FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 3, 2017
Long Island Soundkeeper Bill Lucey hits the water in the newly-christened Terry Backer
New Haven, Conn. – Early this afternoon, the new Long Island Soundkeeper hit the water.
Save the Sound has put the new Soundkeeper on the water in anticipation of its upcoming merger with Soundkeeper, Inc. Long Island Sound had been without its iconic on-the-water watchdog since Soundkeeper, Inc. co-founder Terry Backer passed away in late 2015.
Bill Lucey, a native of Wilton, Conn., has taken up the role. At a press conference at Brewers Stratford Marina on what would have been Backer’s 63rd birthday, the baton was formally passed to Lucey by Sound advocates, legislators, members of the Waterkeeper Alliance, and Backer’s family. Lucey’s patrol boat, a 21-foot Mako donated by Micah Tucker, was christened the Terry Backer in honor of the Sound’s longtime guardian.
Lucey is a fish and wildlife biologist, a former commercial fisherman, and an experienced advocate. After three decades of conservation work across North America, he decided the time was right to bring his expertise back home to benefit Long Island Sound.
“This body of water is in my blood,” Lucey said. “I’m glad to be back on the Sound and humbled to be entrusted with safeguarding it. Soon I’ll start patrols of its shores, and I look forward to meeting the fishermen and oystermen who depend on Long Island Sound for their livelihoods and the many folks who love exploring its beaches, islands, and bays. Then when the weather cools I’ll be in Hartford speaking for the Sound and the people who love it. There’s a lot to do and I can’t wait to get cracking.”
“We’re thrilled to welcome Bill back to Long Island Sound,” said Curt Johnson, executive director of Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound. “He has the passion, experience, and technical know-how to continue Terry’s legacy as the Sound’s watchdog and voice. Bill’s presence on the water will bring a new dimension to Save the Sound’s longtime mission of protecting and restoring the Sound’s waters and wildlife.”
In addition to regular patrols, the Soundkeeper will act as an advocate, organizer, and resource. Lucey is backed up by Save the Sound’s water quality team, policy experts, communications staff, and environmental attorneys who enforce the Clean Water Act. Bill will be employed by a nonprofit LLC owned and controlled by CFE/Save the Sound’s Board of Directors.
Lucey’s previous experience has prepared him for this role. He led a coalition to successfully contest a timber sale on tribal lands in Alaska, lobbied federal agencies in D.C., and coordinated the writing and passage of a 2017 invasive species bill in Hawaii. Most recently, he served as project manager for the Kauai Invasive Species Committee at the Research Corporation University of Hawaii.
His hire and the patrol boat’s launch were met with praise from regional leaders and clean water champions.
“Bill Lucey will be an ardent advocate like his predecessor Terry Backer for the Long Island Sound—one of Connecticut’s most precious resources. I look forward to working with Bill in our shared commitment to environmental quality and economic viability of the Sound,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal.
“Bill is bringing the knowledge and expertise he gained working across North America back home with him to Long Island Sound, and we’re so excited to have him,” said Senator Chris Murphy. “I’m looking forward to working closely with Bill to honor Terry’s legacy and keep Long Island Sound the vibrant landmark that it is for generations to come.”
“An economic engine and recreational haven, the Long Island Sound is one of Connecticut’s greatest treasures, and the Soundkeeper plays a critical role in ensuring the Sound’s continued health and vitality. I am glad to welcome Bill Lucey to this new post and look forward to working with him,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3). “As most of you know, Bill’s predecessor Terry Backer was larger than life. He was a Merchant Marine with the Coast Guard, a lobsterman, and of course, Stratford’s representative in the Connecticut House of Representatives. As Soundkeeper, he fought for the Long Island Sound like nobody else. They are big shoes to fill, but I am confident Bill is up to the challenge.”
Learn more about the Soundkeeper at https://www.savethesound.org/soundkeeper.