Volunteers Needed! Join our Annual River Clean-Up September 23, 10am to 1pm

Last year, over 200 volunteers joined together to remove trash from the banks of the Farmington River.  We are  securing all the supplies for the big day (gloves, bags, napkins, apples, apple cider, etc) and lining up coffee and lunch for volunteers including sandwiches from Antonio’s, coffee from Starbucks and Pizza from Little City Pizza.  We are on the lookout for pick-up trucks or other large vehicles that can help us get trash to the dumpsters donated by Waste Material Trucking Company of Unionville, CT.

So where will you be?  We do need lots of volunteers! If you are part of another group that might be interested, please let us know.  Join us to meet your watershed neighbors and help us keep your neighborhood clean; it’s guaranteed you will make new friends.  Please call FRWA at (860) 658-4442 or email apetras@frwa.org to register.

A Sample of our Clean-Up Meet-up Locations – September 23, 10am to 1pm

Avon: The Lions Club of Avon takes responsibility for cleaning Fisher Meadows and they do a great job, year after year.

Bloomfield:  The Wintonbury Land Trust is coordinating this location.  Meet at Farmington River Park. Clean up from 10-noon.

Barkhamsted: Location TBD

Collinsville: We will meet at Collinsville Canoe & Kayak and will have a tent and snacks available.  This is our most popular site thanks to area residents!

Simsbury:  Meet on the front lawn of FRWA headquarters. This is our main spot and also the place to grab some coffee before heading out or get some pizza and other lunch items after you are done.

Windsor: Meet at Windsor Town Hall (please register for specifics) to clean popular Windsor Locations such as The Boat Launch at the reservoir and Pleasant Street Park.

Call FRWA to sign-up yourself, your family, or your group for the Clean-Up at (860) 658-4442 or email your registration with a preferred meet-up location to apetras@frwa.org.  And see you there!


FRWA Aquatic Insect Sampling (RBV) Workshop

FRWA Aquatic Insect Sampling (RBV) Workshop (Part 1, indoors)
Thursday, September 28th, 2017
, 7 to 9 P.M.
FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury

FRWA Aquatic Insect (RBV) Sampling (Part 2, outdoors, in-stream)
Saturday, September 30th
2017, 9 A.M. to noon (Sampling location TBD)

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 and help us identify our high quality waters.

FRWA will hold our Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Sampling (RBV) Workshop on Thursday September 28th at FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury.  The indoor- portion of the workshop on Thursday 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 September 30th and/or join up with other experienced samplers to monitor streams 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 Riffle Bioassessment by Volunteers (RBV) protocol and results help FRWA and the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection identify high quality streams and monitor water quality changes in the Farmington River Watershed.

No previous experience necessary, new volunteers are paired with experienced team leaders 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.

Stream Bugs & Pond Critters – September 24, 10-noon

Discover the fascinating underwater life of our watershed with FRWA Water Quality Monitoring 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 which is Winding Trails’ beautiful certified Connecticut grown building. We 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. Registration is required by 3 days prior to the event; please reregister through the Winding Trails website:  https://www.windingtrails.org/register/?id=740

Date: Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Time: 10:00 am to noon

Ages: All ages

Where: Nature’s Porch, Winding Trails, 50 Winding Trails Drive, Farmington, CT

Fee: Free but must preregister

My Healthy Stream

FREE handbook! Do you own streamside property within the Farmington River Watershed? Eager to learn more? Contact us to receive a FREE copy of My Healthy Stream – A Handbook for Streamside Owners!

A publication of Trout Unlimited and the Aldo Leopard Foundation.

Funding for FRWA’s River Smart outreach program is provided in part from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.


To receive your copy, contact:
Laura Hart
Project Manager of River Smart
860-658-4442 ex 203 lhart@frwa.org

Farmington River Archeology Canoe Trip – Saturday July 22, 2017

Paddle along our own ancient Native American canoe trail as we explore the fascinating culture of the people who inhabited the Farmington River Valley thousands of years ago. Learn about the latest archeological discoveries from Ken Feder, Professor of Anthropology, Central Connecticut State University, and founder of the Farmington River Archeology Project.  Trip starts at 9:00 am.

Pre-registration is required for canoe trips.
Canoe trips take from 2-4 hours and paddlers must be able to handle a canoe in flat water.
Cost per person:
Members: Need a boat: $20; Have a boat: $15
Non-members: Need a boat: $25; Have a boat: $20

Space is limited and trips sell out quickly!  To register, please contact FRWA at
(860) 658-4442, or email: river@frwa.org.

