Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Senate Joint

Resolution No. 4

February Session, 2016

 

LCO No. 1034

 

*01034_______ENV*

Referred to Committee on ENVIRONMENT

 

Introduced by:

 

(ENV)

 

RESOLUTION MEMORIALIZING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PERMANENTLY PRESERVE PLUM ISLAND AS A NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE.

Resolved by this Assembly:

WHEREAS, Plum Island is a nationally significant natural, cultural, and historic resource;

WHEREAS, Plum Island has been designated as part of the Long Island Sound Stewardship System under the authority of the federal Clean Water Act, demonstrating the governmental and public interest in the conservation of the undeveloped natural resources of the island;

WHEREAS, the Long Island Sound Stewardship Initiative Atlas identifies Plum Island as an exemplary colonial waterbird habitat, including sites that are of national significance;

WHEREAS, the ecological value of Plum Island's habitats have been acknowledged by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service through its designation of Plum Island as one of the Northeast Coastal Areas Study Significant Coastal Habitat sites, a designation that identifies Plum Island as a habitat and area of natural diversity in need of protection in southern New England;

WHEREAS, Plum Island has also been recognized as an important coastal resource pursuant to the federal Coastal Barrier Resources Act, and is included within the Coastal Barrier Resources System;

WHEREAS, eighty per cent of Plum Island remains in a natural state of undeveloped fields, forests, wetlands and shoreline habitats;

WHEREAS, Plum Island provides essential habitat to more than two hundred migratory, overwintering, breeding or resident songbirds, waterbirds or birds of prey, including, but not limited to, the rare bank swallow, osprey, federally endangered roseate tern and the federally threatened piping plover;

WHEREAS, Plum Island supports the largest winter haul-out site for seals in southern New England;

WHEREAS, Plum Island has significant natural communities and plant species, including an extensive wooded freshwater wetland in the southwestern section of the island and a maritime dune community, which collectively provide habitat for a number of rare and endangered plant species, including such rare plants as seabeach and slender knotweed, blackjack oak and spring ladies' tresses;

WHEREAS, Plum Island's waters are filled with a wide variety of species, including numerous fish, the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, sea turtles and other marine life;

WHEREAS, Plum Island's waters provide unique opportunities for recreational fishing, sailing and charter boat activities;

WHEREAS, the disposal of federal property has led to the creation of national wildlife refuges like Nomans Land Island National Wildlife Refuge in coastal Massachusetts and Ninigret, Sachuest Point and Block Island National Wildlife Refuges in coastal Rhode Island.

WHEREAS, the proposed sale of the undeveloped portions of Plum Island by the United States Department of Homeland Security and the United States General Services Administration is inconsistent with the traditional process of federal property disposition;

WHEREAS, the proposed sale of the undeveloped portions of Plum Island is inconsistent with the well-established effort by state and local governments in and around Long Island Sound to acquire and protect stewardship sites possessing ecological, environmental, cultural, historic, recreational and scenic value;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Connecticut General Assembly calls upon the Congress of the United States to protect the public's interest in assuring Plum Island's and Long Island Sound's economic, environmental, historic and cultural value through the permanent preservation of their habitats and wildlife by repealing those provisions of Public Law 110-329 and Public Law 112-74 that require the sale of Plum Island and by designating Plum Island as a National Wildlife Refuge; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the clerks of the Senate and House cause copies of this resolution to be sent to each member of the Connecticut congressional delegation.