Conservation Efforts
in Ash Creek
Ash Creek
Conservation
Association, Inc.
Our Mission
 To preserve and protect one of the few
remaining tidal estuaries in an urban area in
the United States that ...
Our Objectives - #1
 To educate the public and
Bridgeport/Fairfield residents of the
significance of tidal estuaries such...
Our Objectives - #2
 To educate about the potential source of
pollutants whenever there is human activity
in the area. Fo...
Our Objectives - #3
 To advocate for the restoration and
protection of the Ash Creek tidal estuary
from ill-planned encro...
Our Objectives - #4
 To work for identification and designation
of especially sensitive areas in the Ash
Creek tidal estu...
Our Objectives - #5
 Obtaining designation of the Ash Creek
estuary as an Important Birding Area
(IBA).
Our Objectives - #6
 To develop sites and a trail along the Ash
Creek tidal estuary for visitor observations of
the varie...
Our Objectives - #7
 To encourage ecologically friendly uses of
Ash Creek and aesthetic enjoyment for the
people who live...
History and Background
 To understand our organization’s mission
and objectives, we need to take quick trip
back in time ...
Ash Creek Wasn’t Valued in the Past
 “Upriver to the Post Road bridge, is an
estuary-traversed marsh, of no good to
anyon...
Notice that the tidal wetlands have
been eradicated completely…
Great Marsh Island as a
“Rich Man’s Paradise”
Replacing the tidal estuary with an
inland lake…
Inland Lake with Dam
1977 Aerial View of Ash Creek
First Ash Creek Association
 Formed in 1967 to preserve natural
shoreline of Ash Creek and prevent fill and
water polluti...
The first Ash Creek clean up…
Removed 28 Tons of Trash from Ash Creek
The entire community pitched in…
We Owe a Lot to Their Efforts
 Active for about 20 years (1967 to 1987)
 Like us they…
 Worked closely with the Connect...
Thanks to Their Efforts
 Ash Creek is one of the last healthy tidal
estuaries in an urban area in the United
States
 It ...
Did You Know…
 Ash Creek is one of the key stopover areas
on the Eastern seaboard for palearctic
shorebirds
 Some migrat...
Did You Know…
 Oysters have a high mortality rate – easily
smothered by silt stirred up by powerboats
 Commercial oyster...
Present Ash Creek Association
 16 year interval between associations
 April 2003, the Ash Creek Conservation
Association...
Why We Fight Docks in Ash Creek
 Shoreline equivalent of urban sprawl –
development destroys the fringing tidal wetlands
...
Dock Accomplishments
 Reduced Ganim 50’ dock to 31’
 Reduced Mears 85’ dock to 35’
 DEP initially denied 60’ Toner dock...
Other Accomplishments…
 Great Marsh Island ownership transferred from
developers to land trust & open space
 Prevented u...
Ash Creek Master Plan…
 86-page Ecological Master Plan developed for the Ash
Creek Tidal Estuary in 2012 by Steven Danzer...
Events Sponsored in 2013…
 March 4 – Ecohistory of Ash Creek (using aerial
photos from 1938 to the present scientific inv...
Events Sponsored in 2012…
 April 7– Spring Clean Up at Ash Creek
 October 6– Fall Clean Up at Ash Creek
 December 5– Ec...
Events Sponsored in 2011…
 April 9 – Spring Clean Up at Ash Creek
 September 17 – Fall Clean Up at Ash Creek
 October 1...
Events Sponsored in 2010…
 February 28 – New Neighbors Social at the
Fayerweather Yacht Club, Speaker: Lisa Miro,
Conserv...
Events Sponsored in 2009…
 March 15 – New Neighbors Social at the
Fayerweather Yacht Club
 April 18 - Beach Grass Planti...
Events Sponsored in 2008…
 February 2 – New Neighbors Social at the
Fayerweather Yacht Club featuring Charles Brilvitch o...
Events Sponsored in 2007…
 March 19 – Ash Creek/Rooster River Watershed
seminar presented by Professor Kraig Steffen, Fai...
Events Sponsored in 2006…
 January 28 – New Neighbors Social at the Fayerweather Yacht
Club featuring Dr. Art Samuelson o...
Events Sponsored in 2005…
 January 27 - Winged Migration large screen showing of DVD at
Connecticut Audubon Society Cente...
Events Sponsored in 2004…
 January 23 – Coastal Habitat Restoration in Black Rock –
presentation by Charles Brilvitch at ...
