BEER TASTING May 18th to benefit the FRWA

Join the FRWA at Thomas Hooker Brewery to celebrate and protect the pristine water of our watershed while enjoying a beer tasting fundraiser!

Tickets include: incredible live music, unlimited beer tastings and a tour of the state-of the-art brewery. You can also join in the excitement of our “beer cup” auction with a wide variety of GREAT prizes and partake of the delicious and unique gourmet pretzels from The Comfort Zone Food Truck which will be parked on site (a portion of all pretzels sold will be donated back to FRWA – that’s a nice twist!).

We will also have snacks and soft drinks on hand! Tell your friends and family to come as well as we toast and support the amazing work of FRWA!

FREE EVENT: Natural Lawn Care, Thursday, April 27 6:00 pm

The FRWA and the New Hartford Land Trust want you to get your lawn in shape without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Skeptical? Attend the upcoming workshop!

Aimee Petras, Education & Outreach Coordinator for the FRWA will talk tips for mowing, seeding, watering and ways to manage common weeds and pests that can complicate natural lawn care. She will cover six rules of a green lawn and will also address weeds, grubs and other lawn problems. Bring your questions! Learn new ways to maintain your lawn. For more information, e-mail newhartfordlandtrust@yahoo.com or call 860-480-4844.

EVENT: Natural Lawn Care Presentation – April 29, 2017, 9:00 – 10:30 am

Aimee Petras, Education & Outreach Coordinator for the Farmington River Watershed Association wants you to get your lawn in shape without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

Skeptical?  Attend her upcoming workshop on April 29 from 9-10:30 am at Winding Trails in Farmington.  She will outline tips for mowing, seeding, watering and ways to manage common weeds and pests that can complicate natural lawn care. You will leave knowing steps you need to take including getting a soil test through mowing techniques. Additionally, we’ll delve into common lawn problems such as grubs and thatch. Registration is required by three days prior. Register here: https://www.windingtrails.org/register/?id=717. 

EVENT: The Future of Our Forests: Stewarding Our Lands Thoughtfully

6:00 p.m. | Simsbury Public Library Program Room
RSVP’s are required by April 10

The Town of Simsbury, the Simsbury Land Trust, the Canton Land Conservation Trust and the Farmington River Watershed Association cordially invite you to attend:

The Future of Our Forests: Stewarding Our Lands Thoughtfully

This Regional Forum will feature Dr. Edward Faison, Senior Ecologist from Highstead, a regional organization in Redding, CT dedicated to forest research and long term monitoring. Dr. Faison will present information on how municipalities and land trusts can establish a landscape and historical approach to stewarding our protected preserves and better understand How, When and Why we should monitor and manage our forests.

We will provide a light supper at 6:00 pm with the program starting at 7:00 pm on April 17 in the Program Room at the Simsbury Public Library, 725 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury CT.

Questions and RSVP’s (by April 10th) to Helen Peterson, hkpeterson@comcast.net.

S. 617 Passes Committee!

FRWA note: Follow the Bill Progress here:  S.617 Progress

Just two weeks after reintroducing the bill in the Senate, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) applauded the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday for passing the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act – legislation Murphy has sponsored since serving in the House of Representatives that would create a U.S. National Park Service protective designation for the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook. The bill, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) and cosponsored by U.S. Representative John Larson (CT-1), now awaits passage in the Senate.

“Connecticut residents have spent more than a decade working hard to protect the Farmington River and Salmon Brook, and today’s passage is proof that my colleagues in Washington are paying attention,” said Murphy. “We’re now another step closer to getting this bill signed into law. I won’t stop fighting until we do.”

“Today’s passage is great news for all of us who have been tirelessly fighting to protect and preserve this truly wild and scenic treasure. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this bill across the finish line.”

With protective designation as a “wild and scenic river,” the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook – which runs through ten Connecticut towns – could receive as much as $100,000 in federal funding to assist volunteers and officials with conservation efforts. The upper portion of the river was given protected status in 1994.

