WATERSHED ASSISTANCE SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM
Round One Projects
01-04 A Advocates for a Maromas Plan, sponsored by the Connecticut River Watershed Council. $5,000 was awarded. A start-up group to protect the habitat and water resources in the 3,000-acre Maromas area of Middletown. The focus of the project was the creation and promulgation of a formal plan to protect this unspoiled tract. That work was done with the help of planning consultant Erin O’Hare of Guilford. The goal was to achieve conservation protections for as much of the open space as possible in order to limit NPS pollution and protect water quality and habitat. The proposed plan was submitted to AMP for approval. Phase II will be implementation of the plan. The group also received a matching grant from New England Grassroots Foundation.
01-04 B Bantam River Watershed Association. A start-up group to protect the Bantam River Watershed in Litchfield County. $7,000 awarded. Group, originally led by Betsy Glassman, now has its 501 (c) (3) designation, and a ten-person board of directors; its president is Dan Sherr, and Ms. Glassman is executive director. There are 36 members. Group has formed a coalition with the Washington Environmental Council to study the Bantam-Shepaug Watershed. Group also has cooperative relationships with local land trusts, the Borough of Bantam, the Bantam Lake Protective Association, the Housatonic Valley Association and others. Work products included a profile of the watershed; an organizational brochure used in its membership drive; and a powerpoint presentation.
01-04 C Citizens for Responsible Growth. $3,350 awarded. A new nonprofit group interested in education and public involvement concerning protection for the Fenton River watershed in Storrs. In its first year, the group developed a website, brochure, and newsletter. It sponsored a talk by UConn’s Dr. Robert Thorson, Professor of Geology and Geophysics, entitled “The Fenton River Watershed: A Citizen’s Primer” (about 30 people attended). It also co-sponsored with the Naubesatuck Watershed Council two rapid biotic assessments led by Michael Beauchene of the CT DEP. The group submitted written comments to the DEP on the 303(d) list of impaired waters and with respect to the Phase II General Permit. Also submitted written comments on the EIE for UConn’s Graduate Student Housing and Storrs Downtown project. CFRG members are on a number of conservation committees, including the Mansfield committee for the Plan of Conservation and Development. Representative spoke at the New England Grassroots Foundation conference in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, CFRG was unable to fully complete this project due to their science expert leaving the region and the group’s leader falling ill. The group received partial funding for the work that was completed.
01-04 D Housatonic Valley Association. For water-assessment equipment and preliminary meetings related to protection of the Ten-Mile River Watershed, awarded $2,534. The group purchased equipment, a drawing board digitizer. The equipment is used primarily for digitizing maps of protected parcels within the watershed. They have entered data gathered by volunteers into GIS. Ruth Malins presented an oral report and maps of tributary watersheds to CT DEP and Rivers Alliance early in 2004 HVA has gathered and organized data on water quality and biological conditions in the Wassaic Creek and Webatuck Creek. Maps and data are available for review. The final written report gives an overview of the watershed, a review of problems and a list of recommendations relating to each creek; a summary of issues of concern in the watershed; a summary of agencies and organizations active in the watershed; a list of meetings held; a future action plan; and a map of the 10-Mile River Watershed.
01-04 E Mattabesset River Watershed Association. Funding provided for staff support to help implement the community-based Management Plan for the Mattabesset River Watershed. Awarded $7,932. The watershed, in Central Connecticut, includes 10 towns. The group hired Paul Woodworth of the Middlesex County Soil & Water Conservation District, and Matt Merrill. Now Susan Seiler has replaced Paul. Activities included development of web page, organization of Rivers Weeks and participation in Cromwell Riverport Festival and Berlin Fair, membership building, signage (including “no wake” zone on lower Mattabesset), newsletter, meetings with selectmen, work with municipalities on road sanding practices (an excellent idea), and wood duck nest-box maintenance. Members voted to expand organization to include the Coginchaug River basin, and in October 2003 group led a much needed cleanup of a stretch of this river.
01-04 F Nature Center for Environmental Activities. For equipment for water-quality monitoring and education in the Indian River watershed in Norwalk and Westport, awarded $2,500. Note, the organizing group is called Harbor Watch and its laboratory is state certified. Equipment purchased included conductivity meter, dissolved-oxygen probes, submersible stirrer, etc. They have established eight testing stations being monitored with supervision by high schools in Norwalk and Westport. The group has issued an 11-page preliminary report on findings. Findings included elevated fecal coliform bacteria counts at all eight sites, with indications of raw sewage at one site; several sites with elevated iron (from rusting pipes) and the associated slime-forming bacterium (produces orange gel); sites with excessive nutrient loading; inadequate dissolved oxygen at two sites in summer readings, associated with low flows; and much trash at some sites. Further research and clean up is planned. Press coverage has been good, and stakeholder involvement has been diverse.
