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749 Hopmeadow St.
Simsbury, CT 06070
  860-658-4442

Farmington River Watershed Association Otter Mascot

Research, Education and Advocacy Programs

The Farmington River Watershed Association’s programs are organized around our mission of protecting the natural resources of the Farmington River and its watershed forever through Research, Education and Advocacy programs. For more continually updated information on our programs, please review our newsletters.

Research

Farmington Valley Biodiversity Project

The Farmington Valley Biodiversity Project is a partnership effort initiated by FRWA, the Metropolitan Conservation Alliance/Wildlife Conservation Society, and 7 towns in the Farmington Valley (Avon, Canton, East Granby, Farmington, Granby, Simsbury, and Suffield) with technical support from the CT DEP and others. The goal of this project is to collect information on the species richness (a.k.a., biodiversity) of the region, to map it, and to provide tools to town leaders and land use commissions on how to conserve their unique natural resources. The Biodiversity Project has tripled the amount of species information available for the region, and its products have been incorporated (or are being incorporated) into 6 of the town Plans of Conservation and Development. Read more about the project and download the official report and maps at the official FVBP page.

Farmington Water Quality Project

In 2002, a 19.6 mile stretch of the Lower Farmington River (between Farmington and Windsor) was added to the state’s "impaired waters" list for elevated bacteria levels for the first time ever. FRWA is working to uncover the sources of this problem and address the growing threats to the River’s water quality. There are 5 elements to FRWA’s Water Quality protection efforts: 1) FRWA completed a "State of the Watershed Report" which evaluated 10 years of data and provided analysis of water quality, impediments to flow, and other stressors on the River and its tributaries; 2) FRWA conducts water quality sampling monthly for bacteria and quarterly for heavy metals and other pollutants at several sites in the Upper Farmington River watershed with lab analysis generously provided by the MDC and funding support from the FRCC. View a list of sampling sites; 3) FRWA is working with the Farmington Valley Health District to measure levels of bacteria in public recreation sites in the River.  3) FRWA, with support from the USDA NRCS is training volunteers to conduct annual Streamwalks. So far, Streamwalks have covered over 300 miles of river and stream in the watershed. Read the results from Streamwalks 2004.; and 4) FRWA, with support from the CT DEP, is training volunteers to conduct aquatic insect surveys in key areas in the watershed. Results from these fall surveys are posted by the CT DEP in the late winter. Read last year’s statewide survey results.

Education

Watershed Education

FRWA has developed a place-based environmental curriculum consisting of 30 lessons for teachers to use at the elementary, secondary, and high school levels to communicate about the cultural, historical, wildlife, and water resources of the Farmington River Watershed. The lessons, training, and a cross-walk to current state curriculum standards are available for teachers in the watershed. In addition, the FRWA conducts annual educational canoe trips and makes presentations to municipalities, school groups, garden clubs, and other community organizations. Contact Aimee Petras if you have any education questions or curriculum requests.

Advocacy

Wild & Scenic

A 14-mile stretch of the Upper Farmington River (between Colebrook and Canton) was added to the national Wild & Scenic Rivers system in 1994. The Farmington River Coordinating Committee, upon which FRWA sits as a permanent member, was established with the Wild & Scenic designation and meets monthly to oversee management and conservation issues.

Because of the successes of Wild & Scenic on the Upper Farmington River, FRWA has proposed legislation (sponsored by Senators Christopher Dodd & Joseph Lieberman and Congressional Representatives Nancy Johnson and John Larson) to begin a study to consider conferring Wild & Scenic status on the Lower Farmington River (from Canton to the river’s mouth in Windsor) and on Salmon Brook (in East Granby, Granby, and Hartland). In September, 2005, FRWA was the only organization invited to testify on "The Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild & Scenic Study Act" before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Read bill S435.

FRWA is working to keep federal funding flowing in support of the Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers Program. This program supports many local conservation efforts in 8 states on the East Coast stretching from New Hampshire to Florida. In addition, of course, FRWA is working at the local, state, and federal level to support and protect strong environmental laws, and is assisting municipalities in complying with resource protection mandates (e.g., increased obligations to perform stormwater management).

Land Use

With leading support from the Gackstatter Foundation, FRWA is working with local towns, regional organizations and other non-profit organizations to implement land use changes that will protect the Farmington Valley’s unique and important natural legacy. Read more about the program and browse resources for protecting the Farmington Valley’s important natural areas on the Land Use Program page.

 
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