RESCHEDULED: Twilight on the River Canoe Trip – Saturday August 12, 2017

This trip is now rescheduled for August 12th at 5:45 pm!

Paddle our beautiful Farmington River in the cool of evening, in the company of great blue herons, muskrats, beavers, and other crepuscular wildlife. Enjoy a little night music orchestrated by native songbirds and singing insects.  Jay Kaplan, Naturalist and Director of Roaring Brook Nature Center will illuminate the mysteries of our river communities as daylight fades to nightfall. Trip may land after nightfall.

Summer is here and so are FRWA’s canoe trips– easy flatwater paddles for enjoying the river’s scenery, wildlife, and history.  Will you join us?  Details below!

Pre-registration is required for canoe trips.
Canoe trips take from 2-4 hours and paddlers must be able to handle a canoe in flat water.
Cost per person:
Members: Need a boat: $20; Have a boat: $15
Non-members: Need a boat: $25; Have a boat: $20

Space is limited and trips sell out quickly!  To register, please contact FRWA at (860) 658-4442, or email: river@frwa.org.

Murphy, Esty, Blumenthal, Larson reintroduce Wild & Scenic Bill to protect Lower Farmington River

WASHINGTON – Building on a nearly decade-long, community-driven effort, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), joined by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representative John Larson (CT-1), reintroduced their Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act to create a U.S. National Park Service protective designation for the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook. With protective designation as a “Wild and Scenic River,” the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook – which runs through ten Connecticut towns – would be eligible to receive as much as $100,000 in federal funding to support conservation efforts. (Follow the Bill Progress here:  S.617 Progress)

“The Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic Act is the product of years of hard work by passionate Connecticut residents who want to protect the natural beauty of our state. Congress should listen to them,” said Murphy. “I started working on this issue as soon as I got to Congress nearly 10 years ago, and we haven’t stopped fighting for it. I hope we’ll get this over the finish line soon.”

“The Farmington River is an economic and environmental treasure for our state,” Esty said. “Families from across Connecticut and around the world travel to the Farmington River to enjoy the fishing, boating, and other recreational opportunities it offers. This bill is good for our communities, our economy, and our environment. By passing this bill, we can ensure that we preserve this environmental treasure for generations to come.” 

“This measure will help protect and preserve the Farmington River—a truly wild and scenic treasure that brings both economic and recreational benefits. I am hopeful that my colleagues will come together to ensure this precious natural resource receives this designation and much-needed federal resources, so the Farmington River can be enjoyed by many generations to come,” said Blumenthal 

“The Farmington River and Salmon Brook are some of Connecticut’s most treasured resources that provide natural beauty, support ecological diversity, and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.  I am pleased to join my colleagues in reintroducing this legislation to designate these rivers as ‘wild and scenic’.  This designation is crucial in protecting this body of water for generations to come,” said Larson.

The Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook runs through the following Connecticut towns: Avon, Bloomfield, Burlington, Canton, East Granby, Farmington, Granby, Hartland, Simsbury, and Windsor. The upper portion of the river was given protected status in 1994.

Murphy, Esty, Blumenthal, and Larson have introduced similar legislation previously, and have continuously pushed for the Lower Farmington River’s Wild & Scenic designation. Last year, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act for the first time ever. Former U.S. Representative Nancy Johnson, who was Murphy’s predecessor in the U.S. House of Representatives, helped enact legislation that initiated the study on which the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act is based. The study was completed in 2011 and confirmed the suitability of designating the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook as Wild & Scenic.


Forest Stewardship Forum, April 17, 6:00 pm, Simsbury Public Library

The Town of Simsbury, the Simsbury Land Trust, the Canton Land Conservation Trust and the Farmington River Watershed Association cordially invite you to attend:

The Future of Our Forests:  Stewarding Our Lands Thoughtfully

This Regional Forum will feature Dr. Edward Faison, Senior Ecologist from Highstead, a regional organization in Redding, CT dedicated to forest research and long term monitoring.  Dr. Faison will present information on how municipalities and land trusts can establish a landscape and historical approach to stewarding our protected preserves and better understand How, When and Why we should monitor and manage our forests.

We will provide a light supper at 6:00 pm with the program starting at 7:00 pm on April 17 in the Program Room at the Simsbury Public Library, 725 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury CT.

Questions and RSVP’s (by April 10th) to Helen Peterson, hkpeterson@comcast.net.

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.