FRWA Aquatic Insect Sampling (RBV) Workshop (Indoors)- Wednesday October 1

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!

FRWA will hold our eleventh annual Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Sampling (RBV) Workshop on Wednesday, October 1st at FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury from 7-9 pm.  This indoor-only workshop on Wednesday evening will provide an overview of the RBV (Rapid Biomonitoring for Volunteers) program, demonstrate collection and identification techniques and explain the use of aquatic organisms in water quality monitoring.

Following the indoor training, participants will be able to participate in the FRWA in-stream Aquatic Insect sampling to be held on Saturday October 18th and/or join up with other experienced samplers during the fall throughout the Farmington River Watershed.

For the in-stream sampling, 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, new volunteers are paired with an experienced team leader for sampling and older children are welcome with an adult. Outdoor sampling will be held rain or shine; please dress for the weather and bring footwear to wade into the water (waders, water shoes or old sneakers). Space is limited, advance registration is required. Please contact FRWA at 860-658-4442 or email river@frwa to register.

Experienced samplers please contact FRWA to borrow equipment and sample your favorite stream riffle at your leisure and/or to sign up to be a team leader on the scheduled sampling day.

FRWA Aquatic Insect Sampling (RBV) Workshop (Indoors)

Wednesday, October 1st

7 to 9 p.m.

FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury


FRWA Aquatic Insect (RBV) Sampling (Outdoors, in-stream)

Saturday, October 18th 

(We’ll let you know where to meet after you sign up.)


Streambugs and Pond Critters Saturday September 20, 2014

Discover the fascinating underwater life of the watershed with the Farmington River Watershed Association as we explore Walton Pond and Poplar Swamp Brook at beautiful Winding Trails in Farmington.  Spend the morning pond-side and wading in the brook to observe, identify, and marvel at the life histories and ecology of insects and other creatures that inhabit still and flowing waters.  Learn how and why we use aquatic insects in our watershed-wide water quality monitoring.

We will provide nets, buckets and expertise; you need only bring your curious mind.  We meet at Nature’s Porch, Winding Trails’ beautiful certified Connecticut grown building.  We will go outdoors rain or shine.  Please dress for the weather and wear appropriate footwear to wade into shallow water (water shoes, old sneakers, or waders.)  Program is open to all ages but children must be accompanied by an adult.  Advance registration is required; please register through the Winding Trails website:

Led by: FRWA Water Quality & Projects Coordinator: Alisa Phillips-Griggs 

Saturday September 20, 2014

10 am to Noon


Nature’s Porch, Winding Trails, Farmington, CT


Should UConn Prime the Pump for Water Planning?

State water planning needs a project manager. The WPC is taking your comments about UConn’s offer to do the job. (See more info under Instructions for Public Comment.)

You may well remember the recent controversy over possibly piping drinking water from the Farmington Watershed to the University of Connecticut– and the bigger debate it triggered over how we make water supply decisions in Connecticut. After the political dust settled, UConn had chosen an alternate water supply, and new legislation, PA 14-163, mandated the development of a state water plan ASAP.   Hurray!

Now for a reality check.   Water planning costs money, and the legislature didn’t vote enough funds to fully support it. For planning to move forward on schedule, we need to find creative ways to get going. Even so, some were surprised to hear that a draft Memorandum of Understanding had been drawn up between the state Water Planning Council (WPC) and the University of Connecticut. UConn had offered resources to the WPC that could help solve the problem of state underfunding. The proposed agreement would accordingly give UConn an important role in the planning process.

UConn?   Just imagine the ringing phones at FRWA! People were exclaiming, “But last year they wanted to move water across the state for their own use!” and muttering about foxes running henhouses and conflicts of interest. FRWA communicated to the WPC in early August that the proposed agreement with UConn was worrisome, and requested that WPC allow for extra outreach to stakeholders on this point.   Despite looming deadlines, the Council responded. It deferred the MOU decision for a 30-day public comment period ending Sept. 5.  This gives more people a chance to actually read the draft MOU and, if concerned, make constructive suggestions.

