commissioner
  • Nathan Frohling, The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut
  • Bill Gardella, Connecticut Marine Trades Association
  • Melissa Gates, Surfrider Foundation
  • Dick Harris Norm Bloom and Son, LLC/Copps Island Oysters
  • Christine Nelson, Town of Old Saybrook
  • Mike Theiler, Jeanette T. Fisheries
  • Brian Thompson, Connecticut DEEP

The event also will include the screening of a 28-minute documentary, Ocean Frontiers II, that documents a similar marine planning effort done in Rhode Island. Produced by Green Fire Productions, the film will help viewers understand the need for a coordinated management strategy in the three-dimensional space of offshore waters.

The public forum is hosted by the Blue Plan Advisory Committee and the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Connecticut Sea Grant, Connecticut Marine Trades Association, Long Island Sound Study, Connecticut Charter and Party Boat Association, Surfrider Foundation, Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association, Norm Bloom and Son/Copps Island Oysters, North American Marine Environment Protection Association, New England Science and Sailing, Town of Old Saybrook, Harbor Watch (a program of Earthplace) and Green Fire Productions.

The Nov. 16 forum is free, but advance registration is greatly appreciated. Get more details and sign up here:  http://bit.ly/RSVP-Norwalk

Learn more about the Long Island Sound Blue Plan at www.ct.gov/deep/lisblueplan

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