Connecticut Association of Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commissions  
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Connecticut Association of Conservation & Inland Wetlands Commissions
39th Annual Meeting & Environmental Conference

Held Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sheraton Hartford South Hotel

100 Capital Boulevard
Rocky Hill, Connecticut 06067
Phone: (860) 257-6000


Keynote Speaker Panel (l-r): State Senator Ted M. Kennedy, Jr. (invited), State Representative James M. Albis, State Representative Mary Mushinsky


In response to your comments from the 2013-2015 meeting surveys, the CACIWC Annual Meeting Committee has selected a new conference facility to that will provide renovated banquet and workshop rooms, easily accessible space for displays viewing and networking, and delicious food served and prepared by their regional award winning chef.

For our 2016 Annual Meeting and Environmental Conference, CACIWC will be hosting a legislative regulatory panel during our conference luncheon.  This panel, will consist of key legislative leaders who will discuss expectations for the upcoming legislative session including the ongoing efforts to enact a state constitutional amendment designed to permanently protect state parks and forests.

Our current keynote speaker panel includes:

  • State Senator Ted M. Kennedy, Jr. (12th Senate District) Majority Whip, Connecticut General Assembly (CGA) and Co-Chair, Environmental Committee (invited)
  • State Representative James M. Albis (99th House District) Co-Chair, Environmental Committee; Chair, Speaker's Task Force on Shoreline Preservation
  • State Representative Mary Mushinsky (85th House District) Current member and former Chair, Environmental Committee; Co-Chair, Program Review and Investigations Committee

These keynote speakers will discuss how our member commissions can plan for more ecologically resilient communities, as we prepare for short- and long-term changes to Connecticut habitats that may come about from global climate change.

Our newly expanded annual conference will include four workshop tracks with topic on conservation biology & habitat management, legal and regulatory updates & issues, climate adaptation & water management, and resource conservation, planning & development. Individual workshops will focus on invasive plant and animal species, wetlands case law and regulation, vernal pool biology, conducting natural resource inventories, climate resiliency update, improving storm water management, promoting local recycling efforts, and promoting cluster housing as a conservation tool.

Our new conference venue will also host a revised layout of new and informative displays in an arrangement that will promote open discussions and networking opportunities among our members and other conference attendees.

Watch for additional conference news and information on this website. Please direct any questions on our annual conference to us at:


Session 1 9:30 - 10:30 AM

Session 2 10:45 - 11:45 AM

Session 3 2:00 - 3:30 PM

Track A. Conservation biology & habitat management Workshop A1 Workshop A2 Workshop A3
Track B. Legal and regulatory updates & issues Workshop B1 Workshop B2 Workshop B3
Track C. Climate adaptation & resiliency planning Workshop C1 Workshop C2 Workshop C3
Track D. Local environmental protection & planning Workshop D1 Workshop D2 Workshop D3


Session 1 (9:30-10:30 AM)

A1. “Connecticut Invasive Plant & Forest Disease Update"
Rose Hiskes, Diagnostician & Horticulturist; The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) &
Robert E. Marra, PhD, Associate Scientist, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES)

This workshop will provide you with updates on both current invasive plants in Connecticut along with information on blights, fungal species and other recently emerging diseases that endanger native trees and forest populations. Information provided in this workshop will help conservation commission members and staff learn to identify, control and report these invasive plants and emerging forest disease to help protect open space parcels in their towns.


B1. “Wetlands Exemptions; Survey of Local Wetlands Agencies”
Janet Brooks, Attorney at Law, LLC

This workshop will review the important rules and procedures for considering exemptions, while acting on wetlands applications, and appeals. Information from recent surveys of Connecticut wetlands agency regulations and practices will be used to illustrate the discussion. Attorney Brooks will draw upon her private practice experience and work with the Connecticut Attorney General's Office to present this review of the basic steps to ensuring that your inland wetlands commission is functioning within the law while protecting local wetlands and watercourses within your town. She will also utilize findings from recent Connecticut court cases to illustrate these important points.


C1. “The Benefits of Trees in Improving Urban Microclimates”
Christopher M. Donnelly, Urban Forestry Coordinator; State of Connecticut, Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP,) Division of Forestry

Recent CACIWC conferences have focused on at-risk communities along Connecticut's coastline & inland waterways and provided attendees with pertinent information on the impacts of climate change on the natural, built, and human environment in these areas. In this workshop, recent data and other information will be provided that outline the benefits of promoting urban trees and forests to help improve microclimates within, while increasing the ecological diversity and aesthetic appeal of, Connecticut municipalities.


D1. “How to Adopt a Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance in Your Town”
Liz Milwe, Co-author of the Ordinance and Member of the Westport Representative Town Meeting;, Westport, Connecticut

In 2008, Westport was the first community in Connecticut to adopt a ban on the use of plastic bags for retail checkout of purchased goods. Learn how the community was able to garner support of the ban from both the residents and the business community, ways to promote the use of reusable bags and tips for promoting compliance.

