Letter from the Manager

George McManus, CT Reserve’s Interim Manager 

Greetings! And welcome to the website of the brand-new Connecticut National Estuarine Research Reserve. Ours is the newest of the thirty reserves in the system, and represents a partnership among UConn, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The reserve includes significant brackish and freshwater marsh habitats on the Connecticut River and stretches all the way from there to Bluff Point and Haley Farms state parks in the southeastern corner of the state, with subtidal and pelagic habitats of Long Island Sound connecting these upland sites.

Our first year of operation will conclude at the end of June and we have much activity to report. We are fully staffed with the coordinators who will manage the four key elements of the reserve – stewardship, education, research, and coastal training. In coming weeks we will be hiring a technician to help with our environmental monitoring program and we have plans to purchase a boat and some kayaks for our research and education programs, along with an array of environmental sampling gear. Several staff members attended the national meeting for the reserve system in Seattle last Fall, where we learned about all the exciting things going on at our fellow reserves.

It is important to note that designation of these properties as part of the reserve does not impose new regulations or limits on the activities that can occur there. Fishing, hiking, swimming and other activities allowed before the Reserve was created will still be allowed. Having these areas designated as a reserve does, however, make us eligible to apply for funding for research, education, stewardship, and training in the Reserve and sets up a system of environmental monitoring that will allow us to assess the health and functioning of these areas in the coming years.

Please join us in this exciting new venture by visiting the Reserve, getting involved as a volunteer, or just continuing to peruse the website to learn about our programs!