Want a Greener Lawn? Attend a Natural Lawn Care Workshop – April 30th

Throughout the Spring and Summer, Education and Outreach Coordinator Aimee Petras presents her Natural Lawn Care Workshop for interested homeowners and citizens in the Farmington River Watershed.

Want to learn more about grubs and ways to control them?

Want to know why you have so many dandelions (and crab grasses and other common weeds)?

Attend our Lawn Care Workshop and learn all about the answers to these questions and more.  All are free and open to the public.

  • April 30, 9:00-10:30 am, Nature’s Porch, Winding Trails, Farmington. Register here: https://www.windingtrails.org/register/?id=605
  • May 18th, 6-8 pm, Barnes Nature Center, Bristol.
  • June 29th, 6-9 pm, Suffield Town Hall at 83 Mountain Road, Suffield.


A Toast to Spring: Wine for the Watershed, April 7

Wine Tasting and Silent Auction Event to Benefit FRWA Being Held April 7

FRWA is pleased to announce A Toast to Spring, Wine for the Watershed fundraising event being held at the Farmington Community Center at 321 New Britain Avenue on April 7th from 7-9pm.

The event will feature a silent auction as well as a wine tasting with Steve Leon from Wine Cellars 4 who will showcase a selection of wines from around the world. Attendees will also enjoy hors d’oeuvres, coffee and desserts while tasting wines and bidding on local and regional silent auction items.

Silent auction items include a kayak with paddle and pfd, fishing trips on the Farmington, concert and theater tickets, sporting events, paintings, and gear from local retailers. Attendees will get a free poster of the Farmington River (value $10-15) and a chance at a door prize from Bill Selig Jewelers (value $25).

All proceeds from the event will help FRWA to protect water quality and foster environmental stewardship throughout the Farmington River Watershed.

Tickets are $30 per person. To order, call (860) 658-4442, email apetras@frwa.org or buy from the Eventbright app below.

River Steward Internship Announcement for Summer 2016

The Farmington River Watershed Association (FRWA) is now accepting applications for its Summer 2016 River Steward internships. Two FRWA River Steward interns will work in the field, laboratory, and office on a variety of projects, including water quality sampling and analysis, assessments of aquatic animal passage at road-stream crossings, outreach, and special grant-funded projects.  PDF copy of internship announcement here.

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 very high quality drinking water for over 450,000 people in greater Hartford. Though intensively managed, it still faces serious challenges to its water quality and aquatic life. FRWA) is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1953 and dedicated to preserving, protecting, and restoring the Farmington River and its watershed. (see www.frwa.org.) Internships at FRWA provide broad experience in watershed management, planning, and public education, and how agencies and organizations balance the many demands made on this natural resource.

Overview. River Steward internships are based in FRWA’s office in Simsbury, CT, and the work focuses on the lower mainstem of the Farmington and its tributaries in Canton, Farmington, Avon, Simsbury, Granby, East Granby, and Windsor. The total time commitment is 280 hours, to be spent in 30- to 35-hour work weeks from June to August.

Interns work with all the staff at FRWA and have responsibilities typical for entry-level professional positions in watershed associations. Most work is on weekdays but early morning, evening, or weekend hours are sometimes required. Indoor work is expected to be done in the FRWA office rather than off-site, to allow interaction with team members and staff. Interns will participate in the following projects:

Water quality monitoring. FRWA provides water quality data to the CT DEEP, where it may be used in the state’s reports to the US EPA in 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 participation from at least one intern every Monday and Tuesday. It includes training; collecting water samples from watershed streams and rivers; laboratory preparation and analysis of samples for bacteria, data quality assurance and entry. Other monitoring tasks may include placing temperature data loggers, choosing additional sampling sites, and field collection of benthic macroinvertebrates.

Stream crossing assessments. Interns 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 can also identify crossings vulnerable to failure in extreme storm events. We use the protocol of the North Atlantic Aquatic Continuity Collaborative (NAACC), which is used by agencies and organizations throughout the Northeast. Data are uploaded to a regional database maintained by the UMass Extension Service, where the information is available for viewing and analysis. Interns undergo mandatory training and testing in the protocol; obtain and record data at field sites; and assist with reviewing and uploading data.

Public education and outreach. This involves both face-to-face interaction with recreational users on the river to encourage safe practices and good river etiquette, and maintaining an online presence for FRWA on our website and in social media. FRWA interns will work with FRWA staff and with the volunteer members of the Lower Farmington River Coordinating Committee to organize and implement selected outreach tasks.

Special Project Assistance. Interns can assist as needed with current grant-funded projects or advocacy efforts that are ongoing in summer 2016. These may include, but are not limited to:
• Research tasks related to the development of a statewide water plan;
• Construction of a stormwater bioswale on the campus of Northwestern CT Community College;
• Developing an EPA-approved watershed-based plan for the Pequabuck River.
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. Interns are expected to:
• Have their own reliable transportation at all times;
• Commit and adjust to a weekly schedule that varies 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 6-8 hours outdoors in variable weather;
• Cope with poison ivy, thorns, ticks, insects, and wildlife;
• Have excellent written and verbal communication skills;
• Work well on a team or independently;
• Represent FRWA in a friendly and professional manner;
• Be diligent about details when analyzing, recording, and uploading data;
• Be familiar with (or quickly learn) basics of GIS software, Google Earth, Google Maps, and using GPS units;
• Be good organizers;
• Be communicative and accountable to staff, with “deliverables” that are complete and timely.

