FRWA 60th Anniversary Celebration

Join us at FRWA”s celebration of our 60th year!

Join us at Ski Sundown in New 60thflyerHartford for a swim down memory lane on September 22nd, 2013 from 3 – 8pm at Ski Sundown, New Hartford.

FRWA is hosting a party that will bring together new friends and old to reminisce about our 60-year history. We will have a light program outlining our accomplishments of the past 60 years. Displays, both static and digital, of our 60-year history can be browsed while listening to music from several bands. A BBQ dinner from the Meat House in Avon with snack and refreshments from Blue Sky foods. Cash Bar. RSVP by emailing Aimee, sending a check for $25 per person to FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, CT 06070 or by registering online here at the eventbright widget below.

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Salmon Stocking Workshop – March 21, 2013 at 7pm at Avon Public Library

The Connecticut Inland Fisheries Division is looking for volunteers to assist in stocking Atlantic salmon fry.  An informational meeting has been scheduled for Thursday March 21 for those who are interested.  There will be a presentation and update on the Salmon Restoration Program and a brief discussion of stocking and what is expected of volunteers.  Volunteers must be physically fit and available on weekdays.  The streams to be stocked are in the Farmington and Salmon River watersheds and are scheduled for stocking between mid April and late May.  Individuals interested in volunteering who cannot attend the meeting should contact Bruce Williams or the Farmington River Watershed Association at the addresses listed below.

For more information contact:Bruce Williams, DEEP/Marine Headquarters, 860-447-4317, email:,  or the Farmington River Watershed Association, 860-658-4442.

MDC Proposal to Provide Drinking Water to Mansfield

There is a MDC proposal to provide Farmington River water to the University of Connecticut and the Town of Mansfield.  You can learn more about this proposal here:

Dear Farmington River Friends,

This document is to answer any questions you may have about the current position of FRWA regarding a proposal by the Metropolitan District Commission to supply Farmington River water to the University of Connecticut. We thank you for your interest, and invite you to contact us if any further clarification is needed.

UConn has extended its comment period to January 31st on this issue and will be hosting a public hearing on this proposal in the Farmington Valley on January 22 at 7 pm in the Human Resources Training Room at the UConn Health Center’s Munson Building, 16 Munson Road, Farmington.

Eileen Fielding
Executive Director

FRWA Prevented from Commenting on MDC Proposal

Attorneys for the MDC have drawn FRWA’s attention to an agreement that was signed in 1998 to settle the controversy that arose from an earlier MDC attempt to divert water from the Farmington River. The MDC maintains that the agreement forbids FRWA’s advocacy in connection with the current controversy regarding a proposed diversion of millions of gallons to service UConn and its environs.

Given the MDC’s position, FRWA has decided to refrain from advocacy in this matter at this point.

FRWA and its legal counsel have met with MDC and its attorneys to discuss the 1998 agreement and its legal and practical implications.

Accordingly, FRWA withdraws any comments it made before MDC’s attorneys demanded that it cease and desist. The more than four hundred signatures placed on its petition in the few days that it was open will not be delivered. FRWA expresses no official opinion at this point about the MDC proposal.

FRWA will continue to post links to informative published information on its website. Another river-oriented group that might be helpful to interested persons is Rivers Alliance, whose website is Rivers Alliance is completely independent of FRWA.

Individual FRWA members and other concerned citizens may wish to voice their opinions and to petition their government leaders.

Among the possible recipients of comments are: [Mr. Esty heads the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection] [Mr. Witkos is the state senator for part of the Farmington Valley]  and other town and state officials and news outlets

Below, “Comments are closed” means that you cannot comment on FRWA’s blog.  You can however comment to until January 31

RBV Refresher: September 27, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Experienced volunteers are needed to help sample for aquatic insects as part of our annual Aquatic Macroinvertebrate (RBV) Survey. Please contact us to borrow a sampling kit and we will direct you to streams in need of sampling. We also invite experienced RBV samplers to drop in for an informal evening RBV refresher and a chance to review some of the RBV “bugs” up close. Please contact FRWA at 860-658-4442 or email to let us know if you will be coming.