Events Sponsored in 2003…
 April 19 – Spring Clean Up of Ash Creek
 June 10 – Ash Creek Tidal Estuary as a Habitat for N...
Grants Received in 2012
 2012 – $5,000 Fairfield County Community Foundation Grant for
Phase I of Ecological Master Plan ...
Grants Received in 2004
 2004 – $5,000 The Watershed Assistance Small Grants
Program, conducted in association with the C...
Grants Received in 2003
 2003 – $2,000 NE Grassroots Environmental Fund to organize
and participate in DEP hearings again...
Some Memorable Moments…
Bird Tours
2004 Blue Heron Ball
Ganim Dock…
Ash Creek Art Fundraiser…
2006 Blue Heron Ball…
2006 Utility Bridge Fight
Utility Bridge Victory Party…
2008 Project Limulus…
Ash Creek Clean Ups - Spring
and Fall Since 2003…
ACCA Communications
 e-Newsletter (sign up on our website)
 Website www.ashcreekassoc.org
 YouTube
 FaceBook
Click here to sign up for
Ash Creek e-Newsletter
Ash Creek e-Newsletter
Ash Creek Website
www.ashcreekassoc.org
Click here to go to
Ash Creek YouTube videos
Ash Creek YouTube Videos
Click here to become a fan
Ash Creek FaceBook Page
Ash Creek FaceBook Page
Key ACCA Presentations…
 Ecohistory of Ash Creek
 Ash Creek Master Plan
It’s not too late to download the
presentations ...
Ecohistory of Ash Creek
Video of presentation Ecohistory of Ash Creek – Part I & Part II
Ash Creek Master Plan 2012
86-page scientific study of Ash Creek – 2012
(Available for download: Ash Creek Tidal Estuary M...
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Conservation Efforts in the Ash Creek Tidal Estuary 2013

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The history of efforts to preserve and protect the Ash Creek tidal estuary which borders the city of Bridgeport and the town of Fairfield in Connecticut. The Ash Creek Conservation Association was formed in 2003 to continue the efforts of many to protect this rare healthy tidal estuary in an urban area.

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Conservation Efforts in the Ash Creek Tidal Estuary 2013

  1. 1. Conservation Efforts in Ash Creek Ash Creek Conservation Association, Inc.
  2. 2. Our Mission  To preserve and protect one of the few remaining tidal estuaries in an urban area in the United States that provides an important habitat for migratory shorebirds, oysters and other shellfish, and an opportunity to educate the public about this amazing, fragile, and extraordinarily beautiful ecosystem which has been self restoring itself for more than 50 years.
  3. 3. Our Objectives - #1  To educate the public and Bridgeport/Fairfield residents of the significance of tidal estuaries such as Ash Creek in their crucial role as delicate environments for the maintenance of bird, fish, and plant life
  4. 4. Our Objectives - #2  To educate about the potential source of pollutants whenever there is human activity in the area. For example, marinas and boat usage increase toxins, affect nutrients, and have an impact on the ecology of the Creek.
  5. 5. Our Objectives - #3  To advocate for the restoration and protection of the Ash Creek tidal estuary from ill-planned encroachments and development which could significantly harm the ecological balance of nature in the area.
  6. 6. Our Objectives - #4  To work for identification and designation of especially sensitive areas in the Ash Creek tidal estuary for special protection.
  7. 7. Our Objectives - #5  Obtaining designation of the Ash Creek estuary as an Important Birding Area (IBA).
  8. 8. Our Objectives - #6  To develop sites and a trail along the Ash Creek tidal estuary for visitor observations of the variety of species of birds that visit and nest there each year.
  9. 9. Our Objectives - #7  To encourage ecologically friendly uses of Ash Creek and aesthetic enjoyment for the people who live, work, and play in and around it, including kayaking, canoeing, bird watching, photography, painting, walking or hiking and discourage destructive uses of Ash Creek, including power boating and docks.
