Water quality, open space top environmental concerns in Trumbull

Glenn Wargo of the Trumbull Parks Department cleans up after pruning dozens of dogwood shrubs in Twin Brooks Park in Trumbull, Conn. April 5, 2017.

Glenn Wargo of the Trumbull Parks Department cleans up after pruning dozens of dogwood shrubs in Twin Brooks Park in Trumbull, Conn. April 5, 2017.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

TRUMBULL — Water quality and open space topped the list of environmental issues of peak interest to people who live and work in Trumbull. That’s according to early results of a recent survey done by the Trumbull Conservation Commission and Sustainable Trumbull.

The survey, which closed April 16, asked how residents felt on a variety of Trumbull-centric environmental and sustainability issues. Conservation commissioner Sara Sterling said about 450 people responded to the questionnaire and, of those, roughly 80 percent said protection of natural resources should be one of the town’s top priorities, particularly in the areas of water quality and preserving open space.

“More than three-quarters of the survey takers said that ‘maintaining the trees and green spaces around town’ is important,” Sterling said in a written statement. “Additionally, more than three-quarters of respondents felt it is important to replace trees that come down and protect the town’s watercourses with the appropriate buffers. This information provides the data needed to prioritize what can’t be replaced once it’s gone.”

Figuring out what to prioritize was one of the key goals of the survey said Sterling and Mary Ellen Lemay, chair of the Trumbull Conservation Commission, when the survey launched. Both the commission and Sustainable Trumbull — a citizen-led group focused on making Trumbull more fiscally, socially, and environmentally sustainable — are staffed by volunteers, so it’s important to know which issues are the most important ones to focus time and energy on.

Residents also talked about which environmental issues they most wanted to address in their own lives.

“More than half want to remove (invasive plants) and plant more native and pollinator-friendly plants on your own property,” Sterling’s statement read. “And more than half want to learn more about the parks and trails we have in town. More usage and more interest in these spaces is more support for the town to protect and grow them.”

Information gathered from the survey will be shared with town department and commissions over the next few months, and will be used for recommendations and public outreach.