Murphy, Esty, Blumenthal, and Larson have continuously pushed for the Lower Farmington River’s Wild & Scenic designation. Last year, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act for the first time ever. Former U.S. Representative Nancy Johnson, who was Murphy’s predecessor in the U.S. House of Representatives, helped enact legislation that initiated the study on which the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act is based. The study was completed in 2011 and confirmed the suitability of designating the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook as Wild & Scenic.

World Water Day – Mar. 22, 2017

HARTFORD, CONN. – Eight organizations from across Connecticut are coming together to celebrate water on United Nations World Water Day, March 22.WWD2017

Clean Water Action, Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound, Connecticut River Watershed Council, Eightmile Wild & Scenic Watershed, Farmington River Watershed Association, Rivers Alliance of Connecticut, The Nature Conservancy, and Salmon River Watershed Partnership have developed a brief document highlighting successes and challenges of Connecticut’s water stewardship. The document will be distributed to state legislators, agencies, residents, and other stakeholders in Connecticut’s water future on World Water Day.

“Connecticut has had tremendous victories in protecting drinking water and restoring rivers, but at the same time, there are ongoing threats to the quality and quantity of our water,” said Karen Burnaska, water projects coordinator for CFE/Save the Sound. “Today our organizations are showing solidarity with communities affected by water pollution, drought, or industrial over-use of water resources.”

The alliance of statewide organizations and watershed associations is calling on the lawmakers to safeguard Connecticut’s water resources when setting policy.  Anne Hulick, Connecticut director for Clean Water Action, said, “It was not long ago that rivers were dumping grounds for debris and toxic chemicals and the Cuyahoga River caught fire. World Water Day is a day to celebrate how far we’ve come and to make sure we continue to protect this most precious resource.”

“Water sustains life in all forms on Earth. In Connecticut, The Nature Conservancy works with private citizens, businesses, other nonprofits and public agencies to protect water quality, stream flows, aquatic and wetland habitats and our coastlines—for people and nature,” said Sally Harold, director of river restoration and fish passage for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

Pat Young, of the Eightmile Wild & Scenic Watershed and Salmon River Watershed Partnership, said, “World Water Day is a reminder that the work we do at a watershed level everyday helps protect water resources for future generations. Healthy watersheds are healthy communities!”

“Every day of the year, we benefit from Connecticut’s water resources,” added Eileen Fielding, executive director of the Farmington River Watershed Association. “World Water Day is a moment to appreciate what we have, and ask what we can do to conserve and protect water in our state and worldwide.”
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Murphy, Esty, Blumenthal, Larson reintroduce Wild & Scenic Bill to protect Lower Farmington River

WASHINGTON – Building on a nearly decade-long, community-driven effort, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), joined by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representative John Larson (CT-1), reintroduced their Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act to create a U.S. National Park Service protective designation for the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook. With protective designation as a “Wild and Scenic River,” the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook – which runs through ten Connecticut towns – would be eligible to receive as much as $100,000 in federal funding to support conservation efforts. (Follow the Bill Progress here:  S.617 Progress)

“The Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic Act is the product of years of hard work by passionate Connecticut residents who want to protect the natural beauty of our state. Congress should listen to them,” said Murphy. “I started working on this issue as soon as I got to Congress nearly 10 years ago, and we haven’t stopped fighting for it. I hope we’ll get this over the finish line soon.”

“The Farmington River is an economic and environmental treasure for our state,” Esty said. “Families from across Connecticut and around the world travel to the Farmington River to enjoy the fishing, boating, and other recreational opportunities it offers. This bill is good for our communities, our economy, and our environment. By passing this bill, we can ensure that we preserve this environmental treasure for generations to come.” 

