FRWA Aquatic Insect Sampling Workshop: October 13, 9 am to 2 pm

FRWA holds our annual Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Survey this fall in Connecticut’s Upper Farmington River Watershed. Volunteers are needed to help sample for aquatic insects as indicators of water quality. Explore the fascinating life of local streams throughout the Farmington River Watershed!

We begin with an indoor workshop to demonstrate collection and identification techniques and explain the use of aquatic organisms in water quality monitoring. Following the indoor training and lunch, teams will move out to sample various Farmington River Watershed streams. Participants wade into the water, collect organisms into a net, sort and identify and preserve a representative sample for verification. The program follows CT DEEP Rapid Biomonitoring for Volunteers (RBV) protocol and results help FRWA and the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection monitor water quality changes in the Farmington River Watershed.

No previous experience necessary, older children welcome with adult. Lunch will be provided, bring footwear to wade into the water (waders, water shoes or old sneakers). Program will be held rain or shine; please dress for the weather. Space is limited, advance registration is required. Please contact FRWA at 860-658-4442 or email to register.

Saturday, October 13, 9 am to 2 pm, Squire’s Tavern, Peoples State Forest, Pleasant Valley

UPDATED: FRWA Raffles a Guild Guitar!

FRWA Raffles Guild D-40 Guitar

We have a winner in our guitar raffle!  At the raffle drawing, held Nov. 15 at 6 PM at the FRWA office, the winning ticket belonged to Chuck Bird of Burlington, CT.  Congratulations to Chuck and our sincere thanks to all who participated in the raffle! Chuck and his friend Paul Willis are active in Friends of Sessions Woods– and may actually use the guitar in a second fundraiser for their own conservation organization!  Will keep you posted…

Last year we had so much fun and the response was so enthusiastic that we decided to do it again!  This time, the Grand Prize guitar is a Guild D-40 Bluegrass Jubilee in Natural with Case, built in New Hartford, Connecticut by Guild Guitars (  It has a list value of $3,199.99 .  Notable guitarists who played a Guild D-40 include Richie Havens (during Woodstock and beyond) and Pat Metheny.

Like last year, a very limited number of tickets have been printed so your chances are good!  Tickets are $20 each and all proceeds go to support FRWA’s programs.  Drawing will take place on November 15, 6pm at the Simsbury Free Library.  Winner need not be present to win.  Act now to get a chance to own a guitar played by the very best!

Contact us at the FRWA office for tickets: (860) 658-4442 ext “0”.

Spoonville Dam is gone!

Spoonville Dam is gone from Tariffville Gorge!  Demolition of this derelict dam, breached since 1955, started on July 9.  By July 31 the dam and its fragments were removed.

Spoonville Dam after removal in end of July

Workers from Gleim Environmental Group, a dam removal company based in Pennsylvania, hammered the concrete structure into fragments that were trucked out of the river and recycled.   When the work was complete, the river channel had been restored to the bedrock ledge that the dam had been built upon.  

With the dam gone, migrating fish from the Atlantic Ocean, such as American shad (our state fish), will be better able to move upstream to reach their historic breeding areas in the Farmington River.   This improvement in fish passage is one step in a multi-part process of restoring the river as a migratory route for shad, alewife, blueback herring, lampreys, and sea-run trout.  Other steps needed are new fish passage facilities at

Rainbow Dam in Windsor, Winchell Smith Dam in Farmington, and the Collinsville Dams in Avon/Burlington/Canton.   But removal of Spoonville dam is already beneficial, as it allows year-round resident fish species to travel upstream or downstream to find the best habitats.People benefit from the removal too, though whitewater paddlers miss the dramatic play feature provided by the breach in the dam.  Swimming and boating in this part of the river are now safer, and the fishing should remain good!  We extend hearty thanks to all our project partners, including Princeton Hydro Engineering, Gleim Environmental Group, CT DEEP, CL&P (the dam owners), and all the members of FRWA whose support makes work like this possible!

Fun facts about Spoonville Dam’s removal

Before removal

Spoonville Dam in early July before removal

  • Date the dam was constructed:  1899, to supply electric power to Hartford
  • First major flood that threatened the dam: 1900
  • Major flood that broke the dam: 1955
  • Size of structure removed (not including fragments):  128 ft long, 25 ft  high, 30 feet thick
  • Amount of concrete taken out of river:  About 2,000 cubic yards
  • Stone brought in to support construction vehicles (and brought back out afterward): 1200 tons
  • Number of American shad migrating up Connecticut River in 2012:  499,132
  • Number of American shad counted in the Farmington River in 2012:  174
  • Estimated number of adult American shad the Farmington River could support:  20,000

Farmington River Clean-Up – Help Us and Volunteer!


