Thames River Basin Partnership
January 2008 Volume 7
The Thames River watershed includes the Fivemile, French, Moosup,
Natchaug, Pachaug, Quinebaug, Shetucket, Willimantic, and Yantic
Rivers and all their tributaries. We’re not just the "Thames main stem."
Greetings from the Thames River Basin Partnership. Once again this quarter our partners have
proven their ability to work cooperatively on projects compatible with the TRBP Workplan and in support of our common mission statement to share organizational resources and to develop a
regional approach to natural resource protection. I hope you enjoy reading about these
activities as much as I enjoy sharing information about them with you.
Jean Pillo, TRBP Coordinator
If you missed the winter TRBP Quarterly meeting in Lisbon, the Partners were given a special
presentation on the relationship of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development on General Stormwater Permitting by Traci Iott, Supervisor of the CT Department of Environmental
Protection Criteria and Implementation Section of Planning & Standards Division, and by Nisha
Patel, Supervisor of the Stormwater Permitting Program. Under the Clean Water Act,
Connecticut is required to meet water quality standards, and where standards are not being met,
we must work to achieve environmental goals through the creation of TMDL criteria. Eagleville Brook in the upper Thames River watershed is not meeting its designated use as an aquatic
habitat. It is the first stream in the nation to have a TMDL developed based on the percentage of
impervious cover in the watershed. Stormwater runoff in that watershed is the suspected stressor
leading to its impaired status. Other municipalities can learn from this example and more
carefully plan to reduce stormwater impacts with Low Impact Development strategies. In an effort to continue our outreach regarding the importance of reducing stormwater impacts to
our water resources, the Thames River Basin Partnership is pleased to announce we are offering
eastern Connecticut residents the opportunity to purchase a rain barrel at the discounted price of
$75, $14 off the retail price of $89. TRBP has teamed up with The New England Rain Barrel Company to help area residents conserve water and reduce pollution from stormwater runoff. A
donation of $7 will be made to the Thames River Basin Partnership for each rain barrel sold to
support our educational programs. A rain barrel is a way to capture and store rainwater from the
roof gutter system of your home for later use. The New Englander is designed for watering flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees either by connecting a garden hose to the rain barrel or
filling a watering can. Click here if you wish to place an order, or call this toll free number 877-
977-3135. There will be a single delivery date for the entire watershed on June 8 between 2 and
5 PM at the Lisbon Community Center located at 19 Newent Road (Scenic Route 169) in Lisbon,
CT. Coordinate with your friends to “car pool” your rain barrel back to your home town. Homeowners and municipalities might also consider using rain gardens on their property to help infiltrate stormwater. The Town of Coventry, working cooperatively with TRBP, will be
installing a demonstration rain garden this spring adjacent to their town hall annex building. If
you are looking for a place to purchase plants appropriate for a rain garden, this year the Eastern
Connecticut Conservation District will offer suitable plants as part of their annual spring plant sale. They will also be offering soil test kits this year, too.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has also recently released several new tools useful for reducing stormwater impacts:
Reducing Stormwater Costs through Low Impact Development (LID) Strategies and Practices.
This new report contains 17 case studies from across the country that illustrate the economic
viability of LID practices. Using these practices in construction projects can lower costs while
improving environmental results. The report highlights examples that, in most cases, reduce
project costs while improving environmental performance. Total capital savings ranged from 15
to 80 percent, with a few exceptions. To access this new report, click here.
Urban BMP Performance Tool
EPA has created this new web-based tool to provide stormwater professionals with easy access
to approximately 220 studies assessing the performance of over 275 stormwater BMPs. The tool
provides access to studies covering a variety of traditional and low impact BMP types,
including retention and detention ponds, biofilters, grassed filter strips, porous pavement,
wetlands, and others. Users will also find a series of essays aimed at improving understanding of
BMP performance and the importance of volume reduction/infiltration in these assessments.
EPA plans to add more studies to this tool over the coming year, focusing on expanding the
collection of studies of low impact development or green infrastructure BMPs. The Urban BMP
Performance Tool can be accessed here. Stormwater Webcast Series
EPA’s popular webcast series for municipal stormwater professionals will resume again on
February 6, 2008. It will feature five webcasts on a variety of topics, including BMP
Performance, Stormwater Retrofits, Finding and Fixing Illicit Discharges, and MS4 Program
Performance. The EPA will also offer a Stormwater 101 Course in the Summer. As in past years,
this year’s line up will feature speakers who are national experts and each webcast will build
upon the array of information covered in past webcasts. To see the new schedule (and to access
recorded versions of past webcasts), click here.
The Atlantic States Rural Water & Wastewater Association (ASRWWA) has been working on
developing or implementing Sourcewater Protection Plans (SWPP) in the following areas:
? Groton Reservoir Watershed: Working with the Drinking Water Quality Management
Plan stakeholders group as a member of the Communications Subcommittee, ASRWWA
developed a SWPP that includes an Education & Outreach plan for that effort.
