Nature goers and state legislators alike hiked down to the Session Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington to celebrate the enacting of the State’s Open Space for Connecticut’s Wildlife preservation.
After brief introductions from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Daniel Esty and Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven Reviczky, State Representative Terrie Wood (R- Darien, Norwalk) joined other state legislators at the ceremony to watch as Gov. Dannel Malloy formally signed the protective legislation into law.
“We are blessed to have such beautiful wildlife areas that are so abundant with natural resources here in Connecticut. It’s our duty to protect these resources so we can ensure our children can enjoy them as well,” said Rep. Wood. “This legislation develops a new and improved standard for identifying and protecting our state’s open lands making sure our environment is better preserved for the future generations of Connecticut.”
The new law will help Connecticut meet the goal of protecting 673,210 acres, or 21 percent, of state land as open space by 2023. It requires DEEP to:
- Update the state’s open space plan by December 15, 2012 and then at least once every five years;
- Prioritize land acquisition to integrate existing priorities such as wildlife habitat and ecological resources having the greatest need of immediate preservation;
- Make recommendation for establishing a voluntary statewide catalogue to keep track of all conserved lands—private, municipal, state, and federal—in a format that is easily accessible to the public; and
- Develop a plan to identify and permanently protect land of conservation value that is held by other state agencies.