FRWA to Receive $140,000 Clean Water Act Settlement

FRWA will receive a $140,000 Clean Water Act settlement from Glastonbury Company  Connecticut Galvanizing.  The company was found to be polluting Salmon and Hubbard Brooks with untreated stormwater containing heavy metals including zinc, copper and lead.  For more about the Company and the settlement read this article from NPR:

For Violating Clean Water Act, Glastonbury Company Forced to Pay Thousands

Canton Town Garage Comments

Many of our members in Canton have expressed concern over the possibility that the Canton Town Garage, long slated for removal from the edge of the Farmington River, may instead be re-built on its present site.  The question of re-locating the garage will be on a referendum this November.

FRWA has consistently encouraged re-building the garage at some new location away from the riverbank.   Some of our previous comments on this topic are provided below.

Op-Ed Comments from FRWA on the Referendum Concerning the Canton Town Garage,  10/7/16:

The argument for re-building the Canton town garage on a mound at its existing location goes something like this:  No other site is presently available, affordable, and acceptable; using the current site is the cheapest alternative, it’s technically feasible, and conforms to the letter (at least) of regulations about building on floodplains;  the garage staff should have a better facility; and not least, people are tired of this issue, and it could be resolved with a referendum vote in November.

But consider.  This idea still opposes the town’s own 2014-2024 Plan of Conservation and Development and the Upper Mill Pond Master Plan.  Both documents were generated in a well-regulated process of review, public comment, and approval.  Along the way, people had time to analyze, reflect, and decide what’s most desirable for the long term.  They clearly intended removal of the garage from the riverbank, for a variety of good reasons that have been articulated already by both town officials and citizens.  Finding a new location for the garage aligns with the town’s plans.  It does not come from some extreme or fringe-element agenda.

The Farmington River Watershed Association salutes Canton’s long-standing intent to promote the river’s health, scenic quality, economic value, and accessibility, as shown in its planning documents and many day-to-day actions.  The upcoming referendum will test Canton’s determination to follow through on the original, well-considered plan to re-locate the garage.  The vote will give Canton residents their opportunity to avoid a re-build on-site, and say instead, “Don’t give up!”  

Excerpts from a letter to the Canton Board of Finance, 8/15/16:

…We applaud the town’s long-running and diligent effort to find a way to get the town garage off the riverbank.  We also understand the town’s frustration, after several attempts to re-locate the garage have failed.  Under the circumstances, it’s tempting to choose a simple and relatively low-cost proposal that could be resolved soon in a referendum.   But we encourage a larger and longer-term perspective rather than just getting this done.   A protected, healthy river is not only a valuable natural resource, it’s a huge economic asset that should not be squandered.

Many town residents have already articulated strong arguments against keeping the garage at its present riverbank site, regardless of site design.   We agree that from a public safety point of view, it’s unwise to site a vital town facility where it’s subject to inaccessibility in conditions of high water or flood.  Also, we urge you to weigh the value of making Canton’s town waterfront a focal point for recreation, at the same time you weigh the relative costs of siting the garage in various places.  Public pressure to access the river is growing rapidly.  In the past few years, we have seen it expand to the point where state-owned access points and private property access points are becoming crowded.  Can this problem be turned into an opportunity for Canton?   Other towns along the river… are actively pursuing projects that will bring more people to the river’s edge—explicitly for purposes of economic development.

…  Converting the town garage site to a park-like water access point would solve the problem of keeping garage vehicles and chemicals next to the river… at the same time, it would enhance the town’s recreational amenities for both visitors and residents….  We strongly encourage the town to stand by its original enlightened objective of getting the town garage off the river altogether.

FRWA Annual Meeting & Forum, November 15, 5:30-7:30 pm

FRWA Annual Meeting & Forum
Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 5:30-7:30 PM
Simsbury Free Library, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, CT

What a year!  Join us for a Forum with staff and guests to review and discuss river topics in our valley-including drought, state water supply planning, and FRWA’s projects.

$15 per person—includes drinks and appetizers

Limited Seating— Please reserve by Nov.  11

Call or email Aimee at (860) 658-4442 ext ‘201’  apetras@frwa.organnualmeetinquilt


DEEP has banned Alcohol in Nepaug State Forest and Satan’s Kingdom Recreation Area

In response to recent problems and concerns in both Nepaug State Forest and Satan’s Kingdom, the consumption and possession of alcohol has been banned by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) in these areas from July 29 until October 26, 2016. Additionally, the roads within Nepaug State Forest have been closed for the foreseeable future. DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee wants to ensure enjoyment and safety for the visitors of these areas as well as the protection of these natural resources. You can see the official press release here: DEEP Press Release.


Jamie McEwan 2016 Whitewater Triple Crown – July 22, 23, & 24, 2016

Friday, July 22: Clinic and Practice
Saturday July 23: Slalom
Sunday July 24: Down River Race & Freestyle

JOIN US!!! We need registrants and volunteers.  Click here for more information and to sign up!

The 2016 edition of the Whitewater Triple Crown brings a slight change in format. First, we are offering a “Paddle with the Pro’s” Day Clinic on Friday, July 22. This is open to any paddler with a desire to learn about river running, slalom racing, or freestyle. This low-key session is aimed at any paddler hoping to pick up a few tips from whitewater’s best. The format will be loose and friendly, emphasizing fun and learning. The clinic time will be from approximately 11:00AM to 4:00PM.

Previously, we’ve held individual events on Saturday, and the Triple Crown Championship on Sunday. This year, there will be only one run of each event. The slalom race will take place on Saturday, July 23. On Sunday July 24, there will be the the down river race and the Freestyle competition.

The scoring for the Triple Crown will remain the same, 33 points for 1st, 32 for 2nd, 31 for 3rd….for each event, men’s and women’s, regardless of boat or Class. One additional bonus point for participating in all three (a perfect score equals 100).


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 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

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.

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

River Safety: Show Your River Sense…

Now that summer’s here, the river beckons—but be safe! If you are boating or tubing, wear a life jacket. Go with someone else rather than boating alone. Let someone know of your plans. If you are separated from your companions, get back to them as soon as possible to let them know your whereabouts. And while you’re out there, make the river safer for people and wildlife—leave no glass, no trash, no fishing line or hooks.

For more river safety tips visit FRWA’s River Safety Page.

Join Us: FRWA Annual Meeting, November 18, 2014

You are invited to Farmington River Watershed Association’s Annual Meeting

Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 6:30 – 9:00 pm
Belle Terrace at Avon Old Farms, 1 Nod Road, Avon, CT 06001

Join us for “It All Happened on the Farmington River: A Story of Historic Sites, Fish, Factories, Floods & Flows.”
Presented by Eileen Fielding, FRWA Executive Director

Light Refreshments & Desserts, 6:30pm; Program at 7:00 pm
Tickets $25, RSVP below or via check by November 15. Cash Bar.

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!