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Connecticut Association of Conservation & Inland Wetlands Commissions
43rd Annual Meeting & Environmental Conference

“Promoting Conservation & Preserving Habitats During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

Was held Saturday, December 5, 2020
(A Virtual Conference)

Thank you to our sponsors and presenters


The CACIWC 2020 43rd Annual Meeting and Environmental Conference was held Saturday, December 5, 2020.  Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic our annual meeting was presented in the form of a virtual conference. 

Two specialty workshop tracks for Conservation Commission and Inland Wetlands Agency commissioners and their staff will follow the keynote address.  These workshops will provide information on invasive plants, a review of major wetlands cases in Connecticut, best approaches to wetlands regulation during the pandemic and understanding the State water plan.


Jason C. White, PhD,
Director, Connecticut Agricultural
Experiment Station

2020 CACIWC Keynote Presentation

Putting Science to Work for Society: Helping to Protect Connecticut’s Environment During the Pandemic

A keynote presentation by Jason C. White, PhD, Director, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station



The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) was established in 1875 and is the oldest agricultural experiment station in the United States. The institute is a relatively small but separate agency of the State of Connecticut.  While the primary mission of the CAES is research, educational and outreach programs are also an important function of the agency.  These programs help promote the use of new research findings to solve emerging agricultural, public health and environmental problems in Connecticut.

The identification and preservation of local woodlands and other important habitats are major goals of many municipal commissions.  Unfortunately, these tracts are becoming increasingly susceptible to a range of threats including poorly regulated development, climate change impacts and newly emerging destructive invasive insects including the Asian longhorned beetle, Emerald ash borer, and Spotted lanternfly. 

During his keynote presentation Dr. White will review the many environmental research programs being conducted by the CAES to protect local habitats, including tracking invasive insect pests along with efforts to identify and newly emerging plant diseases.  Use of Integrated Pest Management to control insect and plant diseases with minimum use of pesticides will be discussed.  He will describe CAES efforts that contribute to public health including surveillance of diseases transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes including Lyme disease, human babesiosis, West Nile disease and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.  He will also discuss research into novel and sustainable approaches to increase agricultural productivity to minimize food insecurity.

Recent CAES efforts to study an alternative surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 virus activity, in conjunction with Yale University School of Public Health, will be described.  Dr. White will also discuss how Connecticut conservation commissions can contribute to important environmental research even during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.



Jason C. White, PhD Biography
Dr. Jason White is the Director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), the oldest Agricultural Experiment Station in the country.  In addition to managing the agency budget of $12.5 million and approximately 100 scientific staff, Dr. White oversees a research program of $5.1 million in competitive funding/research.  He also serves as the Managing Editor for the International Journal of Phytoremediation and sits on the editorial boards of Environmental Pollution and NanoImpact as well as the Editorial Advisory Boards of Environmental Science & Technology and Environmental Science & Technology Letters.  Dr. White is the Immediate Past President of the International Phytotechnology Society.  His primary research program focuses food safety and security, with specific interests on the impact of nanomaterials on agricultural plants and on the use of nanotechnology to sustainably increase food production and promote global food security.  Dr. White received his Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology from Cornell University in 1997 and has secondary appointments at the Harvard University TH Chan School of Public Health, the University of Texas-El Paso, the University of Massachusetts, and Post University.  He has published approximately 240 scientific papers that have been cited 11,991 times, as well as authoring eight book chapters.  

Jason lives in Prospect, Connecticut with his wife Michelle and six children.



(Two Tracks, Three Sessions, Five Workshops):


Session 1
10:15-11:25 AM

Session 2
11:30 AM-12:40 PM

Session 3
12:45-1:00 PM

Track A. For our Connecticut Conservation Commissions

Workshop A1
Updates from the CIPWG

Workshop A2
Understanding CT State Water Plan

Workshop A3
Ecotype Plants-Why the Local Seed Matters and What Conservation Measures Can Help

Track B. For our Connecticut Inland Wetlands and Watercourse

Workshop B1
Wetlands Law-The Decade in Review

Workshop B2
2020 Wetlands Law & Regulations Update with Q&A



Workshop Descriptions


Session 1 (10:15–11:25 am):

A1. “Updates from the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG)”

Charlotte Pyle, PhD, Co-chair, Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG)

Rose Hiskes, MS, Co-chair, CIPWG & diagnostician with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES)  

Emmett Varricchio, Co-chair, CIPWG

Bryan Connolly, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology, Eastern Connecticut State University   and CIPWG member

Joshua Tracy, Invasive Species Management Technician and CIPWG member


In 1997, the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG) formed as an ad hoc consortium of individuals hailing from environmental organizations, educational institutions, municipal and state agencies, NGOs, the green industry, garden clubs and the general public. Our mission is to promote awareness of invasive plants and the use of native or non-invasive ornamental alternatives. The working group collaborates and shares information on the presence, distribution, ecological impacts, and management of invasive plants affecting Connecticut and the region.  CIPWG offers technical advice to the State Invasive Plants Council and posts Council's information on the CIPWG website.  Although CIPWG's website is housed at UConn, CIPWG is not an arm of UConn.  

These updates will involve short presentations by five CIPWG members:  Why keep working on invasive plants? (Charlotte Pyle); Porcelainberry update (Rose Hiskes); New invaders on the horizon (Bryan Connolly); Drones for mapping invasive plant infestations (Joshua Tracy); CIPWG's invasive plant management calendar (Emmett Varricchio); and New projects for CIPWG's Native Alternatives Subcommittee (Pyle).



B1. “Wetlands Law – The Decade in Review”

Janet Brooks, Attorney at Law, LLC

with Darcy Winther, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)

As we end the second decade of the 21st century, we will compare what occurred in the second decade with what happened in the first decade. We will also look at changes in the statute, regulations and developments in the case law.  Agency permit denials overturned by the courts due to lack of substantial evidence, thorny exemptions – all the greatest hits of the 21st century!



Session 2 (11:30 am–12:40 pm):


A2.Understanding Connecticut’s State Water Plan”

Denise Savageau, Environmental Professional

Louis Rosado Burch, Connecticut Program Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE)


In 2019 the Connecticut General Assembly adopted the State Water Plan that was prepared by the Water Planning Council.   This workshop will provide an overview of the Plan and our state’s water resources, challenges for maintaining water quantity and quality in a changing climate, how the Plan is intended to protect and manage these critical resources including during periods of drought, and steps being taken now to implement the Plan.  Included will be a discussion of the role of municipalities, including Conservation and Inland Wetland Commissions, in implementation of the Plan.  



B2. “2020 Wetlands Law & Regulations Update with Question & Answer Session”

Mark Branse, Halloran & Sage, LLP

Janet Brooks, Attorney at Law, LLC

with Darcy Winther, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)


These wetlands attorneys has been brought back again by popular demand to keep you current with the law.  Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic there are not legal cases from this year to review.  Are you enjoying conducting virtual meetings as much as we enjoy attending them?  Let’s discuss!  Come ready to pose questions as you try to stump the attorneys!




Session 3 (12:45–1:00 pm):


A3. “Ecotype Plants-Why the Local Seed Matters and What Conservation Measures Can Help”

Darryl Newman, Co-Owner Planters' Choice Nursery



Darryl Newman of Planters' Choice Nursery will discuss why the Ecotype Project was created by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (CT NOFA) and their partners and how that relates to the importance of addressing a critical shortage of habitat and food for pollinators, which is caused by the disconnecting of pollinator corridors through development. A particular focus will be made on how initiatives of different scales can help move this important endeavor forward.


Darryl Newman co-owns Planters' Choice alongside his father Chuck, the nursery's founder. He is a University of Maryland graduate with a degree in Landscape Management. He worked as a Project Manager for prominent landscape design/build firms in the Washington DC area before returning to Planters’ Choice in 2004. Darryl is a Past President of the Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association and the 2019 Award of Merit Winner. Being blessed with an incredibly gifted and supportive staff who allows him enough time, he has given presentations for the New York Botanical Garden, UCONN, Naugatuck Valley Community College, University of Maryland, CTASLA, CT Northeast Organic Farming Association, the Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association, the Connecticut Groundskeepers Association, the Connecticut Tree Protective Association, the Connecticut Urban Forest Council, the Connecticut Tree Wardens Association, the Connecticut Environmental Council, the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group and the Ecological Landscape Alliance.






Schedule for the Day:

8:45–9:00 am
Welcome & CACIWC Business Meeting

9:00–10:10 am
Keynote Speaker & Discussion

10:10– 10:15 am
Break 1

10:15–11:25 am
Session 1 workshops

11:25– 11:30 am
Break 2

11:30–12:40 am
Session 2 workshops

12:40– 12:45 pm
Break 3

12:45–1:00 pm
Session 3 workshop

1:00 am
Conference ends



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


View Our Annual Report


Thank you to our Sponsors

Planters Choice

Patron Sponsor

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Great Horned Owl Sponsor

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Ernst Seeds

Barred Owl Sponsor

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CT Conservation Districts

Barred Owl Sponsor

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Screech Owl Sponsors

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