WATERSHED ASSISTANCE SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM
Round 4 Projects
Organization: Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Pomfret
Project I.D.: 02-02-A
Project Title: Connecticut Audubon Society Citizen Science Water Quality Monitoring in Northeast Connecticut
Amount Awarded: $3,000
Contact: Sarah Heminway or Paula Coughlin
Connecticut Audubon Society Citizen Science Monitoring Program trained volunteers to collect data for two water quality monitoring projects: Rapid Bioassessment for Volunteers (RBV) and Stream Walk. These two programs have been successful in building watershed constituents whose connections to the environment is strengthened through their volunteer work. This project is a continuation of the 2003 project to train community volunteers to collect data on tributaries of the Quinebaug River basin, a critical resource in Northeast Connecticut. Continued maintenance of water quality in the upper reaches of the Quinebaug River have dilution benefits further downstream where water courses are affected by NPS pollution. Funding from WASGP allowed the CT Audubon Society Center at Pomfret to trained 21 adult volunteers and 11 children (including a Girl Scout troop) contributing a total of 124 volunteer hours to the RBV project. Volunteers collected samples from rivers and streams in three towns (Pomfret, Woodstock, & Eastford) and all data sheets and specimen vouchers were sent to Michael Beauchene at CT DEP. During the Summer of 2007, the group also trained 23 stream walk volunteers from nine towns in Northeast Connecticut. These volunteers contributed 161 volunteer hours to the program. Even though the group started to charge volunteers $10 to supplement training costs, they have had more volunteers sign up than expected. The CT Audubon Society Center at Pomfret’s Citizen Monitoring Program is unique in the region and has become well established. To date, trained volunteers have contributed 540 volunteer hours. The group will continue to collaborate with the Thames River Basin volunteer coordinator (has proven to be a very productive partnership) to meet the goals of the Thames River Basin Partnership Committee. The group plans to continue completing stream walks for the Natchaug Rivers Greenway.
Organization: Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District (CRCCD)
Project I.D.: 02-02-B
Project Title: A Strategic Planning Initiative for the Connecticut River Watch Program
Amount Awarded: $2,000
Contact: Jane Brawerman
CRCCD held a half-day facilitated brainstorming session for the Connecticut River Watch Program (CRWP), the District’s citizen monitoring, protection, and improvement program for the Connecticut River and its tributaries. The purpose of the session was to initiate a strategic planning effort for the Connecticut River Watch Program, the last of which was done 10 years ago. Focus was placed on the following areas: opportunities for expansion outside of the existing program areas; types of monitoring activities that best meet water quality data needs; how best to disseminate data to promote use and motivate action; and how to create a stable funding and resource base. Over forty community, university, and agency contacts representing a wide variety of interests were invited and twenty participated in the session. The session was very productive and yielded many useful ideas which will be used to develop a strategic plan for CRWP. CRCCD plans to organize and convene the CRWP advisory committee which will guide staff in creating a strategic plan document. Ten of the session participants have volunteered to be on the advisory committee.
Organization: Earthplace, Harbor Watch/River Watch
Project I.D.: 02-02-C
Project Title: YSI Continuously Monitoring Oxygen Meter, Series 6-600 XLM Sonde
Amount Awarded: $4,000
Contact: Richard Harris
The group received funding to purchase river monitoring equipment (YSI Continuously Monitoring Oxygen Meter). The equipment was previously rented by the group and was successfully used to continuously monitor several test sites on the Norwalk River for up to a week at a time. The monitoring equipment was also used on several impaired sites on the Norwalk and Saugatuck Rivers to gain insight on dissolved oxygen levels, water temperature and conductivity values on a continuous basis (up to one week). Data gathered was shared with all partners on the Norwalk River (i.e. Town of Ridgefield & Wilton, City of Norwalk, Norwalk River Watershed Alliance, Fairfield County Community Foundation, the NRG Corporation at Manresa, the CT DEP, and Rivers Alliance of Connecticut). The group plans to deploy the monitor at several other locations (see report for detail) and expects to learn more about the dynamics of impoundments in streams polluted with excessive plant growth.