Session 2 (10:45-11:45 AM):

A2. “Native Plants to Attract Pollinators”
Kimberly A. Stoner, PhD; Department of Entomology, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES)

Many CACIWC members are aware of incidents of hive mortality and downward trends in the size of many of our native bee populations. Publicity regarding these trends has spurred a new interest in cultivating habitats to foster these pollinators, which are so essential to the survivability of all of our food crop species. This workshop will provide information on easy and effective ways to plant open space gardens, protect meadows and promote bee habitats and those of other Connecticut pollinators.


B2. “2016 Wetlands Law Update with Question & Answer Session”
David Wrinn, CT Attorney General’s Office; Janet Brooks, Attorney at Law, LLC; Mark Branse, Branse & Willis, LLC

This trio of wetlands attorneys has been brought back by again popular demand to keep you current with recent legislative changes and the latest state Supreme Court and Appellate Court cases. A large portion of this workshop will also include the question-and-answer session that you ask for each year!


C2. “NOAA Climate Change & Flood Frequency Data”
Edward Capone, Service Coordination Hydrologist; The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Service, Northeast River Forecast Center

The NOAA Northeast River Forecast Center has accumulated years of data on how long- and short-term climate trends affect flood frequency throughout the New England states. Mr. Capone and other staff of the center, work closely with partners at the federal, state and local agencies to assess challenging issues throughout the entire hydro logic spectrum from floods to drought. He will provide trend data and other information to help CACIWC members understand these dynamic issues and promote effective planning to improve resilience and climate adaptation within their towns.


D2. “Primary Stormwater Quality Practices for Difficult Sites: Alternatives to Detention Basins”
Sean Hayden, Soil Scientist; Northwest Conversation District

Stormwater detention ponds have long been used as best management practices for control of storm runoff and to help attenuate peak discharges. A major limitation of this approach is their use in difficult sites with limited space and other constraints. This workshop will provide attendees with alternative practices that are effective and viable for challenging sites.

Session 3 (2:00-3:30 PM):

A3. “2016 Gypsy Moth Outbreak and Predictions for 2017”
Kirby C. Stafford, III, PhD; State Entomologist & Chief Entomologist; The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES)

Many forests in Connecticut and neighboring states have experienced moderate to severe defoliation as a result of the 2016 gypsy moth outbreak. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), the plant pest regulatory agency for the State, conducted forest health surveys with DEEP foresters and other partners, to document this damage. Dr. Stafford will review these survey data and discuss the contributing factors that led to this outbreak and how CACIWC member commissions we can potentially mitigate the expected impact of some on our forest resources during 2017.


B3. “Conservation & Environmental Cluster Subdivisions”
Attorney Mark K. Branse, Branse & Willis, LLC

This workshop will provide background information on conservation and environmental subdivisions. It will examine their legislative history, regulatory authority, and the various approaches to their use in Connecticut. Attorney Mark Branse will emphasize how Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commissions can work more effectively with their local Planning & Zoning Commissions in promoting these valuable tools.


C3. “Vernal Pools & Monitoring Program Update”
Edward Pawlak, MS, Registered Soil Scientist; Certified Professional Wetland Scientist; Connecticut Ecosystems LLC

Most CACIWC members are aware of the value of vernal pool ecosystems and the need to protect them. This workshop will review their origin, identification, and describe their associated habitats. The workshop will also discuss the Connecticut Association of Wetlands Scientists (CAWS) vernal pool monitoring program. The workshop will provide information on initial data trends and discuss how CACIWC member commissions can recruit vernal pools within their town for inclusion in this important monitoring program.


D3. “Connecticut River and Local Watershed Protection”
Eileen Fielding, Executive Director, Farmington River Watershed Association &
Anne Hulick, Director, Connecticut Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund; Coordinator, Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut

This workshop will describe statewide efforts to protect key river watershed areas in Connecticut and emphasize the ecological value of these habitats. Workshop attendees will learn how town commissions can help maintain these areas, which are necessary to both preserve key ecosystems and protect current and future drinking water sources.


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Conference Schedule

(View displays from 8:30am – 3:45pm )

Registration & Breakfast
8:30 – 9:00 am

Welcome & Business Mtg.
9:00 – 9:30 am

Session 1 Workshops 
9:30 – 10:30 am

Break 1 
10:30 – 10:45 am

Session 2 Workshops 
10:45 – 11:45 am

Break 2 
11:45 – 12:00 noon

Lunch, Keynote Speaker
 12:00 – 1:30 pm

Break 3
 1:30 – 2:00 pm

Session 3 Workshops 
2:00 – 3:30 pm

Final display viewing
3:30 – 3:45 pm.

Conference ends 4:00 pm


For information on our Annual Meeting, please email us at:

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