U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) will host a number of different events with community members and advocates around Connecticut on Tuesday to discuss ways to preserve the Long Island Sound.
Although decades of over development, pollution, and releases of untreated sewage have severely hurt the water quality, the Sound is a proven economic driver, generating between $17 billion and $37 billion annually in tourism, fishing, shellfishing, and boating, not to mention the more than 1,300 square miles of coast that serve as home to hundreds of diverse wildlife species.
In Milford in the morning, Murphy will visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Milford Lab to learn about their critical role in supporting Connecticut’s $30 million aquaculture and shellfish industry, which has recently suffered due to changes in the Sound’s environment.
At noon, Murphy will join Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling, environmental advocates, and business advocates for a press conference to highlight the Long Island Sound’s critical economic contributions to Connecticut, and to call for passage of the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act. The bill – which Murphy introduced last week with Senators Blumenthal, Gillibrand, and Schumer in an effort to secure more federal funding for the restoration of the Sound – comes on the heels of the first-ever ecosystem health report card revealing that greater investments are needed to improve the Sound’s health.
After the press conference, Murphy will visit Darien Seafood Market to meet with owner Roger Frate and learn how the steep decline in Long Island Sound’s lobster population has impacted fishermen and businesses all across Connecticut. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection estimates that in 2013 alone, 90 percent of the Sound’s entire lobster population died.
Last on the series of visits, Senator Murphy will meet with members of the Greenwich Land Trust on Tuesday to listen and learn about the importance of preserving land along Connecticut’s coastline and how coastal conservation contributes to the health of the Long Island Sound. The meeting is at the Sea Meadow Preserve at Cedar Cliff Drive in Riverside at 3:00pm.