In 2003, FRWA initiated a series of stream walks to conduct visual assessments of water quality along the Farmington River mainstem and tributaries. During July and August, over 100 volunteers worked in teams to gather information on their segments from within the streambed and along the stream banks. Surveys were done in Avon, Barkhamsted, Bloomfield, Bristol, Burlington, Canton, Colebrook, East Granby, Farmington, Granby, Hartland, New Hartford, Norfolk, Plainville, Plymouth, Simsbury, Torrington, Winchester, and Windsor. Stream walk surveys were conducted through 2008.


Participants observed and documented

  • change in water appearance
  • riparian (stream bank) disturbances or a lack of effective stream buffer vegetation
  • land uses, particularly within 100 feet of the river
  • locations of outlets and pipes for storm water drainage and other discharges,
  • other indicators of water impairment (color, smell, etc.).

These observations helped local communities to identify problem areas and resource protection strategies. In addition, streamwalks proved to be great experience for community residents who learned from the training how to spot potential water quality problems in their local streams.

This project was generously supported by the Farmington River Coordinating Committee – the management group for the Wild & Scenic section of the Upper Farmington River. Other support was provided by a Clean Water Act Section 319 Non-Point Source Grant from the CT DEP.