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:


FRWA Hosts Event as Part of World Fish Migration Day

Spoonville Dam Site Open House 50 Tunxis Ave., East Granby, 10 AM to Noon

In 2012, the removal of Spoonville Dam, a large structure on the Farmington River, restored a historic fishing site on a major migration route for American shad and many other species.   The removal also enhanced a world-class whitewater run in Tariffville Gorge. On May 24, which is World Fish Migration Day, you can visit the former dam site to learn more about the site’s archaeological history, its role in industry and early hydropower development, the disastrous Flood of 1955 that ruined the dam, and the ultimate dam removal and river restoration project. You can walk the site to see remnants of the hydro installation and compare them to historic photos. Who knows, we may even see shad coming upriver!

This free open house lasts from 10 AM to noon on May 24 and the meeting site is near 50 Tunxis Ave., East Granby.   It will be led by Eileen Fielding, executive director of the Farmington River Watershed Association and coordinator of the dam removal. The event is entirely outdoors; please dress for the weather and wear shoes for walking on uneven ground.  For more info about World Fish Migration Day activities, visit the World Fish Migration Day website.

Tariffville Triple Crown – April 12 & 13, 2014

FRWA and the Lower Farmington River & Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic Committee are proud to sponsor the Tariffville Whitewater Triple Crown.

Whitewater Triple Crown Contest Schedule
About the contest:  The Whitewater Triple Crown competition challenges paddlers in three major whitewater disciplines. Wild water racing is about speed, fastest boat down the river wins. Slalom requires precision. The paddlers must negotiate a series of gates for the fastest time. Penalties are assessed for touching the gate poles or missing the gate entirely. Each boat gets two runs. The better run determines their result. Freestyle is an acrobatic contest of spins, cartwheels and flips in whitewater. Incredible balance and reflexes prevail as paddlers are judged for their tricks. The competitions include Men’s, Women’s, and Junior classes, as well as classes for kayak and one and two-paddler canoes (C-1 and C-2). For the Triple Crown, the paddlers score points based on their place in each event. Both the Top Ten Men and Top Ten Women from Saturday move on to the Sunday Finals. The Men’s and Women’s Champions will be awarded $1000.


Action Alert: Connecticut Bills on Pesticides at Schools HB-5330 and SB-46

Lawn pesticides are some of the most toxic chemicals used where people live, work, and play.  These chemicals are wreaking havoc on our health and the environment.  Children are among the most vulnerable when it comes to toxic chemical exposure, so we must do everything we can to protect them.

This year, there will be bills introduced to ban the use of toxic lawn pesticides at high schools, parks, playgrounds, municipal sports field and town greens where our children are being involuntarily exposed to toxic chemicals that are linked to cancer, birth defects, and are considered endocrine disrupters.  To read more about the dangers associated with toxic lawn pesticides click: .

The power is in your hands.  We are asking you to call or email your representatives today and tell them to support legislation that would ban toxic lawn pesticides in all places where children play.  To find your representatives click:

Please state the following or put it into your own words and speak from the heart.

“Please support HB-5330 and SB-46.  I am very concerned about Connecticut’s children being exposed to toxic lawn pesticides and am very pleased that Connecticut now has a law prohibiting the use of toxic lawn pesticides at day care centers and school grounds with children through grade 8.  But why are our young people not protected in other places like high schools, parks, playgrounds, municipal sports fields and town greens where they are involuntarily exposed to these toxic chemicals?  Please support legislation to protect Connecticut’s children wherever they may be exposed to toxic lawn pesticides.”

Thank you for all you do.  We have faith that the Connecticut legislature will do what is best for the citizens of Connecticut, but we need to make sure they know what we want.  Call or write your legislator today.  Together we CAN make a difference!


