Sen. Somers: New law will help “save eelgrass in Long Island Sound.”

June 29, 2023

For Immediate Release

Sen. Somers Applauds New Law Creating Group
to Develop Plan to Restore Eelgrass

Sen. Heather Somers today applauded the signing of a bill she introduced and co-sponsored which will create a working group to study strategies for restoring ecologically important eelgrass along the shoreline.

“Eelgrass is an important fish habitat that has declined markedly,” Sen. Somers said. “Eelgrass provides perfect bedding for tiny organisms and fish, but there are very few eelgrass beds left. We need to dedicate resources and study what Connecticut can do to bring it back.”

Sen. Somers, who has proposed the bill for the past two years, said places like Beebe Cove in Groton used to be full of eelgrass, but now the eelgrass is gone, and there needs to be a study of why and what can be done to restore it.

“Eelgrass needs to be more than maintained. It needs to be replaced,” Sen. Somers said. “We need to save eelgrass in Long Island Sound. The state also needs to keep water in the Sound clean so as to allow light to penetrate and get to the eelgrass.”

The new law will create a working group made up of members of conservation and municipal shellfish commissions, a marine biologist from The University of Connecticut at Avery Point, a student from the Marine Science Magnet School in Groton and Save the Sound’s Long Island Soundkeeper. The group will submit a report by Feb. 1, 2024 with recommended strategies and priority areas.

Eelgrass provides food, refuge, and a nursery ground for many commercially and recreationally important species, including fish and shellfish. Eelgrass also combats climate change by storing carbon in the soil, as well as reducing wave energy as waves roll into our coastlines.