What’s in it? The draft MOU states that “The services of UConn shall be limited to oversight and assistance in identifying, developing and recommending the processes necessary for the development of the Plan.”   UConn’s Associate Vice President for Strategic Projects, Thomas Callahan, would be charged at first with helping the WPC identify a process for developing the plan, a.k.a. “the plan for the plan.”   He would then oversee the process for developing the plan, over the next two and half years. The University would bear the cost of Mr. Callahan’s time. Also notable in the MOU is that the first task listed is to identify the process for stakeholder involvement in planning. So UConn’s assignment is primarily to manage the project, while including many participants, and answering to the WPC. (A link to the full MOU is below.)

It could be a good start– if all goes well. If the final MOU keeps these statements, and if the planning process is indeed inclusive, and if the legislature adds more funding, and if transparency and active outreach are kept up, and if political pressure can be maintained– then maybe this time all the dedicated professionals working on this project will finally be able to craft a plan. (FRWA’s comments are all the way under the link to the MOU)

An interim planning meeting held by the WPC on August 19 was encouraging—well attended, well organized, and collaborative rather than contentious, even with a wide variety of interests represented. FRWA supports their hard work on a complicated issue. At the same time, we are committed to advocating a plan that keeps water in our rivers and streams.

The Water Planning Council (WPC), established pursuant to Section 25-33o of the CGS has been charged to prepare, within available appropriations,  a state water plan for the management of the water resources of the state, in accordance with Public Act 14-163:

The public act specifies what shall be included and considered in the plan and requires that the plan be completed by July 1, 2017.

The law further allows, within available appropriations, for the Office of Policy and Management, on behalf of the Water Planning Council, to enter into one or more memoranda of understanding with independent consultants for advice or assistance in developing and compiling the state water plan.  Such assistance may include, but need not be limited to, data collection, storage and organization of data as deemed necessary by the Water Planning Council.

The University of Connecticut has offered to provide services at no cost to the Water Planning Council, under a Memorandum of Understanding, to provide assistance to the WPC in support of its efforts to create a state water plan as outlined in the attached DRAFT MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING:$FILE/draft%20WPC-UConn%20MOU.doc

The Water Planning Council is soliciting public comment, to be provided to the Council by September 5, 2014, on:

1.       the Draft Memorandum of Understanding with the University and any recommendations on the  process or conditions of the proposed agreement; and

2.       any recommended alternative approaches to develop the plan, with identification of anticipated costs and funding sources for such approaches

Comments should be emailed to:

or mailed to:

Water Planning Council
C/o Bruce Wittchen
Office of Policy & Management
450 Capitol Ave, MS# 54ORG
Hartford, CT 06106

All comments must be received by September 5, 2014.


Finally, FRWA’s Comments:

August 27,2014


Water Planning Council, c/o Bruce Wittchen
Office of Policy & Management
450 Capitol Ave, MS# 54ORG
Hartford, CT 06106

Comments from FRWA concerning the Council’s Draft MOU with the University of Connecticut.

Dear Members of the Water Planning Council,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the draft Memorandum of Understanding between the WPC and the University of Connecticut. Given your tight schedule for progress on the state water plan, granting a 30-day public comment period for this is a significant gesture to ensure transparency and public support, which FRWA fully appreciates.

As noted in FRWA’s letter to the Council on August 4, our primary concern is the need for interested parties in the Farmington Valley to review the MOU before it is finalized. In the past two years, individuals, town governments, and other organizations in the Farmington Valley raised strong objections to a proposal that Farmington Watershed (i.e., MDC) water be provided to UConn to meet its future water needs.   UConn’s water needs were seen by many (rightly or wrongly) as a threat to the historic management of the Farmington Watershed’s water.

For that reason, our regional stakeholders are especially anxious to satisfy themselves that the proposed MOU can in fact give UConn a leading role in statewide water planning without giving the University a disproportionate influence on water allocation. We expect that the terms of the draft MOU will for the most part address that concern. In any case, the comment period provides a forum for discussion.

FRWA has one suggestion for Phase 1(a)ii in the draft MOU. The statement “This assistance shall include, but not be limited, to… arrangement of educational presentations or workshops as needed” could be changed to “shall include, but not be limited to… arrangement of educational presentations or workshops as needed, including presentations recommended by the Water Planning Council Advisory Group.” The purpose is to facilitate occasional extra public outreach on occasions when Advisory Group members see a need to clarify the planning process for citizens in various interest groups. Public understanding is vital to continued legislative support.