“This measure will help protect and preserve the Farmington River—a truly wild and scenic treasure that brings both economic and recreational benefits. I am hopeful that my colleagues will come together to ensure this precious natural resource receives this designation and much-needed federal resources, so the Farmington River can be enjoyed by many generations to come,” said Blumenthal 

“The Farmington River and Salmon Brook are some of Connecticut’s most treasured resources that provide natural beauty, support ecological diversity, and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.  I am pleased to join my colleagues in reintroducing this legislation to designate these rivers as ‘wild and scenic’.  This designation is crucial in protecting this body of water for generations to come,” said Larson.

The Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook runs through the following Connecticut towns: Avon, Bloomfield, Burlington, Canton, East Granby, Farmington, Granby, Hartland, Simsbury, and Windsor. The upper portion of the river was given protected status in 1994.

Murphy, Esty, Blumenthal, and Larson have introduced similar legislation previously, and have continuously pushed for the Lower Farmington River’s Wild & Scenic designation. Last year, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act for the first time ever. Former U.S. Representative Nancy Johnson, who was Murphy’s predecessor in the U.S. House of Representatives, helped enact legislation that initiated the study on which the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act is based. The study was completed in 2011 and confirmed the suitability of designating the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook as Wild & Scenic.

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FRWA Hiring: Assistant Project Manager, “River Smart” Outreach (PT)

The Farmington River Watershed Association (FRWA) is a well-established non-profit citizens group whose mission is to preserve, protect, and restore the Farmington River and its watershed through research, education, and advocacy.   One important way to restore the river is by reducing stormwater runoff.  Stormwater pollution remains the leading cause of poor water quality in the Farmington basin; it also degrades the receiving waters of Long Island Sound.  For FRWA, engaging people in stormwater pollution prevention is a high priority.

FRWA seeks an experienced outreach staffer to help coordinate and lead “River Smart Outreach for Runoff Reduction,” a grant-funded program to foster good water stewardship by youth and other groups in urbanized communities in and around the Farmington River watershed.   This is a part-time position funded through Dec. 2017.  Hours will vary, averaging 10-12 per week but ranging from zero to about 20 depending on demand.  Evening and weekend hours are occasionally required.  The Assistant Project Manager will report to the Outreach and Education Coordinator, and work with all three of FRWA’s full-time staff on project implementation.

Qualifications

This position requires a good organizer, with people skills, communication talent, and subject knowledge.  The IDEAL candidate

  • Is personable, self-motivated, imaginative, creative, detail-oriented, and genuinely enjoys challenges and building working relationships with a variety of people.
  • Has excellent verbal and written communication skills, can edit websites and use various social media to enhance participation, and can help design vibrant publications and displays.
  • Has a strong interest and background in river protection, pollution prevention, Long Island Sound, or related environmental issues. A degree in biology, natural resources, or related field is a plus.
  • Has successfully coordinated community groups /volunteers for programs, events, or workdays.
  • Has led youth groups in outdoor field trips, education programs, and/or hands-on projects.

Duties include but are not limited to…

  • Helping FRWA grow relationships with organizations and watershed residents. This entails phone calls and emails, scheduling meetings, preparing meeting materials, following up on action items, and maintaining contacts over time.
  • Working with FRWA staff to schedule programs and events and organize them. This entails proactive planning, coordinating partners, confirming times, places, and participants, creating and distributing publicity, gathering and providing materials, guiding volunteers, etc.
  • Helping develop an interactive River Smart exhibit to be used at public events and venues. This may entail researching exemplary traveling exhibits, locating and pricing source materials, writing text, assembling the display, testing various activities with audiences, seeking out appropriate events and venues, and scheduling use of the exhibit.
  • Presenting River Smart and other material in person at libraries, museums, local festivals, etc.
  • Facilitating and documenting actions taken by participants in the River Smart pledge program, and following up with individuals as needed.
  • Helping lead field trips or other activities for students / youth group(s) involved in River Smart.
  • Posting River Smart stories and successes on social media and/or website blog, using online tools that maximize reach and feedback.
  • Keeping clear, up-to-date records and providing complete, timely reports as needed.

