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Connecticut's United Voice for River Conservation

 
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WATERSHED ASSISTANCE SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM (WASGP)

WATERSHED ASSISTANCE SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM

 

Round 5 Projects

 

 

Organization: Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Pomfret

Project I.D.: 07-06-A 

Project Title: Connecticut Audubon Society Citizen Science Water Quality Monitoring in Northeast Connecticut 

Amount Awarded: $3,253

Contact: Paula Coughlin

Website: www.ctaudubon.org/center-at-pomfret

 

Project Description:

Funding provided support for the Citizen Science Monitoring Program which trains volunteers to collect data for two water quality monitoring projects: Stream Walk and Rapid Bioassessment for Volunteers (RBV).  Eighteen volunteers (contributing over 50 volunteer hours) were trained to collect water quality data.  This year the Stream Walk project continued to focus on tributaries to the Little River in Woodstock (3 are listed as impaired streams on the 303 (d) list).  These streams are of concern to the Woodstock Conservation Commission and the Eastern CT Conservation District as the Little River is a very important open water resource. The group plans in 2010 to finish the remaining section of Mill Brook and conduct Stream Walks on segments of North Running Brook and Muddy Brook.

 

Citizen Science Program volunteers have contributed a total of 1,184 volunteer hours to the two water quality monitoring projects.  WASG funding has supported this program for the last four years.  As a result of the valuable data being collected, Woodstock is focusing on water quality protection as part of their plan of open space and conservation.  The Quinebaug-Shetucket Rivers Basin is a critical resource in NE CT.  CT Audubon continues to take the lead role in monitoring these natural resources through the on-going work of the Citizen Science Volunteer Monitoring Program.  Collaboration with ECCD and the Thames River Basin Partnership has proven effective and productive towards meeting regional water quality monitoring goals. 

 

 

 

Organization: Southwest Conservation District / Byram Watershed Coalition

Project I.D.: 07-06-C

Project Title: State of the Watershed Public Forum

Amount Awarded: $4,160

Contact: Roman Mrozinski

Website: www.conservect.org/southwest  or  https://sites.google.com/site/byramwatershedcoalition

 

Project Description:

The Byram Watershed Coalition (BWC) is a start-up group, formed January 2008 with the mission of creating a watershed based management plan.  The group through the Southwest Conservation District received funding to do a “state of the watershed” public forum.  BWC’s goal was to utilize the forum to bring together many of the stakeholders to build public awareness/support and encourage participation for sustainable management of the Byram River Watershed. 

 

The Forum “Crossing Boundaries: Reclaiming the Byram River” was held on March 12, 2009.  The purpose of this introductory forum was to engage and mobilize citizenry and concerned groups in New York and Connecticut with the intent to educate and inform them about the Byram River Watershed.  Approximately thirty individuals attended.  As a result of the forum five new individuals joined BWC efforts and have attended and been very involved in BWC meetings.  The group also produced a great looking brochure which can be used in their on-going outreach/education efforts.  The Southwest Conservation District intends to provide leadership and guidance as necessary to the current coordinator and members.  BWC plans to continue to expand outreach/education efforts; work on creation of a watershed management plan; maintain a website and events calendar; and ultimately file for 501(c) (3) status. 

 

 

Organization: Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, Inc.

Project I.D.: 07-06-D

Project Title: Niantic River Watershed Advisory Board

Amount Awarded: $5,000

Contact: Dan Mullins (Previous contact. Scott Gravatt)

Website: www.conservect.org/eastern

 

Project Description:

WASGP funding was provided to facilitate the formation of the Niantic River Watershed Board, a key recommendation of the 2006 Niantic River Watershed Protection Plan.  This plan is the first in CT to address the nine elements of a watershed-based plan as put forth by the CT DEP.  It was determined during the course of the project that, although it would eventually be possible to establish such a board, it could not be done during the short life of the grant.  Alternatively, the goal became to establish a committee, endorsed by the four watershed towns (East Lyme, Montville, Salem, and Waterford), whose goal would be to continue the work started by the grant project, and continue to the ultimate formation of an official board.  The Niantic River Watershed Advisory Committee (NRWAC) held its first committee meeting in September, 2009.  The committee continues to meet each month, with its efforts being coordinated by the Niantic River Watershed Coordinator.  Reaching the goal of creating a Watershed Board will require both political and legal actions.  The committee is well aware of the efforts that will be required and they are committed to success.

 

 

Organization: Farmington River Watershed Association

Project I.D.: 07-06-E

Project Title: The Clean Water Project: Recruiting Landowners to Reduce Pesticide Use

Amount Awarded: $4,000

Contact: Eileen Fielding

Website: www.frwa.org

 

Project Description:

Farmington River Watershed Association (FRWA) received WASGP funding to develop an outreach program to recruit landowners and others to reduce pesticide/fertilizer use in portions of the Farmington River Watershed (specifically, Colebrook, Hartland, Norfolk, and Bristol).  Twenty four landowners have pledged to avoid the use of pesticides/herbicides on their properties.  FRWA compiled mailing lists of riverfront landowners in Norfolk, Hartland, Colebrook, and Bristol.  The Bristol mailing list was made available to the local group, the Pequabuck River Watershed Association for coordinated outreach efforts.  These lists will be valuable in ongoing and future outreach efforts by the group and partners.  FRWA was successful in developing new contacts in each town (especially Hartland & Norfolk); initiating and maintaining working relationships with concerned landowners and interested groups (i.e. garden clubs, land trust, neighborhood and lake associations); and developing and using new outreach/educational materials on nonpoint source pollution.  FRWA will continue to identify and target new audiences; coordinate efforts with other groups doing complementary work such as the Northwest Conservation District; and recruit more volunteer assistance.