Organization: Friends of the Hockanum River Linear Park of Vernon
Project I.D.: 02-02-D
Project Title: Tankerhoosen River Headwaters Protection: Municipal Regulation Implementation
Amount Awarded: $2,500
Contact: Ann Letendre
The importance of protecting the pristine upper region of the Tankerhoosen is recognized by both local and state agencies. The upper region is unique for its ability to maintain cold temperature which is very important for the native wild trout population. The headwaters of the Tankerhoosen River are severely threatened by nonpoint source pollution (impacts of sprawl). The impervious surface coverage in the headwaters region is in the 21-25%, within the range in which ecological stress and stream impacts are apparent according to research studies. The group recognized the need to implement controls in the Vernon land use regulations to minimize further impervious surface impacts in this region. Funding was provided by WASGP for a workshop specifically tailored for Vernon Land Use Commissioners to inform and educate about LID concepts and storm water issues. The workshop is intended to be a first step in the process of revising P& Z and Inland Wetlands regulations to incorporate LID and other recommended changes proposed by Fuss & O’Neill. The workshop led by Fuss & O’Neill was held on July 10, 2008. Approximately 20 land use commissioners attended. The response was very positive. Another workshop is planned for October 2008 and this will provide the opportunity to reinforce the need for changes to the land use regulations and advocate for the formation of an advisory committee.
Organization: North Central Conservation District / Hockanum River Watershed Association
Project I.D.: 02-02-E
Project Title: Presentation Workshop for the Hockanum River: State of Watershed Report
Amount Awarded: $1,600
Contact: David Askew
The Hockanum River Association and the North Central Conservation District received WASGP funding to sponsor an evening workshop for municipal and community watershed leaders. The focus of the workshop was the Hockanum River: State of the Watershed Report covers in depth the geology, history, water quality, land use, and natural resources of the Hockanum River Watershed. The report concluded that there is a downstream progression of degraded water quality and that restoration of impacted areas, and preservation of open space are some of the solutions provided for improving the watershed’s water quality. The North Central Conservation District led the workshop and provided details on how to best utilize the information provided in the report in local watershed planning. The workshop was well attended. The group has a track record of success with water quality improvement projects in the watershed, great local support, and hopes that more funding will be directed to the area.
Organization: Northwest Conservation District (NCD)
Project I.D.: 02-02-F
Project Title: Upper Naugatuck River Sign Campaign
Amount Awarded: $2,450
Contact: Sean Hayden (former project contact was Jean Cronauer)
The group received WASGP funding to design and create two interpretive signs on the Upper Naugatuck River. However, due to timing and opportunity the group ended up doing four interpretive signs which were placed in several high profile/heavy traffic locations throughout the City of Torrington. The overall goal of this campaign is to educate the public about the importance of the Naugatuck River (history, facts, location, things you can do to protect the river, etc.) and hopefully inspire people into action to protect and improve the health of the river. NCD worked collaboratively with the Naugatuck River Watershed Association, the City of Torrington, Torrington Historical Society, and Trout Unlimited to develop and plan sign content and layout. Also, the funding from the WASGP was instrumental in securing additional funds from Trout Unlimited to expanding the initial project to include ten river identification signs. NCD plans to look for additional financial support to fund three more signs.
Organization: Farmington River Watershed Association / Park River
Project I.D.: 02-02-G
Project Title: Park River Community Outreach
Amount Awarded: $500
Contact: Mary Rickel Pelletier
Funding was used for printing costs of an informational 5 3/4” x 8 ¾” postcard “Discover Your Watershed, www.parkriver.org” which was distributed to approximately 3,000 households in the Park River Watershed. The postcard provided a brief description of the Park River Watershed, a calendar of upcoming community events (including river clean-up), and encouraged recipients to visit http://www.parkriver.org. This project was a collaborative effort between Park River and the Farmington River Watershed Association who also served as the project’s fiscal agent. The grant received from the WASGP was important in leveraging additional funding from the Knox Foundation which awarded the group a grant of $1,500 to cover postage. The group plans to build on its outreach efforts in the watershed.