Compensation

Starts at $15/hr; higher rate for exceptional candidate may be considered.

Position may require a background check.

To Apply

Mail cover letter, resume, and 3 references to:

River Smart Job Search, FRWA
749 Hopmeadow Street
Simsbury, CT  06070

Or email application materials as pdf attachments to efielding@frwa.org

Deadline March 15 or until filled.

FRWA Hiring: Seasonal River Stewards, Summer 2017 (PT)

The Farmington River Watershed Association (FRWA) is accepting applications for two River Stewards for summer 2017.  River Stewards will work in the field, laboratory, and office on several projects, including weekly water quality sampling and analysis; assessments of aquatic animal passage at road-stream crossings as weather permits; outreach (live and online) to promote safe and responsible river recreation; and assisting with FRWA’s “River Smart” outreach activities.

Background.  The Farmington River is one of the most popular recreational rivers in Connecticut, with world-class trout fishing and whitewater paddling reaches, plus flatwater stretches and riverside trails.  It has small scale hydropower, and provides drinking water for over 450,000 people in greater Hartford.  Though intensively managed, it still faces challenges to its water quality and aquatic life.

FRWA is the private, non-profit organization, founded in 1953, that is dedicated to preserving, protecting, and restoring the Farmington River and its watershed.  (see www.frwa.org.)  Seasonal positions at FRWA provide broad experience in watershed management, monitoring, planning, and public education, and balancing the many demands made on this natural resource.

Overview.  River Steward seasonal staff are based in FRWA’s office in Simsbury, CT.  They have responsibilities typical for entry-level professional positions in watershed associations (details below).  Their work entails travel throughout watershed towns as needed.  Seasonal staff are expected to work up to 24 hours per week, depending on need and weather, for up to 11 weeks from late May or early June through early to mid-August.   Most work is during regular weekday hours; early morning or early evening hours are sometimes needed.

Seasonal staff participate in:

Water quality monitoring.  FRWA provides water quality data to the CT DEEP as part of state compliance with the Clean Water Act;  data collection and analysis is therefore held to a high standard.   Monitoring is ongoing throughout the season and requires at least one seasonal staff every Monday and Tuesday.   It includes training; collecting water samples from the field; laboratory preparation and analysis of samples for bacteria, data quality assurance and entry.  Other tasks may include placing temperature data loggers, choosing additional sampling sites, and field collection of benthic macroinvertebrates.

Stream crossing assessments.   Seasonal staff will work with FRWA staff to evaluate road-stream crossings (culverts and bridges) in the lower Farmington River for their ability to allow passage of aquatic animals.  The process also identifies crossings vulnerable to failure in extreme storm events.  We use the protocol of the North Atlantic Aquatic Continuity Collaborative (NAACC), used by other agencies and organizations throughout the Northeast.   Data are uploaded to a regional database for viewing and analysis.  Seasonal staff undergo mandatory training and testing in the protocol; obtain and record data at field sites; and assist with reviewing and uploading data.  Note, this work is highly dependent on appropriate stream flow conditions.  Drought will significantly reduce the hours available.

Public education and outreach.  This may entail face-to-face interaction with recreational users to encourage safe practices and good river etiquette, maintaining a lively online presence for FRWA on our website and in social media, and participating in programs, events, and field trips for youth and the general public.  A high priority in summer 2017 is assisting with FRWA’s “River Smart” outreach program.  Its objective is to engage people in adopting practices that reduce polluted stormwater runoff. 

Qualifications.  The ideal candidate is an advanced undergraduate or recent graduate, highly motivated to pursue environmental management, restoration, or advocacy as a profession.  Coursework in environmental science and experience in field work and data collection are strongly preferred.   A can-do attitude, imagination, interest in learning, flexible response to circumstances, “people skills,” and good humor are important.

