WATERSHED ASSISTANCE SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM
Round 3 Projects
Organization: Ash Creek Conservation Association (ACCA)
Project I.D.: 03-10-A
Project Title: Developing Public Awareness of the Rooster River Watershed
Amount Awarded: $5,000
Contact: Gail Robinson
The Rooster River extends from the mouth of Ash Creek at the border of Fairfield and Bridgeport to the Bridgeport/Trumbull border. This water body has 303(d) impaired status. It’s an important watershed in the midst of an urban environment. The project focused on extended outreach for watershed protection / non-point source pollution and storm water management throughout the Rooster River/Ash Creek watershed. WASG funding was instrumental in raising public awareness of the Rooster River/Ash Creek watershed. ACCA was able to create/develop a website (www.ashcreekassoc.org), blog (www.blackrockonline.org), print materials (brochure, posters, and a pamphlet detailing specific action steps people could undertake to reduce non-point pollution), and a Power Point presentation on the watershed which was given on March 19th and 21st, 2007 by Professor L. Kraig Steffen of Fairfield University. Twenty six people attended. Although the attendance at the two meeting was a little on the low side, ACCA over the course of this project has compiled a database of 1004 individuals/groups which they will share with the Connecticut Conservation Association as they organize and coordinate other watershed groups in Bridgeport. A clean up event on the Ash Creek is planned for the Spring of 2007 and the Power Point presentation will continue to be used by the group to teach residents about the watershed. The group will also post the presentation on their website.
Organization: CT Audubon Society Center at Pomfret
Project I.D.: 03-10-B
Project Title: Monitoring of Impaired Watercourses in Northeast Connecticut
Amount Awarded: $3,000
Contact: Paula Coughlin or Sarah Heminway
This project was a continuation of the 2003 project to train community volunteers to collect stream walk data on tributaries of the Quinebaug River north of Brooklyn including those which may have impairments not investigated by the DEP monitoring program. Twenty two stream segments were surveyed totaling approximately 15 miles. Fourteen volunteers contributed 91 volunteer hours to the project. The Survey data was collected and entered into a database and results were included in a report to the community. Generally there were few impairments of great concern, however, one segment of the Mashamoquet Brook (drainage basin 73-10-00-3R5 & R6), adjacent to an active agricultural area, did show erosion problems and notable algae growth. The information was included in a report to the Promfret Inland Wetlands Commission. The CT Audubon Society Center at Pomfret also trained 16 Citizen Science Volunteers who contributed approximately 75 hours to the Rapid Bioassessment for Volunteers (RBV) project. These volunteers collected data at 7 sites (Mashamoquet Brook, French River, Bungee Brook, Still River, and Natchaug River). Results at these sites indicated moderate water quality. This data was given to the CT DEP. 30 volunteers worked on the two projects and were able to collect valuable data on the selected sites. The CT Audubon Society Center at Pomfret plans to look at strategies to retain volunteers working on these projects over the long term. The group plans to continue completing stream walks northward on the Quinebaug River in northeast Connecticut. This will take several years. Over the past two years of the project, the community and its residents have responded very favorably to these projects.
Organization: Farmington River Watershed Association (FRWA)
Project I.D.: 03-10-C
Project Title: Pequabuck and Lower Farmington Streamwalk
Amount Awarded: $2,000
Contact: Eileen Fielding (former project contact was Eric Hammerling)
The project focused on identifying threats to local water quality and potential causes of impaired water conditions throughout the Farmington River Watershed. FRWA staff and 74 citizen volunteers (592 hours) walked and floated down 190 miles (approximately 1/3 of the Farmington River Watershed). The areas covered included the main stem of the Farmington River from the base of the Goodwin Dam to Tariffville Gorge; Still River in Torrington, Winchester, & Colebrook; Nod Brook in Simsbury & Avon; Hop Brook & Stratton Brook in Simsbury; the West Branch & Main Stem Salmon Brook in Hartland, Granby, & East Granby; and Perkins Brook in Windsor. Volunteers submitted completed surveys and over 155 “areas of concern” were identified and documented in the 10 towns. Information on these areas was provided to town leaders and local land trusts in each town where monitoring occurred. Future plans includes following up on the “areas of concern”, design future water quality programs to add emphasis to issues identified by stream walks, and conduct a 2nd annual stream walk. Stream walks have proven to be one of the best screening methods for identifying visual indicators of reduced water quality and threats to water quality. FRWA plans to make stream walks an annual event.