RBV Refresher: September 27, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

FRWA World Headquarters: 749 Hopmeadow Street Simsbury

FRWA Aquatic Insect Sampling Workshop: October 13, 9 am to 2 pm

FRWA holds our annual Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Survey this fall in Connecticut’s Upper Farmington River Watershed. 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 monitor water quality changes in the Farmington River Watershed.

No previous experience necessary, older children welcome with 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.

Saturday, October 13, 9 am to 2 pm, Squire’s Tavern, Peoples State Forest, Pleasant Valley

Spoonville Dam is gone!

Spoonville Dam is gone from Tariffville Gorge!  Demolition of this derelict dam, breached since 1955, started on July 9.  By July 31 the dam and its fragments were removed.

Spoonville Dam after removal in end of July

Workers from Gleim Environmental Group, a dam removal company based in Pennsylvania, hammered the concrete structure into fragments that were trucked out of the river and recycled.   When the work was complete, the river channel had been restored to the bedrock ledge that the dam had been built upon.  

With the dam gone, migrating fish from the Atlantic Ocean, such as American shad (our state fish), will be better able to move upstream to reach their historic breeding areas in the Farmington River.   This improvement in fish passage is one step in a multi-part process of restoring the river as a migratory route for shad, alewife, blueback herring, lampreys, and sea-run trout.  Other steps needed are new fish passage facilities at

Rainbow Dam in Windsor, Winchell Smith Dam in Farmington, and the Collinsville Dams in Avon/Burlington/Canton.   But removal of Spoonville dam is already beneficial, as it allows year-round resident fish species to travel upstream or downstream to find the best habitats.People benefit from the removal too, though whitewater paddlers miss the dramatic play feature provided by the breach in the dam.  Swimming and boating in this part of the river are now safer, and the fishing should remain good!  We extend hearty thanks to all our project partners, including Princeton Hydro Engineering, Gleim Environmental Group, CT DEEP, CL&P (the dam owners), and all the members of FRWA whose support makes work like this possible!

Fun facts about Spoonville Dam’s removal

Before removal

Spoonville Dam in early July before removal

  • Date the dam was constructed:  1899, to supply electric power to Hartford
  • First major flood that threatened the dam: 1900
  • Major flood that broke the dam: 1955
  • Size of structure removed (not including fragments):  128 ft long, 25 ft  high, 30 feet thick
  • Amount of concrete taken out of river:  About 2,000 cubic yards
  • Stone brought in to support construction vehicles (and brought back out afterward): 1200 tons
  • Number of American shad migrating up Connecticut River in 2012:  499,132
  • Number of American shad counted in the Farmington River in 2012:  174
  • Estimated number of adult American shad the Farmington River could support:  20,000

Removal of Spoonville Dam in Summer 2012!

This summer, FRWA will coordinate removal of the Spoonville Dam on the Farmington River. The dam, owned by CT Light and Power, will become history thanks to a partnership effort by FRWA, CL&P, and CT DEEP. The removal will help make the river and its tributaries accessible to migratory fish that have historically spawned there, such as American shad (our state fish), river herring, American eels, and others. It is also expected to enhance whitewater paddling in Tariffville Gorge, a popular recreation area, and improve safety of river recreation at the Gorge. To learn more about this exciting river restoration project, go to our Spoonville Dam FAQ page

Lower Wild & Scenic Farmington & Salmon Brook Press Conference

On Monday, May 21 at 11:00 am at the Tariffville Mill (2 Tunxis Road, Tariffville, CT 06081) there will be a press conference with Congressmen Chris Murphy and John Larson, and Senators Joe Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal announcing that the Lower Farmington River & Salmon Brook Wild & Scenic River Act Bill (Number HR. 4360) has been introduced to the House of Representatives.

We hope you can join us for this exciting event.  If you cannot attend or would like to learn more about the bill, visit the Library of Congress’s THOMAS website where you can track any bill introduced in Washington.  To track the Wild & Scenic Bill, simply enter in “HR. 4360” and you can keep track of the bill as it goes through the process.