Summer Solstice Twilight Paddle – Friday, June 21, 2019, 5:45 PM

Celebrate Midsummer on the river! Glide through the sunset and paddle our beautiful Farmington River on the longest day of the year! Jay Kaplan, Naturalist and Director of Roaring Brook Nature Center will illuminate the mysteries of our river communities as daylight fades to nightfall. On past trips, we’ve glimpsed eagles, great blue herons, muskrats, beavers, deer, and owls and been regaled by the songs of native songbirds and insects. (Trip may land after nightfall.)

Pre-registration required!  860-658-4442 or

Members: Need a boat: $25 per person; Have a boat: $20

Non-members: Need a boat: $30 per person; Have a boat: $25

Farmington River Archaeology – Saturday, July 13, 2019 9:00 AM

Paddle our ancient Native American canoe trail as we explore the fascinating culture of the people who came before us. Dr. Kenneth Feder, Professor of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University, author of numerous archaeology books, and founder of the Farmington River Archeology Project, specializes in North American archaeology. He has spent a lifetime exploring the clues left behind by those who lived in our Farmington River Valley thousands of years ago. Travel back in time and see our river from the perspective of our first inhabitants. We’ll hear about the latest discoveries from this summer’s dig along the river.

Pre-registration required by Thursday, July 11!  860-658-4442 or

Members: Need a boat: $25 per person; Have a boat: $20

Non-members: Need a boat: $30 per person; Have a boat: $25

Rain Garden Planting – Volunteer Work Days!

We are thrilled to continue with more rain garden installations this year thanks to grant funding and support from the City of Bristol. But we need volunteers to help complete the final step of the rain garden process!
Join us to May 8, 9, 10, from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm to volunteer and to learn about rain gardens, native plant species, and more. Bring trowels, shovels, work gloves, sunblock, water, and your spirit of river stewardship!

Location: Page Park (off of King Street, directly across from Bristol Eastern High School) turn at the light into Page Park then park at the Playground on the left.
Register: Please contact us at 860-658-4442 ex 201 or by email to register by Monday, May 6.

Why a Rain Garden?

The Problem: The Pequabuck River in Bristol, a tributary of the Farmington River, provides a habitat for wildlife and many aesthetic and recreational opportunities. However, it faces environmental challenges from polluted stormwater runoff. Polluted runoff is caused by rain and other precipitation that does not directly infiltrate into the soil. With increased artificial impervious surfaces, such as roadways, parking lots, and rooftops, stormwater runoff increases, carrying toxic pollutants with it. These include oil and antifreeze from vehicles, pesticides and fertilizers from lawns, trash, bacteria from pet waste, hazardous waste, and more.
The Solution: One of the best ways to help address the problem of non-point source pollution is to use green infrastructure. By encouraging the use of stormwater as a resource to enhance landscape features such as lawns and rain gardens, stormwater can be diverted away from homes and buildings, thus potentially reducing basement flooding and water pooling while improving the water quality in streams and the Pequabuck River. Rain gardens are planted depressions that collect and infiltrate rainwater runoff from impervious areas allowing for the runoff to be absorbed and thus prevent it from being carried into a nearby waterway. The plantings are of native plant species and provide food and shelter for bees, butterflies, and songbirds. 

And there’s more! Right across the road from Page Park we are supporting a rain garden installation at Bristol Eastern High School in partnership with friends at the Pequabuck River Watershed Association! Not only is this an excellent learning opportunity for the high school students, but it augments stormwater pollution reduction in the Pequabuck, and ultimately the Farmington River. 

Barkhamsted Earth Day Nature Festival

Join FRWA at the Earth Day Festival! Alisa Phillips-Griggs, Water Quality and Projects Coordinator, will be leading a macroinvertebrate workshop for youth and adults alike! Learn more about how insects and bugs can be indicators of water quality. More details to come!

Come get your nature on! Barkhamsted Earth Day Nature Festival features Birds of Prey show, hands-on walking stick and bat house making for youth, river insect collection, wildlife tables, info on native plants, talks on fire-starting in the wild, camping, moose and many other exciting exhibits. Free and open to all, free food and music.

Rain Garden Workshop

Aimee Petras, Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Farmington River Watershed Association, will outline why installations of bioswales, rain gardens and river buffers are important for the river, showing some local examples. She will explore ways to reduce stormwater and improve water quality in our community.

Free downspout disconnect kit for Bristol residents! There will be a demonstration of how to disconnect a downspout (gutter) and downspout disconnect kits will be given to community members living in Bristol attending the program (a value of $20).

Join us! Bring a Friend!

Thursday, April 18, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Bristol Public Library

5 High St., Bristol, CT 06010

Fee: No charge is associated with this informational workshop hosted by the City of Bristol Public Works. Download the free rain garden app from UConn

Natural Lawn Care Workshop at Winding Trails – April 27, 2019

FRWA and Winding Trails are teaming up for this timely workshop. Aimee Petras, the Education & Outreach Coordinator at FRWA, will present this program that covers how to manage your lawn without using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. We will outline the steps you need to take including getting a soil test through mowing techniques to managing weeds.  Additionally, we’ll delve into common lawn problems such as grubs and thatch.

Registration required at the Winding Trails website:

FRWA announces new Executive Director

The Farmington River Watershed Association (FRWA) is excited to welcome William (Bill) Dornbos as our new Executive Director! Since last year, the FRWA Board of Directors has been conducting an extensive national search for new senior leadership. We were gratified to have received a strong response from many highly-qualified candidates, and on behalf of FRWA, I am now extremely pleased to announce that Bill will be joining FRWA, effective March 11, 2019.

A seasoned environmental advocate and attorney, Bill comes to FRWA after serving as the Advocacy Director for the Acadia Center, a regional environmental nonprofit that works on clean energy and climate issues. Bill’s responsibilities included developing advocacy strategies and tactics, managing Acadia Center’s advocates throughout the Northeast, and ensuring high impact and visibility.  Prior to joining the Acadia Center, Bill helped run the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy as its Associate Director, assisted leadership at the Natural Resources Defense Council as a Special Executive Aide, and pursued environmental litigation at the Environmental Protection Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

“I’m thrilled to be joining FRWA,” said Dornbos. “Leading FRWA is an honor, and I’m eager to apply my advocacy and legal skills to the critical mission of protecting and restoring one of Connecticut’s most important and precious natural resources, the Farmington River. I very much look forward to working with the Board, staff, and watershed communities to sustain the River and to grow support for FRWA’s efforts.”

Bill holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School, an MS from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment and a BA from Carleton College.  Bill resides in West Hartford with his wife, Elizabeth, and two daughters, Talia and Sanna.

Please join me and our dedicated Board and staff in welcoming Bill to FRWA. I know we can count on your continued support as we begin this next chapter in preservation, conservation and recreational use of our beautiful river.

David Donaldson, Chair
FRWA Board of Directors