01-04 G Naugatuck River Watershed Association & Naugatuck Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Requested funding for a river steward, $7,500 awarded. The new steward is Robette Schmit, who is hardworking and dedicated. She is monitoring river projects, including a by-pass dam and fish ladder and a possible dam removal in Torrington. She is also working on mapping, re-establishing a rapid bioassessment program, and fundraising.
01-04 H Northern CT Land Trust & Scantic River Watershed Association, requested funding to revive and enhance the association. Group has received 501 (c ) (3) designation. Watershed committee meets regularly. The group is working with John Monroe of the US Parks Service for one year to establish solid organizational basis. The Association has focused the Land Trust on river buffer issues, with the result that the Land Trust has purchased 17 acres on the Scantic River, and the acquisition of another 30 acres is pending. The group developed stationary and stickers, a brochure and an excellent CD promoting the beauty and need for protection of their river and watershed. They are holding community based meetings to attract members, and are planning to produce a river guide.
01-04 I Norwalk River Watershed Association. Requested media and office equipment to support public education and public involvement. Awarded $1,504. Equipment was purchased. This group is active and effective.
01-04 J Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition (PRWC). Received support for multi-year, watershed-wide hydrological assessment in the Woodbury-Southbury area. $5,000 awarded. Summer interns worked with volunteers to map fisheries habitats throughout the watershed in support of Cornell University’s quantitative instream habitat model (MesoHABSIM). PRWC and the US Geological Survey have conducted GIS research on the watershed (water characteristics, plus land use), and are currently working on a plan and budget (including funding) for this major project. WASGP funding was used specifically for equipment and USGS research.
01-04 K Quinnipiac River Watershed Association, in affiliation with the Quinnipiac River Watershed Partnership, received support for coalition building and capacity building, $3,000 awarded. Other grants funding was also obtained for facilitation of efforts to coordinate or otherwise improve the working relationship between the Association and Partnership. Facilitator met with organization leaders, separately and together, and directors have also held follow-up meetings. The process was successful in the sense that it provided lessons on the pros and cons of introducing a partnership into a watershed where river advocates are interested in being the lead or sole watershed organization. There are good people and good environmentalists in both organizations, who have tried to negotiate a solution. Rivers Alliance staff and directors were asked for and did provide advice. Additional grant funds were raised to facilitate a merger but this venture failed in a vote of the Board of Directors of the Association. Both groups are still operating independently.
01-04 L Salmon Brook Watershed Association. A start-up in the Granby area, awarded $5,000. Group has over 30 members, has received its 501(c ) (3), has raised approximately $5,000, has developed a website, and has been meeting monthly. They have received good local press. Educational programs for the public have addressed macroinvertebrates, vernal pools, invasive plants, and local biodiversity. The group has interacted with the Farmington River Watershed Association and the CT Watershed Conservation Network, sponsored by Rivers Alliance. Work in progress includes opening an office, publishing a Salmon Brook Streamside Guide, and pursuing Wild-and-Scenic designation for the brook.
01-04 M Solar Youth. Support for this nonprofit’s program of watershed education and stewardship in the West River watershed in New Haven, awarded $4,000. Five neighborhood stewardship teams, with students from grades 4 through 7, worked in the summer in the watershed from West Haven to the Hill region. Activities included “adventure” trips (e.g., canoeing) as well as clean-up and study. Leaders are interns from the Yale School of Forestry and the Environment. One popular, effective clean-up was in Wintergreen Brook (West River) behind the Catherine Brennan Elementary School. New Haven clean-up master Peter Davis participated in this project. Group has just completed its plans for the spring teams, which again will include five interns (four repeats). One team will work in a new area, Fair Haven (touching on both the Mill and Quinnipiac rivers).
01-04 N Willimantic River Alliance. Received funding for watershed GPS mapping in the Thames River and Willimantic River basins, $4,000 awarded. Five area high schools joined this project, and the group is also working with its local Council of Governments and EASTCONN. A curriculum was distributed to five high schools, each responsible for mapping a different river segment. Students and teachers extended their activities to include field trips, and Arc View presentation on CD for one segment. Group has created an outstanding color map of the watershed, and has received good press.
Rivers Alliance of Connecticut