"A Unique Program To Assist in Environmentally Sound Decision-Making"  
 
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History:

The Environmental Review Team, also known as the ERT, has been in existence since 1969, this is our 38th year of service.The ERT is a group of environmental professionals drawn together from a variety of federal, state, regional and local agencies to form a multi-disciplinary environmental study team to assist municipalities in the review of sites proposed for development or to provide natural resource inventories for planning purposes.The ERT works under the guidance of the Connecticut Resource Conservation and Development Areas (RC&D's). The RC&D's are a federal and state sponsored program for the efficient and beneficial use of Connecticut's natural resources.The Eastern CT RC&D and ERT serves an 86 town area, and the King's Mark RC&D and ERT serves an 83 town region in western Connecticut. Federal, state and local agencies provide their professionals' time and expertise to the ERT as a public service activity so that the ERT can serve all towns free of charge. The ERT assists towns in meeting the challenge by performing environmental reviews of sites proposed for major land use activities or to provide natural resource inventories to be used for land acquisition, master planning, or anticipation of future development pressures. The ERT has expertise and professional competence in addressing a wide array of environmental, planning and development-related issues. The program is very adaptable and flexible, and strives for excellence, objectivity and accuracy.

Timeline:

  • 1967   The Eastern Connecticut Resource Conservation Development Area is established. (RC&D)

  • 1968   The idea for the ERT and multidisciplinary approach first suggested by Robert C. Young, Director of the Windham Regional Planning Agency. (RPA)

  • 1969-1973   The ERT grew out of discussions between Young, Richard Erickson, Executive Director of the Southeastern CT RPA, William Lucas, Coordinator of the Eastern RC&D Area, and Hugo Thomas, then Assistant Professor of Geology at UCONN.  The ERT system was developed by the Eastern CT RC&D Area Land and Water Resources Committee to respond to the overwhelming number of residential subdivisions that were being approved without adequate consideration of the natural resources.  Assistance would be given to towns who lacked adequate staff to perform technical reviews and environmental impacts.  The men rotated the job of coordinating the reviews between themselves.  Cooperation from state, federal, and local agencies in providing Team members.  No outside funding requested.

  • 1973   A full time coordinator was needed.  Barbara Hermann was the first coordinator and the office was located at the Southeastern CT RPA office in Norwich.  The coordinator and administrative costs were funded by the New England Regional Commission through a demonstration grant to the Eastern CT Development Council.

  • 1974   Funding received from the U.S. Economic Development Administration through a technical assistance grant to the Eastern CT Development Council.

  • 1975   Linda Simkanin is hired to replace Barbara Hermann as ERT Coordinator.  The King's Mark Resource Conservation and Development Area is established in western CT.  Between 1974-1976 Carol Youell acts as ERT Coordinator as well as performing other duties for the King's Mark RC&D.  Funding provided by an Innovative Projects grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Housing and Community Development Act.

  • 1977   Intense lobbying effort for state legislature to secure funds in the DEP budget.  $60,000 for two ERT's to operate for one year.  Jean Shelburne hired as coordinator to replace Linda Simkanin.  Richard Lynn hired as first King's Mark Coordinator, the office based in Warren.

  • 1978   Moses Taylor becomes the RC&D coordinator for Eastern CT and King's Mark RC&D Areas.

  • 1977-1982   Yearly funding remained at $60,000 for the two ERT's.

  • 1980   RC&D Area's enlarged.

  • 1982-1983   Funding increased to $66,000 for the two ERT's.

  • 1983   Eastern CT ERT office moves to the Northeast RPA office in Brooklyn.  Funding increased to $85,000 for the two ERT's.  RC&D Area's enlarged to the present sizes.  86 towns in Eastern and 83 towns in King's Mark Area.

  • 1985   Elaine Sych hired as the Eastern CT ERT Coordinator to replace Jeanne Shelburne.  Keanne Callahan hired as the King's Mark coordinator to replace Richard Lynn.  The King's Mark ERT office moves to Wallingford.

  • 1986-1987   Increase in funding, $94,100 for the two ERT's.

  • 1987-1988   Increase in funding, $97,900 for the two ERT's.   Nancy Ferlow is hired to replace Keanne Callahan as the King's Mark Coordinator.  The busiest years ever for ERT requests.  (70+ requests for Eastern CT)

  • 1988   The Eastern CT ERT office moves to Haddam, to the UCONN Cooperative Extension System Building.

  • 1988-1991   Funding increased to $102,600 for the two ERT's. 

  • 1990   Suzanne Ferrarotti is hired to replace Nancy Ferlow as the King's Mark ERT Coordinator.  Barbara Wallace becomes the RC&D Coordinator for King's Mark RC&D.

  • 1991   The Governor’s proposed budget for 1992 eliminates ERT funding except for $1000 DEP line item.   Intensive work begins on the passage of P.A. 92-235 (section 4) "The Fee Bill" to fund the ERT program.  Agreements with the Council on Soil and Water, the 8 Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the RC&D Councils limit the ERT portion to the $50,000 until a total of $227,000 (annually) is reached, the excess funds are then distributed as follows: 47% to the SWCD's, 37% to the ERT program, and 16% to the Council on Soil and Water.  Suzanne Ferrarotti leaves the position of King's Mark ERT Coordinator, position is left vacant. 

  • 1992   Mark Cummings replaces Barbara Wallace as King's Mark RC&D Coordinator.  King's Mark RC&D asks that the Eastern CT ERT Coordinator assume the role of King's Mark ERT Coordinator making the program statewide under one coordinator with the costs to be shared by both RC&D Councils.    The Fee Bill goes into effect.  The costs for the program will be divided between Eastern and King's Mark but Eastern will be in charge of the program administration.

  • 1993-1998   Funding $1,000 from DEP and $50,000 from Fee Bill.    

  • 1998   Amendment to the Fee Bill adds a penalty for non-compliance.  Towns will lose $500 per quarter of non-compliance from their annual Mashantucket – Pequot grant money. 

  • 2002   Liz Rogers replaces Moses Taylor as Eastern RC&D Coordinator.

  • 2003   Amendment to the Fee Bill.  Fee raised to $20 from $10.

  • 2004   Amendment to the Fee Bill.  Fee raised to $30 and penalty raised to provide additional funding for DEP Floodplain Hazard Mitigation Management Account.

  • 2005   Amanda Fargo-Johnson hired as the ERT program assistant.  New website created, www.ctert.org.  First ERT report goes on-line.

Funding:

The ERT in the early years was funded by various federal grants until 1977. From 1977 until 1990 money was provided from the State through a line item in the budget of the Department of Environmental Protection. In 1991 the $103,000 provided for the ERT Program was cut to $1000. For two years money was collected from towns and savings were used to run the ERT. The program was consolidated in 1992 and one coordinator and an assistant now serve the entire state. The RC&D Councils may one day return to the two coordinator system as the work load and funding allow. In July 1992 P.A. 92-235, the "Fee Bill", was approved in the state legislature. This was the end result of a two year effort to secure stable funding. A survey conducted by the Eastern CT RC&D Area concluded that many towns felt that this was the fairest way to pay for the program. Fees were collected for land use permits at the local level and this money was deposited in the DEP Conservation Fund. The ERT program was one of four programs funded through these monies. Since 2009 the “Fee Bill” monies have been re-directed to the General Fund. We now have to ask the state legislature to include funding as a line item in the DEEP budget. Currently the program is partially funded through a line item that is shared with the conservation districts and the council on soil and water. The funds help to pay for a full time coordinator, a part time assistant, office space, equipment, and the costs of field review and report preparation.