FRWA agrees with other stakeholders that additional resources for supporting water planning should be explored, such as securing adequate state funding or engaging pro bono help where practical. This does not mean that the MOU with UConn should be scrapped, but rather that all opportunities be considered as the plan is developed.


Eileen Fielding, Executive Director

HELP NEEDED: Farmington River Clean-Up September 27th

The Farmington River Watershed Association’s (FRWA) 27th Annual Farmington River Clean-up is set for Saturday, September 27th, from 10:00am to 2:00pm.

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, Canton, 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 email

FRCC 20th Anniversary Picnic

Enjoy Your River on a Midsummer Afternoon

FRCC 20th Anniversary Picnic—Saturday June 22, 2014 from 1-5 pm

Treat yourself and the family to a day at the river! This June, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Farmington West Branch becoming a national Wild & Scenic River. There will be festivities for all, including;

guided tours and walks,

games for kids,

boating and fishing demonstrations,

stories from the past,

wildlife exhibits from CT DEEP,

streambug searches,

live music by Travelin’ Trout Band, and

good food!

This free event, sponsored by the Farmington River Coordinating Committee, is on Sunday, June 22, 2014 (Rain or Shine!) from 1:00—5:00 pm at Peoples State Forest, East River Road, in Barkhamsted. Come on by!


Watershed Wisdom Canoe Trip

Saturday August 2, 9:00 am: Paddle the river with FRWA as we share our watershed knowledge and pool our staff to reflect on the river. Ask us anything, share your concerns, and see how we view the river.  Join us for a long leisurely trip down the river. You will have our undivided attention; especially if you sharing a boat with one of us!

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: $20; Have a boat: $15; Non-members: Need a boat: $25; Have a boat: $20



Twilight on the River Canoe Trip

Saturday July 19, 5:45 pm, with Jay Kaplan

Paddle the River 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 flora and fauna 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: $20; Have a boat: $15; Non-members: Need a boat: $25; Have a boat: $20


Farmington River Archeology Canoe Trip

Saturday July 12, 9:00am, with Ken Feder

Paddle along our own ancient Native American canoe trail as we explore the fascinating culture of the people who inhabited the Farmington River Valley thousands of years ago. Learn about the latest archeological discoveries from Ken Feder, Professor of Anthropology, Central Connecticut State University, and founder of the Farmington River Archeology Project.

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: $20; Have a boat: $15; Non-members: Need a boat: $25; Have a boat: $20

Giving for Good: A Guide to Smarter Giving

Tuesday June 10th, 4:00 PM, Simsbury Free Library

Do you want to be a more powerful force for causes you care about?   Learn how to support your chosen charities with giving strategies that can magnify your gift. Some are far easier than you’d expect! Nancy Fellinger, CFP® (Certified Financial Planner) with Coburn & Meredith, Inc. will be on hand to discuss some ideas for giving plans and answer your questions during this informal gathering. Among her other professional designations she is also a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy®, and she has extensive experience as a board member with several organizations. This free session is open to all with an interest in the subject.

Tuesday, June 10th, 4:00 PM at the Simsbury Free Library (just downstairs from the FRWA office headquarters), 749 Hopmeadow Street.


Bacteria For Naturalists – June 7th, 1-3pm

There are far more bacteria on Earth than there are stars in the universe, they make up most of the living biomass on the planet and their influence on the environment is vast and profound, yet due to their microscopic size, they are mostly overlooked. Many bacteria, however, can be identified by macroscopic field marks, characteristics that anyone can see, smell, or sometimes even hear without the use of a microscope. Betsey Dexter Dyer, Professor of Biology at Wheaton College and author of A Field Guide to Bacteria, will lead us on the “mother of all nature walks” as we search through stream, pond, forest and wetland for signs of bacteria.

Note: This walk is oriented towards curious naturalists with some background in biology. Registration is required by 3 days prior by registering online at You can find it by looking through their program listings or by using the following link: