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Sound Bites: EPA maps “blue carbon” stored waters from Maine to Long Island

Audubon Connecticut

Good morning. It’s called blue carbon — it’s found in salt marshes, seagrass and mangrove swamps. These ecosystems are really good at holding in carbon from the atmosphere (about 50 times more than land-based forests). If these ecosystems are destroyed, all that carbon gets released back into the atmosphere.

The Environmental Protection Agency released a map to identify more than 200,000 acres of coastal blue carbon from Maine to Long Island. New England coasts are believed to absorb over 7 trillion grams of blue carbon annually — the equivalent to taking close to 6 million cars off the road. 

Blue carbon stocks of eelgrass meadows and tidal marshes across New England coasts.
Blue carbon stocks of eelgrass meadows and tidal marshes across New England coasts.

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

New Yorkers 60 and older are encouraged to receive the RSV vaccine at local pharmacies. RSV is a cold-like respiratory virus that can cause older adults to develop pneumonia or become infected with bronchiolitis to the point of hospitalization, state health officials said in a report this week. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6,000-10,000 seniors die from RSV each year.

Connecticut, New York City and its suburbs have seen a steady decline in snow cover over the past 22 years. According to a study by Salem State University, hot spots like these are in the top 10% of global snow cover decline that include parts of Eastern Europe, Eastern Asia and Chile. The study cites increasing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change as the cause.

The South Fork Wind project completed installation of 13 foundations for wind turbines. The foundation will support the project's wind substation and 12 wind turbines expected to start installation later this summer. Developers Ørsted and Eversource said the project off the coast of Montauk is on track to become fully operational by the end of 2023.

West Nile virus continues to spread in mosquitos across Connecticut. Nine towns, including Fairfield, identified a total of 15 mosquitos carrying the virus. According to the CDC, there is no vaccine or medication to treat the virus, and 1-in-150 infected people develop a serious illness. Residents are recommended to use insect repellent, wear long sleeved shirts and stay indoors after dusk to prevent mosquito bites.

Glen Cove — one of two cities on Long Island — is at risk of flooding from rising sea levels due to climate change. According to a report conducted by GZA GeoEnvironmental, waterfront properties along Morris Avenue are most at risk of flooding by the year 2100. Long Island sea levels are expected to rise by six feet by then. Glen Cove will adopt the state’s climate pledge to address impacts of climate change to receive funding to prepare for the inevitable flood.

An Old Saybrook business owner settled a lawsuit against the town for almost $250,000. In 2019, the business owner crashed his truck on I-95 when a police officer responded to the scene. The officer ordered him to get on the ground, but he refused, after which the officer ordered his dog to attack him. The business owner sued the town in 2021 claiming the officer engaged in an unreasonable use of force.

One Medical, Amazon’s subscription-based health care, opened its first Connecticut location in Darien. Subscribers to One Medical can pay a $199 annual fee to eliminate patient co-pay and receive access to health records, prescription refills and deliveries along with quick in-person or remote appointments. Hartford Healthcare is partneringwith Amazon to provide One Medical subscribers further access to providers, outpatient facilities and hospitals.

A judge has ordered the suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer to do a cheek swab for DNA. Rex Heuermann's lawyers oppose the order, citing a lack of probable cause for their client committing the three murders. Prosecutors want the swab in order to match DNA found on pizza crust and a napkin found in his Manhattan office that may link him to the case.

Connecticut residents may face less reliable and higher rates for electricity. United Illuminating said if the state Public Utility Regulatory Authority approves a proposed substandard rate increase, borrowing costs would also likely increase. The company warns the rate hike may also result in employee layoffs to cut costs.

New Haven’s Civilian Review Board wants to conduct investigations into alleged police misconduct. This was introduced through ordinance clarification proposed during a Board of Alders meeting. The review board previously could only investigate cases once internal affairs reached a conclusion. If ordinance changes are accepted, the board would be able to investigate policing even if no civilian complaints were submitted.

A young cow was on the loose in Trumbull on Monday! Trumbull police responded to a call of a cow roaming on roads only to find it fenced in a nearby home. The cow was purchased from a local live animal auction but later broke out of the owner's small barn. Animal control returned the cow to the owner where they were told the cow was being sent to the slaughterhouse on Tuesday.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.