Watch CT Legislators Announce New Federal Efforts to Protect the Lower Farmington River & Salmon Brook

FRWA is pleased to share the following video of Congressmen Chris Murphy and John Larson, and Senators Richard Blumenthal and Joe Lieberman's remarks announcing new legislation to create a U.S. National Park Service Wild and Scenic Rivers Act protective designation for the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook, through the ten towns of Avon, Bloomfield, Burlington, Canton, East Granby, Farmington, Granby, Hartland, Simsbury, and Windsor.  If you cannot play the video below, please click on this link to go to the CT-N website:

Join FRWA at the Red Stone Pub on Wednesday, May 23rd 6-9

Come support the FRWA at the Red Stone Pub, 10 Mall Way, Simsbury, CT.

Relax with friends and guest bartenders, Jerry Cohen and Tony Healy; a percentage of drink sales will be contributed to the Farmington River Watershed Association. Donations gratefully accepted.

Help ensure a future for the Farmington Watershed where forests outnumber outsized
parking lots, where you have options to walk, ride, or paddle along a wildlife-rich river, and where community members work together to keep this natural resource a treasure for all.

Red Stone Pub offers a casual place for simple food and drink in this refurbished, turn-of-the-twentieth-century carriage house. Its home at the Courtyard Building possesses characteristics of colonial Boston, with repurposed barn doors, exposed masonry walls, a brick fireplace and a red-stone facade. The bar offers a wide selection of wines and draft and bottled beers.

Red Stone Pub
10 Mall Way, Simsbury, CT 860-217-1744

Lower Wild & Scenic Farmington & Salmon Brook Press Conference

On Monday, May 21 at 11:00 am at the Tariffville Mill (2 Tunxis Road, Tariffville, CT 06081) there will be a press conference with Congressmen Chris Murphy and John Larson, and Senators Joe Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal announcing that the Lower Farmington River & Salmon Brook Wild & Scenic River Act Bill (Number HR. 4360) has been introduced to the House of Representatives.

We hope you can join us for this exciting event.  If you cannot attend or would like to learn more about the bill, visit the Library of Congress’s THOMAS website where you can track any bill introduced in Washington.  To track the Wild & Scenic Bill, simply enter in “HR. 4360” and you can keep track of the bill as it goes through the process.

Important Conservation Vote in Simsbury on May 15th – Ethel Walker Woods

FRWA urges our members in Simsbury to vote yes on the Ethel Walker Woods Phase II referendum on May 15th, 2012.  Voting Yes on Question 4 will approve the 2.05 Million Dollar appropriation for Phase 2A of the Ethel Walker Woods conservation.  Of the 2.05 Million Dollar appropriation, one third of the money has been secured by state and federal grants.  If this fails to pass, the $1,000,000 deposit made in 2007 (passed Nov 2006) will be forfeited, $691,000 in grant funding will be lost and the 90 acres of Phase 2 A and 2 B will be vulnerable to future development.

For more information on the Ethel Walker Woods Project, please visit keepthewoods.org or The Trust for Public Land.
For a compelling reason to support this project’s second phase please read this fact sheet on the project from the Highlands Conservation Act.  The text of this document has been copied and pasted below:

The State of Connecticut requests Highlands Conservation Act funds to protect Phase II of the Ethel Walker Property–91 acres of ecologically rich forest, streams, meadows and floodplains. The Town of Simsbury, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land and The Ethel Walker School, permanently protected 336 acres in the first phase of this effort in July 2007. At closing, the Town made a $1 million non-refundable deposit on an option to purchase the remaining 91 acres.

The Ethel Walker land contains class I watershed land and is the primary recharge area for the Stratton Brook Aquifer. This aquifer supplies numerous private wells and provides drinking water to more than 10,000 residents.

There are extensive pubic hiking and equestrian trails here. Large stands of mature conifers support more than 60 forest nesting and migratory bird species. The American Bittern, a CT endangered species, has been documented here by the Hartford Audubon Society. Stratton Brook supports native Eastern Brook Trout, in decline throughout CT.

Ethel Walker is contiguous with several preserved properties; if all 427 acres here are preserved, the property would form the core of 1,400 acres of open space. This unique property has been an open space priority for the town and the State of Connecticut for many years.

If a Tree Falls in the River…

Is that a problem? Well, it depends. Downed trees or branches (a.k.a Large Woody Debris) benefit river life in general by providing food and habitat. And they provide lurking places for those really big fish that anglers love to catch. A tree should be left where it is whenever possible. But sometimes a downed tree in the river is a genuine danger to boaters or property.