Job Requirements.  Seasonal staff are expected to:

  • Work well on a team or independently, and be at ease with a variety of people;
  • Have excellent written, verbal, and online communication skills;
  • Represent FRWA in a friendly and professional manner;
  • Have their own reliable transportation at all times;
  • Commit and adjust to weekly hours that vary with weather and task;
  • Climb up and down steep banks and wade in rocky streams;
  • Paddle a canoe or kayak in flatwater or mild current (Class 1-2);
  • Work outdoors and cope with poison ivy, thorns, ticks, insects, and wildlife;
  • Have experience in safe guidance of youngsters in an outdoor setting;
  • Be diligent about details when analyzing, recording, and uploading data;
  • Be familiar with (or quickly learn) basics of GIS software, Google Maps, and use of GPS units;
  • Be good organizers and take responsibility for the success of an event or activity;
  • Be communicative and accountable, with “deliverables” that are complete and timely.

Compensation.  $10 per hour.  Travel to field sites will be compensated at $0.54 per mile.  This position may require a background check.

To apply, send a cover letter, resume, two professional references, and two writing samples to:

Eileen Fielding, FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, CT  06070  or efielding@frwa.org

Deadline.   Applications will be accepted until positions are filled.  Hiring decisions are anticipated in April or early May.

FRWA Hiring: Project Support Coordinator (PT)

Background.  The Farmington River Watershed Association (FRWA) is a community-based organization founded in 1953 with a mission of protecting the Farmington River and its watershed lands in Connecticut and Massachusetts. The Farmington River boasts a renowned trout fishery in its West Branch (a federally designated Wild & Scenic River) and excellent paddling, including the famous whitewater of Tariffville Gorge.  Multi-use trails along its banks enhance quality of life in riverside towns.  Its East Branch (now a reservoir) supplies high-quality drinking water to greater Hartford.  However, the river’s well-being requires ongoing community engagement and action.  FRWA mobilizes people to watch over and maintain the natural features and functions of this remarkable river.

FRWA’s primary mission activities are Research and Stewardship (hands-on water quality monitoring, field assessments, and habitat restoration); Education (programs, classes, workshops, field trips, online and print media about pollution prevention, watersheds, and other topics); and Advocacy (promoting changes in personal behavior or public policy that enhance river health and public health). For more information, see www.frwa.org.

Position Description.  FRWA’s small staff works on a variety of mission-related projects that frequently take them out of the office.  FRWA seeks a Project Support Coordinator to work with staff on maintaining in-house functions that are essential to successfully implementing our Outreach, Advocacy, Research, and Stewardship.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Monitoring website and social media; tracking and enhancing the reach of posts; taking photos for posts and publications.
  • Working with staff to prepare and send timely reports, filings, and other communications to agencies, foundations, and donors.
  • Coordinating and supporting volunteers as needed.
  • Planning and preparing for events, workshops, programs, and work days.
  • General administrative support, such as responding to selected email and phone inquiries; troubleshooting technical issues; or updating FRWA procedures, manuals, and core documents as needed.

Qualifications.  The ideal candidate has excellent “people skills,” writes and speaks well, knows Microsoft Office, can work independently, learns quickly, communicates clearly, enjoys keeping a multi-faceted organization running smoothly, likes to organize, is very detail-oriented, contributes to a cheerful and positive team atmosphere, and embraces FRWA’s mission.  Experience at an environmental non-profit and technical knowledge about river stewardship are desirable.  Experience in customer service, social media marketing, contract reporting, volunteer coordination, development, business administration, or non-profit administration could all be advantages.

Compensation.  This is a 1-year part-time position, with a possible extension contingent on funding.

Schedule negotiable; up to 8 hrs/week, on 1-2 days during normal business hours.  Hourly rate dependent on experience (starts well above minimum).

To Apply:  Send cover letter, resume, and 3 references by regular mail or email to:

Coordinator Job Search, FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow St, Simsbury, CT   06070,   or efielding@frwa.org.

Deadline.  March 15 or until filled.