Organization: Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition (PRWC)
Project I.D.: 02-02-H
Project Title: A Land Trust Collaboration for Watershed Protection
Amount Awarded: $2,000
Contact: Carol Haskins
PRWC and the Southbury Land Trust utilized their collective science and mapping data to produce a report/manual that can be used as a model by town leaders to help make better land use and water protection decisions. The manual provides a summary of preliminary results from mathematical modeling of the impact that different land uses have on streamflow and aquifer recharge; a series of GIS maps that can be used to assess hydrological value of land parcels; and information on data sources available to do GIS mapping in Southbury (this will provide guidance to other communities and organizations who may want to apply the same methodology of assessing hydrological value of land parcels). The groups believe that this can be a valuable model for others in the state that deal with watershed protection issues and land use planning. The effort has also served as an example of how a watershed organization and a local land trust can work together to enhance success of each other’s mission. PRWC hopes to expand this effort to other towns.
Organization: Pootatuck Watershed Association (PWA)
Project I.D.: 02-02-I
Project Title: Pootatuck Watershed Storm Drain Labeling
Amount Awarded: $2,250
Contact: Joe Hovious (former project contact was James Belden)
The group received funding to do storm drain labeling in Newtown which combined public education with a program to prevent contamination of waterways from storm water pollution. The group approached and collaborated with the Town of Newtown to evaluate and inventory all catch basins and outlets into a GIS database. This portion of the program is ongoing. The group has been successful at recruiting local schools; Girl, Boy, & Eagle Scouts groups; residential groups; town staff; and others to help affix a total of 700 markers on high priority catch basins (those with the highest visibility & having the greatest impact on waterways). The group has also distributed the EPA storm water information pamphlet to volunteers, residents, and businesses. The presence of the PWA logo on the markers, as well as project publicity has increased the group’s visibility and support in the community. This has provided this new group an opportunity to garner support for continued drain marking efforts from the town and to further educate the public about the Pootatuck Watershed.
Organization: Save the River – Save the Hills, Inc.
Project I.D.: 02-02-J
Project Title: Niantic River Watershed Education Project
Amount Awarded: $3,000
Contact: Deborah Mosier-Dunn
Save the River-Save the Hills received funding to develop their Watershed Education Program. The focus of this program was to educate the public about the Niantic River Watershed and to provide best management practices that people can use to minimize nonpoint source pollution and to help improve water quality. A program coordinator was hired to develop the program and conduct educational meetings (to cultivate “clean water ambassadors”) in the following towns: East Lyme, Waterford, and Salem. So far over 350 people have participated through various venues which have included house gatherings, workshops at schools, town sponsored events, and a clean up day. The program coordinator also collaborated with the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut to create an interactive display showing fish migration and how water flows through a watershed. The group hopes that this will be a significant teaching tool for children and their parents visiting the museum. Although the group initially struggled with streamlining their environmental message, they are now on the right track and have gotten better at tailoring the message to their audience. The group also lost the program coordinator and after regrouping the program is now led by Deborah Moshier-Dunn who plans to continue growing the program. The group has also received support from the First Selectman of Salem who has vowed to be a champion of the group’s efforts.
Project I.D.: 02-02-K
Project Title: Young Scientists Series
Amount Awarded: $1,700
Contact: Charlie Taney
Funding was used to support the Young Scientists Program which helps to create the next generation of environmental scientists. The program involved students from Stamford Middle & High Schools in a research project led by SoundWaters MUSE intern, Ben Stolz, to determine the health of the salt marshes of Cove Island Park. Six students registered and four completing the entire week long program. The students threw 20 inch squared quadrats into the salt marsh a total of 130 times, recording the number of indicator species and average cover of cordgrass each time. The students concluded that the Cove Island salt marshes are in good health. The students gained valuable experience in carrying out scientific research and presenting their findings to others. This program has been successful in getting students excited about marine science. Answers to questionnaires provided by students indicate that many of the students that participated in the program have expressed the desire to continue with marine sciences in their future educational pursuits. SoundWaters plans to keep expanding the program and to increase student participants. Since this is a summer program, the group has had difficulty recruiting many more students. However, the students that do participate are very enthusiastic and motivated.
Rivers Alliance of Connecticut