A great egret nesting. (Photo by Seeley Hubbard/contributed photo)
Connecticut is set to approve a $100,000 state grant to the Norwalk Land Trust to clean up contamination on Hoyt Island, preserving the three-acre tract as a sanctuary for migrating birds and other wildlife.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff announced the award, saying: “This investment by the state will for years to come . . . allow indigenous wildlife and vegetation to exist untouched.”
A 2008 fire that destroyed a caretaker cottage on the island left the contaminants. NLT president Seeley Hubbard said removing the toxic material “will allow us to restore the environment and establish a preserve for migratory birds.”
Environmentalists say encouraging native plants creates a lush natural site for osprey, herons and egrets, a location for nesting, foraging, migration and protection from predators.
In addition the island is a habitat for the northern diamondback terrapin, designated by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection as a species of special concern.
Hoyt Island is one of 27 so-called Norwalk Islands in Long Island Sound and lies 500 yards offshore near a saltwater inlet called Village Creek.
The late Countess Eleanor Czapski (1901-1982), an environmentalist, longtime Wilson Point resident and a member of the Guggenheim family, deeded the island to the nonprofit land trust in 1979.
Two years ago the NLT recruited a band of volunteers to remove many of the invasive plants on the island, much of it a shrub called winged euonymus that reaches 12-feet in height and chokes out native vegetation.