 

 

 

Organization: Farmington River Watershed Assoc. / Park River Watershed Revitalization Initiative

Project I.D.: 07-06-F

Project Title: Growing Awareness: Steps toward Watershed Stewardship

Amount Awarded: $5,000

Contact: Mary Rickel Pelletier

Website: www.parkwatershed.org

 

Project Description:

WASGP funding enabled Park River Watershed Revitalization Initiative (PRWRI) to produce and publish Steps Towards Park River Watershed Stewardship, a two-page educational spread in the Hartford Courant (front section, centerfold) on Earth Day, April 22, 2009.  The goal was to increase outreach efforts and empower stakeholders with information to change their own backyards in environmentally positive ways, thereby improving the water quality of the Park River Watershed. 

The content included a list of community and individual stewardship action steps, as well as local and regional reference websites, a map of the Park River Watershed, a reference map of CT watersheds, and a short description of the Park River North Branch Watershed Management Plan.  Due to extra space, a summary of non-point source pollution & green infrastructure, an announcement of a volunteer river clean-up, and brief descriptions of the waterways and geological features within Park River Watershed towns were also included.  Over 168,000 copies of the newspaper were distributed (including copies to area public schools).  The group initially anticipated producing only 5,000 copies of the 2 page large format brochure.  With the Courant’s newspaper format and distribution system, PRWRI greatly exceeded their goals (range of content, distribution, and outreach to urban stakeholders).  The group plans to publish information about watershed stewardship in the Hartford Courant as an annual Earth Day project.  PRWRI seeks support from old and new partners.

 

 

 

Organization: Housatonic Valley Association

Project I.D.: 07-06-G

Project Title: Web Based Interactive Map and Database

Amount Awarded: $3,422

Contact: Lynn Werner

Website: www.hvatoday.org

 

Project Description:

Funding was used create a web-based interactive map of water quality information for the Connecticut portion of the Housatonic River Watershed on the organization’s website.  The goal was to increase public advocacy for restoring impaired rivers and streams in the Housatonic River Watershed.  Multiple layers of information were assembled, organized, and displayed using IMRivers mapping program.  Information includes electronic data gathered from various sources (i.e. surface waters, surface water monitoring sites, USGS stations, dams, historical sites, fishing and other recreational access sites, NPDES discharge locations, impairment/action sites, stream classifications, 303(d) lists, and HVA stream team segments and collected data).  HVA’s Watershed Coordinator is responsible for updating the site (www.IMRivers.com/hva); managing public input into the information database; and making and implementing recommendations for improvement.  The group encountered several problems with the site.  For example, due to the vast amount of information gathered it became almost impossible to depict the information clearly on the IMRivers map.  The IMRivers site also took a long time to load as a result.  The group is assessing how best to correct these issues and hopes to expand this project going forward to either use IMRivers or transfer the information to another system.  The next phase would include collecting and inputting complete data for the Massachusetts and New York portions of the Housatonic River Watershed.

 

 

 

Organization: Quinnipiac River Watershed Association

Project I.D.: 07-06-H

Project Title: Quinnipiac River Watershed Association Membership

Amount Awarded: $4,000

Contact: Ginny Chirsky

Website: www.qrwa.org      

 

Project Description:

QRWA received funding to expand its grassroots membership in order to strengthen efforts to improve the Quinnipiac River as an urban community resource.  The group has a large volunteer base (more than 1,000) but only about 260 due paying members and 26 corporate sponsors.  QRWA produced a professionally designed brochure to recruit potential new members and volunteers.  The brochure highlights the size and location of the watershed, the member municipalities, an overview of river protection activities and volunteer opportunities, and website address.  Also, the brochure makes great use of color images to display the beauty of the Quinnipiac River and its wildlife as well as the wide variety of volunteer activities available.  All the current volunteers and their supporters are a potential source of broad river support through memberships.  QRWA plans to increase its membership, both individual and business, with an annual goal of 100 new individual members and 25 new business.  The brochure in combination with QRWA's new Board-initiated website will facilitate the development of a larger constituency on behalf of river restoration and protection in this densely populated urban watershed.  The group is committed to seeking diversified sources of funding and support for the Quinnipiac River and watershed.