  10. 10. History and Background  To understand our organization’s mission and objectives, we need to take quick trip back in time to the early 1900’s…
  11. 11. Ash Creek Wasn’t Valued in the Past  “Upriver to the Post Road bridge, is an estuary-traversed marsh, of no good to anyone. If this area could either be made into a safe inland pond or a suitable yacht basin, people innumerable, from both neighboring communities would be benefited.” Bridgeport Telegram, 1952
  12. 12. Notice that the tidal wetlands have been eradicated completely… Great Marsh Island as a “Rich Man’s Paradise”
  13. 13. Replacing the tidal estuary with an inland lake… Inland Lake with Dam
  14. 14. 1977 Aerial View of Ash Creek
  15. 15. First Ash Creek Association  Formed in 1967 to preserve natural shoreline of Ash Creek and prevent fill and water pollution, preserve the remaining marshlands as a home for wildlife  They were catalyzed into action by a zoning permit on Livingston Avenue to fill in part of Ash Creek  Gathered the support of legislators and conservation groups throughout state
  16. 16. The first Ash Creek clean up… Removed 28 Tons of Trash from Ash Creek
  17. 17. The entire community pitched in…
  18. 18. We Owe a Lot to Their Efforts  Active for about 20 years (1967 to 1987)  Like us they…  Worked closely with the Connecticut Audubon Society and CT Conservation Association  Fought long legal battles with state agencies Without their efforts, we would not have an Ash Creek to protect today
  19. 19. Thanks to Their Efforts  Ash Creek is one of the last healthy tidal estuaries in an urban area in the United States  It has been self-restoring itself for the past 50 years because of the clean ups and prevention of fills & development  Serves as a defacto wildlife sanctuary for nesting and migratory birds, shellfish, and finfish
  20. 20. Did You Know…  Ash Creek is one of the key stopover areas on the Eastern seaboard for palearctic shorebirds  Some migrate from the Arctic Circle to Argentina  Mudflats provide the food  Natural surroundings provide rest – afraid of docks and development Ash Creek is one of the last 15 stopovers for migratory shorebirds left in Connecticut
  21. 21. Did You Know…  Oysters have a high mortality rate – easily smothered by silt stirred up by powerboats  Commercial oyster growers rely on Ash Creek for seed oysters – very rare to find shallow water oyster bed – Bureau of Aquaculture considers Ash Creek to be a precious resource for seed oysters Lower part of Ash Creek is a state designated natural oyster bed
  22. 22. Present Ash Creek Association  16 year interval between associations  April 2003, the Ash Creek Conservation Association (ACCA) was formed  The group was catalyzed into organizing by Ganim’s plan for a 50’ dock on Ash Creek  ACCA believed the delicate ecological balance that exists in lower Ash Creek could be disrupted by the presence of docks and powerboat activity
  23. 23. Why We Fight Docks in Ash Creek  Shoreline equivalent of urban sprawl – development destroys the fringing tidal wetlands and the natural beauty we all enjoy  Given the shallowness and small size of this tidal estuary, the impact of powerboats have more impact than in other settings  Presence of manmade structures along with noise and motion from powerboats disturb migratory and nesting birds
  24. 24. Dock Accomplishments  Reduced Ganim 50’ dock to 31’  Reduced Mears 85’ dock to 35’  DEP initially denied 60’ Toner dock and made a historic ruling that the DEP must now consider the use of docks in making its decisions, i.e. powerboat usage  Update: after denying dock as a result of DEP Adjudication Hearing process, DEP agreed to go to mediation with Toner and allowed the 60’ dock
  25. 25. Other Accomplishments…  Great Marsh Island ownership transferred from developers to land trust & open space  Prevented utility bridge across Ash Creek (cables went underground)  Habitat repair of Ash Creek sand spit after dredging destroyed vegetation, ACCA volunteers planted 32,000 beach grass plugs  Ash Creek Clean Ups – Spring & Fall since 2003  Appointed to Rooster River Watershed Steering Committee (2013) & Fox Street Pedestrian Bridge Committee (2013)
  26. 26. Ash Creek Master Plan…  86-page Ecological Master Plan developed for the Ash Creek Tidal Estuary in 2012 by Steven Danzer, Ph.D., who has his doctorate in Natural Resources and is also a Soil Scientist as well as Professional Wetland Scientist and Bryan Quinn, RLA of One Nature, LLC, ecological services and design. Provides scientific data and ecological recommendations. Funding for this project was provided by:  The Watershed Assistance Small Grants Program, conducted in association with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The small grants program is administered by Rivers Alliance of Connecticut.  The Fairfield County Community Foundation  In-kind donations from Dr. Steven Danzer and Bryan Quinn, RLA