The Farmington River Watershed Association’s (FRWA) 25th Annual Farmington River Clean-up is set for Saturday, September 29th, from 9:30am to 2:00pm.

Want to help keep our beautiful river clean for our enjoyment, our communities, and the habitat of animals? Then please join us and other volunteers for the annual Clean-Up! The Clean-up is a great community event designed to get people and groups of all ages involved in cleaning up litter along the banks of the Farmington River and its tributaries.  Several meeting sites will be actively cleaning the banks of the River in Avon, Barkhamsted, Bloomfield, Burlington, Farmington, Granby, Simsbury and Windsor. Garbage bags and gloves are provided to all participants, through generous donations from local businesses and stores.

After the Clean-up, volunteers are invited to FRWA’s headquarters for a family picnic where refreshments, sandwiches and pizza will be served.  FRWA’s office is located at 749 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury, CT.

For more information on how you can help with the Farmington River Clean-up and to register for a specific site, please call FRWA at (860)-658-4442, extension 0 or visit their website at


MDC Offers Free Rain Barrels to Service Area Residents!

The MDC has announced that they are offering (limited) free rain barrels on a first-come, first-serve basis to residents of MDC member towns (Bloomfield, East Hartford, Hartford, Newington, Rocky Hill, West Hartford, Wethersfield and Windsor).

To learn more about how you can get a rain barrel (one per household) from the MDC, please direct your request to: Ellen Tedford, The Metropolitan District,, 860.278.7850 ext. 3224.

See the articles in the West Hartford Patch and Hartford Courant for more information.

Removal of Spoonville Dam in Summer 2012!

This summer, FRWA will coordinate removal of the Spoonville Dam on the Farmington River. The dam, owned by CT Light and Power, will become history thanks to a partnership effort by FRWA, CL&P, and CT DEEP. The removal will help make the river and its tributaries accessible to migratory fish that have historically spawned there, such as American shad (our state fish), river herring, American eels, and others. It is also expected to enhance whitewater paddling in Tariffville Gorge, a popular recreation area, and improve safety of river recreation at the Gorge. To learn more about this exciting river restoration project, go to our Spoonville Dam FAQ page

Wild Edibles Evening Saunter with Russ Cohen

Join FRWA and renowned foraging expert and enthusiast Russ Cohen for a walk through Stratton Brook State Park on Tuesday July 10, from 6 to 8 pm, in search of wild food. Central Connecticut is home to over 100 species of edible wild plants, many of which are more nutritious and/or flavorful than their cultivated counterparts.

Russ Cohen author of Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten, will lead a two-hour walk to learn about edible wild plants. Keys to the identification of each species will be provided, along with edible portions, seasons of availability and preparation methods, along with guidelines for safe and environmentally responsible foraging. Stratton Brook State Park, Simsbury. Fees: FRWA members: $15, non-members: $20. Pre-registration required, please call FRWA at (860) 658-4442 or email

Morning Paddle in Simsbury – Canoe Trip

Join FRWA for a paddle through Simsbury from the Pinchot Sycamore to Curtiss Park on July 28th starting at 9 am. Learn about Land Management issues along the river with input from both FRWA and Simsbury Land Trust on their efforts to protect the river and its corridor. Naturalist Diane Tucker from the Hill-Stead Museum will also join us, to observe and comment on the natural features and wildlife of the river.

To participate in any of these events pre-registration is required.
Space is limited and trips sell out quickly so please contact FRWA at
(860) 658-4442, or email: to register.

Canoe trips take from 2-4 hours and paddlers must be able to handle
a canoe in flat water. Canoes courtesy of Huck Finn Adventures,
Collinsville, CT.

Cost per person: Members: Need a boat: $15; Have a boat: $10; Nonmembers:
Need a boat: $20; Have a boat: $15

Twilight on the River with Jay Kaplan – Canoe Trip

Paddle the River with FRWA on July 21st starting at 5:45 pm in the cool of evening in the company of great blue herons, muskrats, beavers, and other crepuscular wildlife. Enjoy a little night music orchestrated by native songbirds and singing insects. Jay Kaplan, Naturalist and Director of Roaring Brook Nature Center in Canton will share his vast knowledge of local plants and animals visible and/or audible along the River at sunset. (Trip lands after nightfall.)

To participate in any of these events pre-registration is required. Space is limited and trips sell out quickly so please contact FRWA at (860) 658-4442, or email: to register.

Canoe trips take from 2-4 hours and paddlers must be able to handle a canoe in flat water. Canoes courtesy of Huck Finn Adventures, Collinsville, CT.

Cost per person: Members: Need a boat: $15; Have a boat: $10; Nonmembers:

Need a boat: $20; Have a boat: $15