Organization: Earthplace-Harbor Watch
Project I.D.: 03-10-D
Project Title: Needed Tools to Support the Earthplace Harbor Watch/River Watch (HW/RW) Monitoring Program
Amount Awarded: $2,500
Contact: Richard Harris
WASGP funding was used to update outdated computer equipment (3 computers) for the Harbor Watch/River Watch Monitoring Program. The new equipment has enabled the group to better input, archive, and analyze water quality data from their many monitoring projects, many of which involve non-point pollution testing. The water quality reports generated from the data collected are shared with the Water Management Bureau of the CT DEP. Specifically, this equipment has increased the capacity of Earthplace’s HW/RW to implement non-point source water quality monitoring projects on the Norwalk River, Sasco Brook, and Saugatuck River Watersheds.
Organization: Naubesatuck Watershed Council (NWC)
Project I.D.: 03-10-E
Project Title: Natchaug River Plan of Conservation, Phase I (Data Collection)
Amount Awarded: $2,500
Contact: Denise Burchsted
The 162 square mile Naubesatuck Watershed (CT DEP Basin #32) is the state’s largest surface water supply. Despite conservation efforts, the relatively undeveloped “Last Green Valley”, which extends into Massachusetts and Rhode Island, is under immense development pressure that is likely to affect the health of its streams and aquifers. Data collection by NWC comprised of stream assessments (mostly GIS-based with ground confirmation where possible and needed), and review of existing plans of conservation and/or development in the watershed. The assessment would include a desktop survey of the major perennial watercourses using GIS, aerial photos, and interviews with fishermen and other individuals knowledgeable about the Mount Hope River watershed. It would also include reconnaissance surveys from car and /or on foot. Workplan revisions were approved in April 2006. The information collected uncovered specific issues (such as rising stream temperatures as reported by members of the fishing community, and the review of the conservation plans revealed that there already has been a lot of work put towards conservation of natural resources in the watershed but there needs to be more implementation of these plans with specific action items). All the reviewed plans included natural resource protection as a major goal (open space as well as wetlands and watercourses). Data collection was a vital first step and NWC plans to bring together all involved agencies to identify projects, policies, and regulations that can be implemented to achieve the goals put forth in the conservation plans. NWC also plans to host a watershed-wide workshop in 2007 focusing primarily on regional water supply planning. NWC hopes to make this workshop an annual event that would address regional discussion issues as identified in their final report.
Organization: Eastern Connecticut Resources Conservation & Development Area (ECRCDA) / Park River
Project I.D.: 03-10-F
Project Title: Parkriver.org, website as a public forum and informational resource for Hartford’s Park River
Amount Awarded: $5,000
Contact: Mary Rickel Pelletier
In order to educate stakeholders about the local, existing conditions, within Park River Watershed, the group presented information at 9 community gatherings. Even though the meetings were moderately attended, attracting leaders and individuals from minority and/or economically disadvantaged groups who live in the Park River watershed continues to be difficult. Many of these people might not have access to a computer, are away from home working multiple jobs, and/or do not speak English well. Mary Pelletier and ECRCDA, the sponsoring organization, plans to better address the problem by focusing outreach efforts on this sector of the population (there are plans to partner with the Farmington River Watershed Association to create and distribute information about the Park River (in the form of a postcard written in English & Spanish)). The group also looked at the possibility of incorporating into an official nonprofit organization and met with interested parties. It was decided that at this time, considering that there are already multiple other organizations working on the watershed, that it would be better for this group to partner with one of those organizations (FRWA agreed to partner with this group to do future projects on the Park River (i.e. clean-up, outreach efforts, etc.). The website (http://www.parkriver.org) is full of information, attractive and very well organized and serves as a valuable outreach tool that educates the public on issues that affect the river. Mary Pelletier, the project leader, plans to continue to update and add information periodically. Other future plans include a first ever Park River clean-up event, outreach efforts to the area’s diverse population to educate and raise awareness of the Park River and its watershed, and coalition building with municipalities and major institutions (i.e. University of Hartford, UCONN Law, CT Historical Society, etc.).