  27. 27. Events Sponsored in 2013…  March 4 – Ecohistory of Ash Creek (using aerial photos from 1938 to the present scientific investigators will discuss the changes to Ash Creek over the years based on historical records)  April 20 – Spring Clean Up of Ash Creek  September 21- Fall Clean Up at Ash Creek  October 6– Audubon Bird Walk at Ash Creek – migratory shorebirds and birds of Ash Creek
  28. 28. Events Sponsored in 2012…  April 7– Spring Clean Up at Ash Creek  October 6– Fall Clean Up at Ash Creek  December 5– Ecological Master Plan for Ash Creek - Two ecological consultants presented the their findings and recommendations - Steven Danzer, Ph.D., a Soil Scientist as well as Professional Wetland Scientist & Bryan Quinn, RLA of One Nature, LLC, ecological services and design. Funding for this project was provided by:  The Watershed Assistance Small Grants Program, conducted in association with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The small grants program is administered by Rivers Alliance of Connecticut.  The Fairfield County Community Foundation  In-kind donations from Dr. Steven Danzer and Bryan Quinn, RLA
  29. 29. Events Sponsored in 2011…  April 9 – Spring Clean Up at Ash Creek  September 17 – Fall Clean Up at Ash Creek  October 19 – Why Ash Creek Matters at Fayerweather Yacht Club, discussion forum with Milan Bull (Senior Director of Science & Conservation at Connecticut Audubon), Dr. Jennifer Mattei (Professor of Biology at Sacred Heart University), and Dr. Steve Danzer (soil and wetlands scientist). Panel was moderated by Dr. Kraig Steffen of Fairfield University (Vice President of the Ash Creek Conservation Association)
  30. 30. Events Sponsored in 2010…  February 28 – New Neighbors Social at the Fayerweather Yacht Club, Speaker: Lisa Miro, Conservation Director for City of Bridgeport  March 27– Spring Clean Up at Ash Creek  August 19 – Great Marsh Island Shorebird Hike at Ash Creek (with Aspetuck Land Trust & led by Milan Bull of CT Audubon)  September 25 – Fall Clean Up at Ash Creek
  31. 31. Events Sponsored in 2009…  March 15 – New Neighbors Social at the Fayerweather Yacht Club  April 18 - Beach Grass Plantings at Ash Creek  May 12 – Audubon Bird Walk at Ash Creek with Milan Bull  May 16 – Clean Up at Ash Creek  July 18 – Victory Party at Harborview Market  September 19 - Clean Up at Ash Creek  November 18 – Fall Event at Fayerweather Yacht Club w. Prof. Mark Beekey, Sacred Heart University on horseshoe crabs & migratory shorebirds
  32. 32. Events Sponsored in 2008…  February 2 – New Neighbors Social at the Fayerweather Yacht Club featuring Charles Brilvitch on the history of Black Rock  April 26 – Spring Clean Up at Ash Creek  May 15 – Audubon Bird Walk at Ash Creek with Milan Bull  May 17 – Project Limulus at Ash Creek  September 20 – Fall Clean Up at Ash Creek  October 7 – Public Hearing on Toner Dock  October 25 – Beach Grass Plantings at sand spit
  33. 33. Events Sponsored in 2007…  March 19 – Ash Creek/Rooster River Watershed seminar presented by Professor Kraig Steffen, Fairfield University at Black Rock Arts Center  March 21 – Ash Creek/Rooster River Watershed seminar presented by Professor Kraig Steffen, Fairfield University at Connecticut Audubon Society in Fairfield  March 24 – New Neighbors Social at the Fayerweather Yacht Club featuring Charles Brilvitch on the history of Black Rock  May 5 – Spring Clean Up of Ash Creek  July 26 – Audubon Bird Walk with Milan Bull
  34. 34. Events Sponsored in 2006…  January 28 – New Neighbors Social at the Fayerweather Yacht Club featuring Dr. Art Samuelson on the history of Black Rock.  March 27 – Backyard Birding & the Ash Creek Ecosystem by Professor Tod Osier from Fairfield University  April 29 – Spring Clean Up of Ash Creek  June 17 – Great Marsh Island Celebration for the preservation of Great Marsh Island by the Aspetuck Land Trust and Town of Fairfield with refreshments and a walking tour of Ash Creek led by Milan Bull.  October 6 – Utility Bridge public meeting with CL&P and Black Rock/Fairfield community. Slide show and mock ups by CL&P. Slide show by ACCA. Q&A followed.  September 16 – Fall Clean Up of Ash Creek  November 13 - DEP Public Hearing on Utility Bridge  December 5 – Victory Party at Harborview for Utility Bridge
