Save the Sound, a two-state program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, applauded Friday as federal legislators announced agency plans for a study that could advance efforts to protect Plum Island.
The island, a federally owned 840-acre property at the eastern end of Long Island Sound that hosts endangered species, is at risk of being auctioned off and its fragile habitats lost.
The Congressional Appropriations subcommittee on Homeland Security has directed the Department of Homeland Security to work with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and the General Services Administration on a study of options for long-term use of the island.
Most importantly, they are directed to consider environmental and historic resources, among other factors, in analyzing conservation options. It also requires that the agency identify any needed legislative changes, costs, and revenues to accomplish that goal.
“This action demonstrates that the ‘Save Plum Island’ mantra offered by thousands of citizens is being heard loud and clear, from the tip of Long Island to the halls of Congress. The development of a study to consider conservation alternatives is significant progress in the fight to protect Plum Island from the auction block,” said Leah Lopez Schmalz, program director for CFE/Save the Sound. “Given that Plum Island is a significant environmental and cultural asset and developing a pathway for its conservation is essential, we are encouraged to see that the Department of Homeland Security will be involving EPA and the Department of the Interior to ensure rare birds, seals, wetland and bluff habitats, and historic Fort Terry are fully evaluated.”