Message from the Bureau Chief
Celebrating 150 Years of Natural Resource Management in Connecticut!
The history of modern fisheries, wildlife and forestry management in Connecticut can be traced back to a few short words in the Journal of the Senate of the State of Connecticut May Session, 1866: “A resolution was introduced, raising a Joint Select Committee of one Senator and eight Representatives upon the subject of fisheries. Passed.” Within a year, a report was issued and laws were passed mandating that “The governor shall appoint three commissioners…whose duties shall be to make complaints of all violations of the acts relating to fisheries…to consider the subject of the introduction, protection and culture of fish in our waters, to cooperate with fish commissioners of other states, and to make report of such fact and suggestions as may be material to the legislature. Such commissioners shall receive for their services the sum of three dollars per day.” With the passage of this law, the Commissioners set upon the task of compiling technical information on Connecticut’s fisheries and the era of science-based natural resource management took its first small steps. To be sure, Connecticut’s fish, wildlife and forest resources have been actively managed for as long as people have inhabited these lands. However, the formal creation of the Fisheries Commission in 1866 transitioned us into a new era that recognized the value of natural resources to our economy and overall well-being and recognized the need for science based information to guide conservation and management. Subsequently, Game (Wildlife) was added to the equation in 1895 to create the Board of Fisheries and Game and the first State Forest land was acquired in 1903.
During 2016 we will host a number of events to celebrate our 150th anniversary, recognize accomplishments, honor our partners, and, most important of all, take stock of our natural resource heritage and talk about its future in Connecticut. Please watch for announcements of these events on our website (www.ct.gov/deep) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CTFishAndWildlife).
In last year’s message I asked anglers and hunters to take advantage of every opportunity to get potential sportsmen into the field and on the water. What better way to celebrate our 150th anniversary than by doing something to ensure that our legacy persists. Sportsmen continue to be the informed constituency that provides much of the political will and financial backbone to conserve our resources and to protect fishing and hunting access. Simply put, we need to add to our ranks if we are to guarantee that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in the manner in which we have been blessed. Below are two charts you’ve seen before. One chart is the number of licensed sportspersons in our state and the other is the number of students in our Aquatic Resources Education (CARE) and Conservation Education/Firearms Safety (CE/FS) programs. DEEP will continue to do everything we can to recruit and educate young anglers and hunters, but it will take all of us making a similar commitment in our personal lives to ensure that this legacy continues to grow and prosper over the next 150 years. Together we can make a difference!
Thank you and best wishes for a great year of hunting and fishing in Connecticut.
William A. Hyatt
Chief, Bureau of Natural Resources