  35. 35. Events Sponsored in 2005…  January 27 - Winged Migration large screen showing of DVD at Connecticut Audubon Society Center in Fairfield – open to public  April 30 – Spring Clean Up of Ash Creek -for the first year the clean up on both sides of Ash Creek was coordinated  September 7 – Bird Tour of Ash Creek was held at 7 PM along Ash Creek by Professor Kraig Steffen  September 17 - Walking Tour of Historical Black Rock and Black Rock's maritime past by Charles Brilvitch will be held at 1 PM this Saturday starting at Harborview Market  September 24 – Fall Clean Up of Ash Creek which we also coordinated with Mill River Wetlands Committee
  36. 36. Events Sponsored in 2004…  January 23 – Coastal Habitat Restoration in Black Rock – presentation by Charles Brilvitch at Burroughs Community Center  March 18– Establishing National Wildlife Refuges in Connecticut presentation by William Kolodnicki, Refuge Manager, Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge (USFWS) at Burrough Community Center  April 24 – Spring Clean Up of Ash Creek  September 18 – Fall Clean Up of Ash Creek  November 19 – Ash Creek’s Importance as a Migratory Flyway presentation by Milan Bull of Connecticut Audubon Society at Burroughs Community Center
  37. 37. Events Sponsored in 2003…  April 19 – Spring Clean Up of Ash Creek  June 10 – Ash Creek Tidal Estuary as a Habitat for Nesting and Migratory Shorebird presentation by Milan Bull, CT Audubon, and Ecological History of Ash Creek presentation by Ed Jones, Fairfield Department of Conservation, at Burrough Community Center  September 13 – Ash Creek Bird Walk led by Milan Bull, CT Audubon  October 18 – Ash Creek Photography Exhibit & Sale - fundraiser at Burroughs Community Center
  38. 38. Grants Received in 2012  2012 – $5,000 Fairfield County Community Foundation Grant for Phase I of Ecological Master Plan for Ash Creek.  2012 – $5,000 The Watershed Assistance Small Grants Program, conducted in association with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The small grants program was administered by Rivers Alliance of Connecticut. Grant for Phase I of Ecological Master Plan for Ash Creek.  2012 - In-kind donations have also been provided by two ecological consultants: Steve Danzer of Steven Danzer Ph.D. & Associates LLC, a professional wetlands scientist, and Bryan Quinn, a specialist in ecological habitat restoration for Phase I of Ecological Master Plan for Ash Creek.
  39. 39. Grants Received in 2004  2004 – $5,000 The Watershed Assistance Small Grants Program, conducted in association with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The small grants program was administered by Rivers Alliance of Connecticut. Grant for public watershed education of Rooster River/Ash Creek watershed  RESULT – Created public watershed education road show with PowerPoint presentation and handouts, including information on stormwater runoff and what residents can do to prevent further pollution. Program was readapted for use at St. Ann’s School in Black Rock.
  40. 40. Grants Received in 2003  2003 – $2,000 NE Grassroots Environmental Fund to organize and participate in DEP hearings against the construction of a 50’ dock in the Ash Creek Tidal Estuary  RESULT – Precedent setting ruling by DEP to not only reduce size of dock, but to allow window of time during high tide when boat is allowed to access the dock
  41. 41. Some Memorable Moments… Bird Tours
  42. 42. 2004 Blue Heron Ball
  43. 43. Ganim Dock…
  44. 44. Ash Creek Art Fundraiser…
  45. 45. 2006 Blue Heron Ball…
  46. 46. 2006 Utility Bridge Fight
  47. 47. Utility Bridge Victory Party…
  48. 48. 2008 Project Limulus…
  49. 49. Ash Creek Clean Ups - Spring and Fall Since 2003…
  50. 50. ACCA Communications  e-Newsletter (sign up on our website)  Website www.ashcreekassoc.org  YouTube  FaceBook
  51. 51. Click here to sign up for Ash Creek e-Newsletter Ash Creek e-Newsletter
  52. 52. Ash Creek Website www.ashcreekassoc.org
  53. 53. Click here to go to Ash Creek YouTube videos Ash Creek YouTube Videos
  54. 54. Click here to become a fan Ash Creek FaceBook Page Ash Creek FaceBook Page
  55. 55. Key ACCA Presentations…  Ecohistory of Ash Creek  Ash Creek Master Plan It’s not too late to download the presentations in video or PDF format, see next two slides
  56. 56. Ecohistory of Ash Creek Video of presentation Ecohistory of Ash Creek – Part I & Part II
  57. 57. Ash Creek Master Plan 2012 86-page scientific study of Ash Creek – 2012 (Available for download: Ash Creek Tidal Estuary Master Plan )
  58. 58. Thank you
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