Compensation. Each position comes with a stipend of $2,800. Travel to field sites will be compensated at $0.54 per mile. Housing is not provided. Positions are contingent on funding, which is pending at the time of announcement (Feb. 1).

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. Submission before March 15 is highly recommended. Applications will be accepted until positions are filled. Hiring decisions are anticipated in April or early May.

Planning for Pequabuck River Kicks Off in Public Presentation (March 9)

Powerpoint from the March 9, 2016 Presentation is below.

Pequabuck River Public Meeting Powerpoint

On Wednesday, March 9, the Farmington River Watershed Association (FRWA) will host a public informational session in Bristol about a new project underway to develop a “watershed based plan” for the Pequabuck River basin.  Flyer for the event is linked here.

As noted by FRWA’s Executive Director, Eileen Fielding, there are several reasons to do an updated plan. “The Pequabuck Valley has beautiful upper reaches and tributaries. And the main stem of the Pequabuck runs through built-up, paved areas where rain and snowmelt flush contaminated water into the river. A plan can guide us in protecting the good spots and finding remedies where there are pollution problems.” An additional reason for the plan is financial. Fielding adds, “This type of plan is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before certain kinds of funding can be requested for projects along the Pequabuck River. A completed plan could make it easier for towns or agencies to get help for projects to reduce polluted stormwater runoff.”

Many partners are involved, including representatives from the towns along the river, the Pequabuck River Watershed Association, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, and Trout Unlimited. The planning is funded in part by the CT Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant.

The project will examine the whole Pequabuck drainage area, including Poland River and Coppermine Brook. Portions of the waterways are not meeting their “designated uses” because of pollution problems. The study seeks to identify sources of pollution, and develop a plan for protecting and improving water quality. Technical work is being handled by Princeton Hydro Engineering, with assistance from all partners.

According to Michael Martin, environmental scientist at Princeton Hydro, “It’s important for local people to know about the project and share their thoughts at an early stage. The March 9 presentation will show where we are in the process, and what the plan will focus on. We also want to hear from people, so it’s a two-way exchange of information about the river.”

All are invited to attend at 7 PM on March 9 in Room 3 of Bristol Public Library, 5 High Street.  Please contact Aimee Petras, apetras@frwa.org or 860-658-4442 x201 with any questions.

Saville Dam and Old Barkhamsted Hollow Tour Oct 24

Saville Dam and Old Barkhamsted Hollow
Bus tour and short hike
Saturday October 24th, 2015
10 am to 3 pm
Cost: $10

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: river@frwa.org to register; Tour begins at 10:00 am, dress for the weather, wear footwear to walk in the woods, pack a lunch and water.

FRWA Aquatic Insect Sampling (RBV) Workshop, Sept 30 & Oct 3

FRWA Aquatic Insect Sampling (RBV) Workshop (Indoors)
Wednesday, September 30th, 2015
7 to 9 p.m.
FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury

FRWA Aquatic Insect (RBV) Sampling (Outdoors, in-stream)
Saturday, October 3rd 10 am to noon
(We’ll let you know where to meet after you sign up.)

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 Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Sampling (RBV) Workshop on WednesdaySeptember 30th at FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury. This indoor-only portion of the 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 3rd 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.org to register.

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

FRWA Canoe Trip: The River Bottom: Saturday August 15, 2015, 9 am

Meander down the river with FRWA Potamologist, Alisa Phillips-Griggs, and discover the river bottom by canoe.  Join us for a late summer, low flow view of the river bed. What is the river bed composed of and why? Who lives on the bottom of the river, and what are the challenges and opportunities for life on the bottom? What determines where the river flows and where will it go next? Who owns the ground under the river and what happens when the channel shifts? How do trees that fall into the water influence the river and its ecology? How do invasive plants and animals influence the river bed and its native inhabitants? What Junk and trash lies at the bottom of the river and what is its fate? How can we best protect the river bed and its living community?


We’ll flex our paddling muscles and explore the mussels, sandbars and sunken flotsam and jetsam of the river bottom as we ponder what lies beneath.

FRWA Aerial Video Fundraiser

Please help us fund a fully produced aerial video to help tell the story of the river. Your contribution will help us pay for an aerial video, professionally produced, that will show off the many splendors and uses of our beloved river. The finalized video will help us draw in more supporters, educate people about the river and its importance, and reengage existing supporters.

The price for this project is special pricing offered to us for this campaign and will be available for a limited time. Please join in to make this a successful campaign!

Link to the GoFundMe Project: http://www.gofundme.com/frwadrone


Volunteers Needed: Annual Farmington River Clean-up, September 26, 10am – 2pm

Our 28th Annual Farmington River Clean-up is set for Saturday, September 26th, 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 apetras@frwa.org.