Organization: Save the Sound (STS)
Project I.D.: 03-10-G
Project Title: Watershed Shore Clean-up Program
Amount Awarded: $2,000
Contact: Leah Schmalz
Save the Sound, with funding from WASGP was able to initiate the first year of “Clean-up Your Act: A Watershed Clean-up Program”. Prior to this project there were only sporadic shore clean-ups throughout the year. This clean-up program would include the entire Connecticut shoreline (river & Long Island Sound). STS has created an online clean-up calendar that will be updated at the start of each season. It’s divided by color into Save the Sound sponsored events and statewide clean-ups sponsored by other organizations. Increased outreach and publicity (press releases, postcard announcement, and brochure) about upcoming clean-up events generated a high interest response rate. Participation from short term and long-term volunteers continues to increase. STS also started a debris database that can be queried by year, beach, and/or debris type. Data & information collected will be made available to the public online but the map portion has been temporarily postponed. The interactive map was more difficult and expensive than first thought. After 5 years of data collection, the group plans to publish a web report graphing the debris trends for each beach. The Data Statistics card which tracks trends on a state, basin, and municipal level was created and printed in small batches to allow for up-to-date changes based on collected debris and Beach Captain suggestions. Also, the Shore Captain Manual was printed and will be used to train Shore Captains in each basin. Save the Sound plans to continue to grow and expand this program and refine data collection so that it provides the most useful information for the public and volunteers.
Organization: Scantic River Watershed Association (SRWA)
Project I.D.: 03-10-H
Project Title: Scantic River Guide
Amount Awarded: $3,582.70
Contact: Culver Modisette
WASG funding was the catalyst needed for the creation of the first ever River Guide for the Scantic River. The Scantic River was mapped from source to the Connecticut River by a diligent and very dedicated group of volunteers. The project was temporarily stalled due to a major rain event which caused debris and erosion problems on the river. Certain sections had to be reassessed since some of these areas (with added obstructions) might not be traversed by canoeists. Despite the delay, SRWA did a great job with the guide and printed 1,000 copies of the first guide to the Scantic River. The guide includes a removable canoeist’s map. This guide has been eagerly awaited by residents and the feedback has been very complimentary. So far, approximately 400 copies have been distributed, with 40 copies sent to libraries, town commissions, and other local organizations. The group has even received requests for the guide from as far away as California! Indirectly, this project has activated membership in SRWA. In order to sustain future reprinting of the guide and map, SRWA plans to sell the guide for $5.00. Considering the popularity of the guide, reprinting is inevitable.
Organization: Willimantic River Alliance (WRA)
Project I.D.: 03-10-I
Project Title: Willimantic River Alliance Website & Non-profit Incorporation
Amount Awarded: $2,000
Contact: Mark Paquette
Funding was used to create a website and to help the organization become fully incorporated as a nonprofit in the state of Connecticut. The website facilitates and complements existing resources and multiple agencies as a locally developed information forum, and promotes the river at the local watershed level where effective NPS management measures can best be advanced and achieved. Willimantic River Alliance’s website (http://www.willimanticriver.org) is well organized and promotes the organization’s mission: “to promote regional awareness and enjoyment of the Willimantic River and its watershed through cooperation and education, while protecting and preserving its value for all”. The group hopes these tools (incorporation, website, newsletters, river guide and other publications) will increase public awareness of the organization and the Willimantic River corridor and watershed. WRA partnered with the Windham Area Council of Governments which provided, among many things, an intern to assist with the design and construction of the website. The group has also received official notice that they are now a nonprofit corporation in the state of Connecticut. Countless volunteers and professionals helped the organization file the massive amount of paperwork necessary to incorporate as a nonprofit. Now as an official entity, the organization hopes to continue growing and to continue to raise awareness of the Willimantic River through its many projects.
Organization: Willimantic Whitewater Partnership (WWP)
Project I.D.: 03-10-J
Project Title: Willimantic River Restoration Project
Amount Awarded: $3,000
Contact: Dan Mullins
The Partnership’s project focused on increasing outreach and volunteer efforts. The Partnership has grown to approximately 150 members and continues to recruit new members through attendance at major events in the Windham area, publications (such as newsletters, brochures), member appeal mailings, and through its website (http://www.willimanticwhitewater.org.). WWP has a very involved and active board of directors who participate in many of the outreach activities (i.e. created and distributed a flyer profiling the organization and important river issues to the general public). WWP has also relocated to a new office at 41 High St., Willimantic. WWP continues its fundraising activities to support its many projects (sediment sampling, fish feasibility study for fish passage at the Bridge Street Dam, purchase of Boland property, Riverfront Park Project-rails to trails, etc.). More information regarding the group’s activities can be found on their website.
Rivers Alliance of Connecticut