Report: Connecticut’s Open-Space Goals Off Target

The state is short of its goal of protecting 10 percent, and it’s unknown how much acreage has been protected by land trusts, municipalities and water companies that are trying to protect an additional 11 percent.
Connecticut protected more farmland (1,563 acres) in 2016 than in any year since 2011, and the state’s high rate of farmland loss has slowed.
However, the state is still not on track to meet the goal of preserving 130,000 acres of farmland, with at least 85,000 acres in cropland.
“Even highly successful efforts to reduce air emissions and water-pollution discharges can appear by some measures to go unrewarded.” Merrow noted that the average level of pollution in Connecticut’s air was the best in decades, but the number of summertime bad air days (31) held stubbornly near the 10-year average (32).
Heavy rain on Connecticut streets and lawns clearly is one of the biggest reasons that water quality isn’t improving, according to the comprehensive report.
Connecticut’s development patterns have been fixed for decades.
Most municipalities have developed around roads and commercial areas with extensive parking.
Lawns can be transformed into environmentally helpful features more quickly, but widespread change is not evident, according to the report.
Low-emission vehicles might be cruising their streets in some future year, driving down air emissions and reducing some of the contaminants that wash into streams, but those streets still will be there, and so might the lawns.
If it rains in the future, there still will be widespread pollution that resists improvement.”

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