Researchers mapping the seafloor of Long Island Sound recently got a new tool to help them. It’s a retrofitted boat that operates out of University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus. It’s called the Research Vessel (R/V) Connecticut, and it has room for more researchers to collect more data.
Sylvain De Guise is an associate professor at UConn involved with the project. He says the idea to map the floor of Long Island Sound came after a 2004 $6 million settlement was reached between Connecticut and New York state agencies, utilities and the Cross-Sound Cable Company LLC.
The settlement was part of an agreement that included the removal and replacement of leaking utility cables that were laid by CL&P in 1969 across Long Island Sound.
“A few years ago, we finally got a steering committee together to see how we could best use those funds and we decided that a detailed mapping of the bottom of the Long Island Sound would be very useful for future management efforts.” Researchers from UConn, the University of New Haven and the U.S. Geological Survey will use the boat to spend a week collecting sediment from 90 sites on the bottom of the sound. They will send the data to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“The information we get from the mapping exercise allows us to understand and to make publicly available data on what are the most sensitive areas.”
Professor De Guise says that they’re three years into the program. He expects the settlement money to last them another three years, before they’ll have to look for more funding to continue with the project.
A previous version of this story stated that the settlement was awarded against Cross-Sound Cable Company LLC to Connecticut and New York and that the company’s cable system leaked fluid into the Long Island Sound. There has never been any leakage in the company’s cables nor any fine levied against the company.