The state of Connecticut has a lofty goal: protect 21 percent of our land from development by the year 2023. But an environmental watch-dog group says the state isn’t doing a thorough job of tracking how much has been preserved.
The state's records show that so far 500,000 acres have been preserved. But Karl Wagener of the Council on Environmental Quality said much more has been protected, as many as tens of thousands of acres more.
“We really don’t know how much land has been conserved in Connecticut and we don’t know the full extent of where it is and what kind of land it is and what it’s good for. And without that information it's impossible to come up with a clear strategy for protecting land”
Wagener says there’s no on-going mechanism that requires land trusts or nonprofits or municipalities to report acreage that they protect if they don’t receive state funds. Dennis Schain of the Department of Environmental Protection agrees there’s a gap in the state’s information. Schain says for five years the D.E.P. has been scouring municipal land records to update its numbers. But he says because of limited staffing the agency is half-way through the research. The D.E.P.’s goal is to have a searchable database, with maps.