To find the balance between fish habitat and boater hazard, ask yourself: Is there a safe way to paddle under or around the tree in both high and low water? Is there a safe route to portage around it without trespassing? Can a passage be made by cutting some branches away? Is there a hazard of boats being pinned by the current
against the trunk? More about these situations can be found at www.outdoors.org/rivers.

If you feel that action should be taken for boater safety, take these steps before you cut: First, consult with the riverbank landowners and your town Wetlands Commission for any needed permission to work on the riverbank. You might also consult with the local Department of Public Works or a local boating group, or the CT DEEP Inland Fisheries Division’s Habitat Conservation and Enhancement program (860-424-3474). Also, you can follow the advice in the CT DEEP’s Large Woody Debris Fact Sheet, at http://www.ct.gov/dep/lib/dep/fishing/restoration/largewoodydebrisfactsheet.pdf.

Did the tree in the river get there by beaver intervention?  Check out the DEEP's fact sheet on beavers in Connecticut.

Farmington Resident Helps Restore Farmington River

Habitat restoration in the Farmington River just took a big step forward, thanks to a major gift of $250,000 from Prudence Pease Cutler to the Farmington River Watershed Association.  “There are no words which could accurately depict how much this means to all of us who are dedicated to the FRWA and its mission,” said Michael Gagne, President of FRWA.  The gift is in memory of R. Dennis Cutler, a longtime resident of Farmington who rowed and fly fished on the river and whose family has strong ties to the Farmington River.  Mr. Cutler’s sisters were Helen Winter of the Helen Winter Grist Mill and Ruth (June) Chapman Ford, co-owner of the Mill Race Bookstore.  The gift will support the

construction of a rock ramp fishway over the Grist Mill (Winchell Smith) Dam. The ramp will mimic the appearance and function of a natural rapid, opening the way for American shad and river herring to get past the dam and swim upstream to historic spawning grounds. The gift can also be used to enhance recreational access to the river at the Grist Mill site or other local areas of the river. It is expected that preparations for the Grist Mill fishway project will begin in late 2012 or early 2013.

March 31, 2012, Watershed Wander, Canton Town Hall Auditorium

Watershed Wander, Saturday, March 31, 2 pm, Canton Town Hall Auditorium: An exploration of how the Farmington River works its way downhill to Long Island Sound and how animals of the Farmington River live, eat, travel, and rest in water that’s always on the move. The presentation will combine pictures and stories, and create movement for participants of all ages. Followed by an exciting performance of Sonia Plumb Dance Company’s “Water Wars” – a dance about our relationship to water. Free; no pre-registration. More information about “Water Wars” at: www.soniaplumbdance.org

Paddle & Pedal Simsbury, 10 am

Paddle and Pedal Simsbury, Saturday May 19,
10 am: Bring your bike and meet FRWA at the Pinchot Sycamore, where Collinsville Canoe and Kayak will supply canoes or kayaks for an easy flatwater paddle downstream to Curtiss Park. We will bring your bicycles to the take-out so you can bike back to your car on the Farmington River bike trail. On the way, take a leisurely detour into
town to enjoy the day’s Art Walk exhibits or stop for lunch! Bicycling distance about 4.5 miles. Preregistration required. Cost: $15/member, $20/nonmember.  Call (860) 658-4442 ext “0” to register. See you there!

Fabulous Fish for the Farmington Gala and Auction – April 22, 2012

The Farmington River Watershed Association and REI West Hartford have partnered to present the second Fabulous Fish for the Farmington silent auction and gala to be held at REI West Hartford on Earth Day, April 22, 2012 from 7 to 9 pm. There will be good food, friends, music, and we will be auctioning off the most fabulous fish ever!  Last held in 2010, the Fabulous Fish fundraiser proved to be one of the most successful fundraisers for the Farmington River Watershed Association.

Drawing on the talents of locally, nationally and internationally known artists, life-size Dogfish from the 2010 Auctionwooden fish will be individually decorated and auctioned off, proceeds help protect water quality and foster environmental stewardship throughout the Farmington River Watershed.  Designs for the Fabulous Fish are inspired by the natural diversity of the watershed, the beauty of fish, and the creativity of the artists.

Come for a night of fun and your chance to bid on some fabulous folk-art fish. Check out http://fabulousfishforthefarmington.blogspot.com/ to view fish from the 2010 auction. Fish blanks are available for fish artists at FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury during normal business hours. We request a small donation per fish blank to cover expenses. For more information about the event, please call 860.658-4442. Celebrate the Watershed through the “fin” arts.

April 22, 7 to 9 pm

REI, 71 Raymond Road, Blue Back Square, West Hartford