 

 

 

Organization: Save the River – Save the Hills

Project I.D.: 07-06-I

Project Title: Niantic River Appreciation Day Kayak Regatta 2009 / Outreach & Membership

Amount Awarded: $2,030

Contact: Deborah Mosier-Dunn

Website: www.savetheriversavethehills.org

 

Project Description:

The group received funding to develop outreach efforts and increase membership by reaching out to non-members who attend the annual Kayak Regatta; increase number of mailings to constituents; hold a membership drive; and increase outreach local community efforts (i.e. East Lyme High School).  Save the River – Save the Hills had a table at the Niantic River Appreciation Day featuring information on “what you can do to protect the river.”  The group found that some people were hesitant to take materials since the materials would get wet when they got back in their kayaks.  Rivers Alliance suggested that the group might want to consider putting together packets in a small water proof bag that could be handed out to regatta registrants and others.  Due to all these efforts, the group had a ten percent increase in new members.  In addition, overall membership donations have increased by over $2,000 from the previous year.  Save the River – Save the Hills plan to build and expand their membership base and education/outreach efforts in general. 

 

 

 

Organization: Eastern Connecticut Conservation District / Thames River Basin Partnership

Project I.D.: 07-06-J

Project Title: Installation of Storm Drain Markers in Windham, Connecticut

Amount Awarded: $4,000

Contact: Jean Pillo

Website: www.conservect.org/eastern  or www.thamesriverbasinpartnership.org

 

Project Description:

The Eastern Connecticut Conservation District / Thames River Basin Partnership received funding to install storm drain markers in Windham, Connecticut.  The goal of the project was to educate the local population (high percentage Spanish speaking people) on how they can help reduce storm water pollution.  With the help of volunteers, nearly one thousand markers with the message “No Dumping, Drains to River” in both English and Spanish were adhered to storm drains in the Willimantic section of the town of Windham, CT where the impervious cover total exceeds twenty- five percent.  As part of the outreach effort, bilingual door hangers listing “homeowner best management practices” were also distributed in the neighborhoods where the markers were placed.  The group and volunteers conducted outreach efforts at several events: the Willimantic River Festival and a Willimantic third Thursday street festival.  Publicity for the project included the following: several articles were published in local newspapers (Willimantic Chronicle & the Hartford Courant) and the Willimantic Rivers Alliance newsletter; and interviews on the local radio station (WILI 14AM) and local cable access channel 14.  The group was diligent in acknowledging WASGP funding.  The volunteers did a wonderful job.  ECCD/TRBP plan to have the core team of volunteers evaluate how the markers are holding up and make recommendations for project improvements. 

 

 

Organization: Farmington River Watershed Association

Project I.D.: 07-06-K

Project Title: Workshop for Collaborative Watershed Management in Ten Farmington River Towns (LULA)

Amount Awarded: $10,000

Contact: Eileen Fielding

Website: www.frwa.org

 

Project Description:

WASGP funding enabled Farmington River Watershed Association (FRWA) to sponsor four all day Land Use Leadership Alliance (LULA) workshops.  The workshops were held on four Fridays in May and June 2009.  Thirty four participants representing all ten towns attended.  The purpose of the workshop was to address the need for better coordinated planning in managing nonpoint source pollution and other land use issues on a regional scale in the lower Farmington River Watershed.  This was part of the efforts by FRWA and the Lower Farmington River Wild and Scenic Study Committee to help towns collaboratively develop a management plan for the entire lower Farmington main stem corridor.  This project accomplished the following: establishment of a multi-town network of community leaders interested in watershed management and sound land use policies; input from participants will be incorporated into the Lower Farmington Management Plan; progress toward Wild & Scenic designation has the potential of providing federal funding for regional management activities; and a valuable opportunity for training and networking.  FRWA and partners are working to get Wild & Scenic designation for the Lower Farmington.  All the stakeholders are committed to improving river protection.

 

 

 

Organization: Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition

Project I.D.: 07-06-L

Project Title: Backyard Watershed Protection Workshops

Amount Awarded: $4,000

Contact: Carol Haskins

Website: www.pomperaug.org

 

Project Description:

WASGP funding made it possible for the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition (PRWC) to hold a series of watershed protection workshops; to expand PRWC’s website to include a “Protect Your Watershed” section; and to distribute a septic system maintenance brochure to watershed residents.  The goal of this project was to raise awareness of nonpoint source pollution issues and best management practices.  PRWC hosted a series of three workshops during March 2010.  Topics included watershed basics, lawns and turf, and buffers / rain gardens / and other water friendly landscaping practices.  Although attendance at the workshops was lower than expected, it did attract new audience members to PRWC programs.  The group has had additional success with the website information.  After launching the site, PRWC issued an e-mail notice, a press release in the local paper, and an announcement in their newsletter prompting over 150 visitors to the site.  The septic maintenance brochure’s content was reviewed by local health district directors.  Over 1,000 copies of the brochure (2,000 were printed) were distributed to various locations in the watershed (i.e. health district offices, town hall offices involved in permitting, septic pumpers, realtors, and public libraries).  An electronic version of the brochure is available on the PRWC website.  In hindsight, the group realized that it would have been useful to have a program evaluation form for people to fill out.  The group plans to incorporate information from this project into their ongoing PRWC programs. 

Rivers Alliance of Connecticut
PO Box 1797, 7 West Street 3rd Floor, Litchfield, CT 06759-1797
860-361-9349
rivers@riversalliance.org, www.riversalliance.org