Our mission is to protect all the waters of Connecticut: surface waters, aquifers, and wetlands. We promote and support good water policies statewide; we assist environmental groups, businesses, and individuals who seek to improve the quality of local waters. We offer educational services for experts and beginners alike.
This statement serves as the underpinning for the organization and all of our work.
What We Do
Policy Action Goals. Rivers Alliance has always vigorously promoted public policies for protection and restoration of healthy flows in all the state's waterways. As a result, in 2005 Connecticut passed vanguard legislation requiring the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to adopt flow standards for all rivers and streams. Recently we have extended our action goals to protection of both the quantity and quality of headwaters and groundwater. These undervalued and often neglected resources are essential to the water future of this state.
Policy Leadership. As policy leaders, we serve as co-chair of the state Water Planning Council Advisory Group; a member of the state Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Advisory Board, a member of the Clean Water Coalition (funding for sewage treatment); a member of the CT DEEP Commissioner's Policy Work Group for stream-flow regulation; a member of the Pesticides Coalition; a member of the Greater New Haven Community Foundation's Advisory Board for the Quinnipiac River Fund; and a director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters.
Small Grants Program. This is a re-granting program funded through the Environmental Protection Agency and the CT DEEP. In the first five rounds we supported projects from more than 40 environmental groups, many of them new. In 2011 we disbursed over $50,000 to 11 groups across the state. We will release a new request for proposals later this year.
Connecticut Watershed Conservation Network. This Rivers Alliance program runs conferences twice annually, communicates throughout the network by email year-round, and maintains a website of conservation news. Our 120-plus members include people from state agencies, environmental groups, recreational groups, and just plain folks.
Fighting City Hall. Rivers Alliance believes you can fight City Hall and win, or at least minimize losses. We assist individuals and organizations that, in the face of daunting opposition, are trying to protect the state's waters. We manage a Help Line (860-361-9349) to assist individuals and groups who are in a fight to protect water resources. If the cause is good, it becomes our cause.
Education. We publish educational materials, including our popular buffers brochure; speak to small and large groups across the state; and stage major conferences on subjects of wide interest, for example, Electric Industry Deregulation: Implications for Water; Streamflow: Science and Policy; Connecticut Water Law; Hydropower in New England; and Risks, Rewards, and and Recreational Liability. We have researched and published learning materials on science topics that did not have information readily available to the general public. These materials include Nitrogen and Phosphorus: Friends AND Foes! and ON-SITE WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT IN CONNECTICUT: THE ROLE OF ADVANCED TREATMENT SYSTEMS (ATS)
Board of Directors
Eileen Fielding (President) is the Executive Director of the Farmington River Watershed Association.
Lynn Werner (Vice-President) is the Executive Director of the Housatonic Valley Association and the co-chairman of the Rivers Advisory Committee.
James S. McInerney (Treasurer) is the retired Chairman of the Aquarion Water Company, was a Board Member of the Housatonic Valley Association, and Vice-Chairman of the Water Pollution Control Authority in Norwalk.
Bill Anthony is a Director of Friends of Outer Island and a Director of Flanders Nature Center.
Patricia Bresnahan is Secretary of the Willimantic River Alliance
Alicea Charamut, our newest board member (elected April 15, 2015), is the Connecticut River Watershed Association's River Steward for the lower Connecticut River.
James Creighton is an Environmental Analyst in the Permitting and Enforcement Bureau of Water Management at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
Sharon Lewis is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice
Martin Mador is a Legislative Chair of the Connecticut Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Sarah Martin is a principal and founder of Hays Worthington.
Dwight H. Merriam is a partner in the law firm Robinson & Cole, taught at Vermont Law School, and is recognized nationally as an expert in zoning and other aspects of land-use law.
David Radka is Director of Water Resources, Connecticut Water Company.
Richard Windels is co-founder and president of Friends of Goodwives River in Darien. He has a background in international real estate.
Alicea Charamut Elected to RA Board
The Rivers Alliance Board of Directors on April 15, 2015, elected Alicea Charamut to the board. As the Connecticut River Watershed Council's River Steward for the lower Connecticut River, Alicia is responsible for protecting the Connecticut River basin from the Massachusetts border to Long Island Sound. She works out of CRWC's office in Middletown, CT.
Margaret Miner, Executive Director
Rose Guimaraes, Development & Programs Director
Diane Edwards, Program Consultant
Tony Mitchell, Website Manager
Awards to Rivers Alliance
Marc Taylor, M.D. 1937-2012
We announce with deep sorrow the death of our director Marc Taylor, M.D., on June 5. He was a friend of rivers across the country, but especially here in Connecticut. He was an engineer, physician, Yale professor, woodworker, outdoorsman, fun host, family man, and, above all, in his years of partial retirement, a supremely energetic and dedicated advocate for rivers and clean water. Inspired in part by the lovely, small Pomperaug River in his own backyard in Southbury, CT, Marc became within a few years a nationally respected river expert and policy leader.
He co-founded the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition, with a focus on good science and cooperative stewardship. The organization has developed sophisticated water-science for use by local decision makers. He was active in the land trust, because the health of land and water are mutually linked. Extending his advocacy from town to state, to region, to nation, he became a director and officer of Rivers Alliance of Connecticut, president of the Housatonic Valley Association, and then president of River Network, based in Portland, Oregon. He remained an active and extraordinarily helpful participant in all these groups. He never gave up on a cause; he just worked harder. He was modest and quiet, willing to sit through long meetings if he thought it would help a river or river group. But he wasn't shy about approaching prominent leaders in the public and private sector with the message that rivers are the lifelines of the country, and must be protected and supported.
He was given numerous awards and honors, but the accomplishment he valued highest was persuading groups with apparently different interests that we all depend on water, and we all should work together.
Many of our members and friends have sent remembrances, and we are collecting and binding these for his wife, Jan, and daughters, Ann and Regina.
----- Board and Staff of Rivers Alliance of Connecticut, June 5, 2012
Timeline: Marc Taylor was born in 1936, and grew up outside New York City. He learned to canoe as a boy scout. He attended Amherst College, worked briefly as an engineer, and then enrolled in Columbia University Medical School. He did his internship, residency, and post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University Medical School. He did important research on liver function, taught at Yale, had a large private practice, and in his so-called retirement he was medical director of an extended care facility. Most of this time, however, was spent on river advocacy and science, as described above. He was fully active in this second avocation until pancreatic cancer and an infection took him away in just a few weeks.
His family can be reached at POB 814, Southbury CT 06488 or at the email of his son in law, firstname.lastname@example.org