Submit testimony to the committee:

Contact House and Senate Co-chairs of the Public Health Committee

Senator Terry Gerratana:  (860) 240-0584,

Representative Susan Johnson:  (860) 240-8585,

Submit testimony to the committee:
Contact House and Senate Co-chairs of the Committee on Children
Senator Dante Bartolomeo:  (860) 240-0441,
Representative Diana Urban:  (860) 240-8585,


Keeping Water Clean in Winchester: March 24 at 6:30PM, NCCC

Join FRWA and the Northwest Conservation District for a forum on “Keeping Water Clean in Winchester” on March 24th at 6:30 pm at the Northwest Connecticut Community College’s Arts and Sciences building.  We will discuss  all the different Low Impact Development measures that have been installed in Winchester.  The slide presentation will highlight projects, including the retrofit stormwater management systems at the Winchester Wastewater Treatment Facility and the Crystal Lake Water Filtration Facility which demonstrate how to clean up polluted stormwater runoff to the Still River and other streams and lakes in Winchester. The presentation will also highlight projects completed on the NCCC Campus. In addition, catch a glimpse of future projects planned to further reduce water pollution to the Winchester’s natural water resources.  The meeting is open to the public – no reservations needed.

Meet us at the NCCC campus, Arts & Sciences Building at 6:30, we will walk out the rain garden on campus and then start our lecture around 7pm in the lecture hall.

Questions please contact FRWA at (860) 658-4442 x0 or


Stormwater Management Seminar – April 2nd, 1:00-4:30 pm

FRWA has organized a free Stormwater Management Seminar for April 2nd at the Simsbury Public Library Program Room from 1pm to 4:30. Click here to read the program brochure:  Stormwater Management Brochure. DSCF7150

We will be hosting Chester Arnold from UConn CLEAR/NEMO to discuss different bioretention practices, Jim Mahoney from the Connecticut Transportation Institute will discuss Porous Pavement, FRWA will be discussing our Stream Continuity Survey program (with some results from the field), and we will have a municipal panel discussing Stormwater Ordinances and Town Case Studies.

Attendance is free, space is limited, please register to guarantee a spot.
Refreshments will be served.
Questions call FRWA at (860) 658-4442 x0.
To register via email please send an email to


Saville Dam and Old Barkhamsted Hollow Tour, October 26th, 10am-3pm

Join us for a tour deep inside the bowels of the Saville Dam followed by a trek to some of the old Barkhamsted foundations spared inundation as the Barkhamsted Reservoir filled. We plan to end our tour with a visit to the relocated old Barkhamsted Center schoolhouse. The history and preservation of our watershed is intertwined with the story of the Metropolitan District and the pursuit of clean drinking water for Greater Hartford.

The MDC will guide us through the earthen embankment dam that impounds the 30 billion gallon Barkhamsted reservoir providing drinking water for Greater Hartford. Erik Landgraf  will lead us around the relics of old Barkhamsted Hollow, a village mostly flooded by the creation of the Barkhamsted Reservoir in 1940. Structures that were not flooded were torn down or moved by the water company, but not without a trace. Trace history in your watershed!
Pre-registration is required, space is limited, contact FRWA at (860) 658-4442, or email: to register; Tour begins at 10:00 am, dress for the weather, wear footwear to walk in the woods, pack a lunch and water. Fee: current FRWA members $5; non-members $10.

FRWA Aquatic Insect Sampling (RBV) Workshop, October 12th, 9am-2pm

FRWA will hold our 10th Annual Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Sampling (RBV) Workshop on Saturday October 12th at Squires Tavern in Peoples State Forest. 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 (CT DEEP) monitor water quality changes in the Farmington River Watershed.
No previous experience necessary, new volunteers are paired with an experienced team leader and older children are welcome with an 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.
Experienced samplers please contact FRWA to borrow equipment to sample your favorite riffle.

Stream Bugs & Pond Critters, September 21st, 10am-noon

Discover the fascinating underwater life of the Farmington River Watershed with FRWA 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, brand new, certified Connecticut grown building and 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.)

This program is open to all ages but children must be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is required. Please contact FRWA at 860-658-4442 or email to register.

Annual River Clean-Up, October 5th

Last year, over 300 volunteers joined together to remove almost 3 tons of trash from the banks of the Farmington River, and we’ll need just as much help this year! You provide your time, and we can provide the supplies as well as lunch, coffee, apple cider, and more. If you have a pick up truck or other large vehicle, let us know; all of that trash has to get to the dumpsters somehow. Locations include Avon, Burlington/Farmington/Canton, Bristol, Simsbury and Windsor.

Main meet-up locations are the FRWA office at 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, CT and Collinsville Canoe & Kayak, 41 Bridge Street, Collinsville CT. If interested in volunteering, you may show up at either of these main locations between 10am and 1 pm to register and join in.

Call FRWA at (860) 658-4442 or email with any additional questions or to preregister at your preferred location.