2015 SPECIAL SESSION Final Call to Action for Conservation

Contact your legislators today!

With the 2015 Special Session likely ending on Monday or Tuesday of next week, NOW is the time to contact your State Legislators on the following key issues which directly impact your conservation work. Please ask them to share your message with the leadership of the House, Senate, and with the Governor.

Message: Oppose Any Further Cuts to the Community Investment Act

Background:  Under the Budget approved June 3rd, 50% of the CIA funds collected from January 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 will be diverted to the general fund. An additional diversion of $90,000/year for the Horse Guard Units in Avon and Newtown was added in the last hours of the regular session. As it stands, this sweep is already of an unprecendented magnitude.

Talking Points:  Oppose any further diversions from the Community Investment Act (CIA) - a dedicated fund, set up outside the budget for the purpose of providing a consistent stream of funding for critical programs for open space conservation, farmland/dairy support, historic preservation and affordable housing. The CIA has delivered for our communities in a big way:  $133 million invested in over 1,100 projects in 168 towns. 

Message:  Support the Bond Package to fund DEEP's Open Space & Watershed Land Acquisition (OSWA) Grant Program and Recreational Trails Program (RTP). Restore funding for the Recreation & Natural Heritage Trust (RNHT) Program

Tankerhoosen Wildlife Management Area, Vernon - RNHT funded project
Credit: John Roe

Background: 
The Bond Package authorizes $8 million/year for the OSWA matching grants program and $5 million/year in bonding for the RTP, but eliminates funding for the RNHT Program for each of the next two fiscal years.

Talking Points:  Support OSWA and RTP funding which is essential for land trusts, towns and water companies in their efforts to conserve lands and create trails, respectively, in accordance with local and state goals and needs.

Restore RNHT funding which is essential to DEEP's ability to acquire land for conservation and recreation. Zeroing-out the RNHT program would set a bad precedent for future funding of the program and undermine DEEP's ability to pursue a growing list of prioirty projects in its queue for acquisition. (Even adding $1 million/year for RNHT would help to keep the program moving forward.)

Messsage:  Support the Amendment that removes three sections of concern from the Conveyance Act

Endangered spade foot toad habitat is part of the Quinebaug Wildlife Management Area

Background:  During the regular session, thanks to your advocacy efforts, Sections 3 (involving Silver Sands State Park to the City of Milford for parking), 13 & 14 (involving access roads across parts of Quinebaug Wildlife Management Area in eastern CT for gravel and sand extraction) were removed from the 2015 Conveyance Act (the annual bill that allows the General Assembly to transfer - by swap, sale or just plain giveaway - public lands to towns and private parties). The bill will not be taken up by the General Assembly during this Special Session.

Talking Points:  Support the removal of these proposals from the Conveyance Act - all three raise serious concerns with respect to potential adverse environmental impacts on public conservation lands. Click HERE for more detail on the concerns surrounding these proposals.

Thank you! YOUR action continues to make a difference!

Your continued engagement with your State Legislators has been critical to saving so many of these programs from even more devastating cuts and in helping to pass pro-conservation bills during the regular session.

Please take a few minutes to send one last message by Thursday, June 25!