? Ledyard, CT: Developing a SWPP to protect “sensitive” areas from the deleterious
effects of stormwater run-off. The work includes identifying those areas (e.g. wellhead
protection areas, Groton Reservoir, other waterways and wetlands), and implementing
Best Management Practices for those areas through zoning and outreach.
? Little River Watershed, CT: Assisting with implementation of 319 grant to study
manure incorporation. Continuing to analyze data from NDDH surface water quality
? Sprague, CT: Continuing drinking water protection outreach and education
Staff adjustments at the Green Valley Institute were announced as a result of cooperative funding initiatives. Sue Westa has recently been named the part time Director of the Borderlands Project
- a collaboration between The Nature Conservancy of RI and the RI Economic Policy Council.
Paula Stahl is working part time with the Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR)
providing education for the Connecticut Land Use Academy statewide. The Green Valley
Institute is continuing their work with the Town of Lisbon in the creation of a Natural Resource
In addition to his responsibilities as the Pawcatuck Borderlands Project Director, TNC’s Kevin
Essington is working on a special planning project know as the Southern New England
Integrated Landscape. The program identifies conservation strategies which incorporate forest,
freshwater and marine protection from Long Island Sound to Buzzards Bay, MA.
TNC acquired a 97-acre preserve on the border of Woodstock and Eastford. The Still River
Preserve includes mixed hardwood and white pine forest, two significant wetlands providing
waterfowl habitat and protects the riparian corridor of the Lost Pond Brook and the Still River.
The Towns of Eastford and Woodstock contributed towards this purchase. This land purchased
is part of TNC’s Quinebaug Highlands Project Area. A joint funding application to Connecticut DEP Recreational Trails Program is being prepared
on behalf of the Towns of Killingly and Putnam for planning and engineering of a section of the
Airline Trail. This section is part of the East Coast Greenway - a multi-use trail which runs from
Calais, ME to Key West, FL. Assisting in this effort at the USDA Natural Resources
Conservation Service, the Eastern Connecticut Resources Council and Development Area
(ECRC&D) the Green Valley Institute and the Northeastern Connecticut Council of
Governments (NECCOG). Planning attention will be given to water quality implications from
construction and trail use along rivers in the region. Celebrate Agriculture Day will be held on September 20, 2008 at the Woodstock Fairgrounds.
Anybody wishing to participate in planning or participating in this event is urged to contact
Dawn Pindell at the Brooklyn USDA Service Center by calling (860) 774-8397 x 109.
The Eastern Connecticut RC&D completed Phase I, a feasibility study, for a farm nutrient
management project in Woodstock and the surrounding towns. The goal of this project is to
reduce nonpoint sources of water pollution by composting animal waste with leaves and other
materials to produce marketable compost. They have extended the RFP deadline for Phase II, a
marketing study, for this project. Any one interested in further information should contact Liz
Rogers, the EC RC&D Coordinator for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Working with the EC RC&D, the Town of Lebanon was awarded an Agriculture Viability Grant
by the CT Department of Agriculture, which will be used to sponsor another session of Land Use
Leadership Alliance (LULA) classes for municipal leaders. For further information about this
program, contact Liz Rogers.
The Thames Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited participated in the December public hearing process regarding the FERC relicensing application for the Scotland Dam. TU members have
collected 2 years of temperature data on the Shetucket River. The current chapter president is Don Exley, and you can contact him regarding spring trout stocking dates.
TU’s Trout in the Classroom was expanded this year to include schools in Eastford, Ashford and
Killingly. For more information about this great educational program, contact Mike Goodwin.
The Killingly Conservation Commission presented the developers of the Briarwood Falls Housing Project with their 2007 Environmental Merit Award for their work in preserving Cat
Hollow Park. Before construction of a 55-and-older housing development adjacent to Cat
Hollow Park, the development company donated 5 acres of their property to the town and placed
a conservation easement on an additional 26 acres, thereby securing the land for future
The Town of Killingly continues in their efforts to reduce stormwater impacts to the Five Mile
and Quinebaug Rivers by requiring Low Impact Development strategies. Town officials, in
cooperation with the Thames River Basin Partnership, are looking for ways to retrofit parts of
their stormwater conveyance system along Water Street while it is undergoing redevelopment.
Several possibilities have been discussed including stormwater planters that filter roof runoff,
tree box planters installed below road grade to infiltrate parking lot runoff and installation of a
rain garden. Further discussions are planned. If you have interest in participating in this project,
contact the TRBP Coordinator. A collective effort continues between the towns of Killingly, Putnam and Thompson to gain
State of Connecticut Greenway Designation for the Five Mile River. The Town of Killingly
already has implemented a zoning overlay district over a section of the river. The Town of
Thompson is working on a similar effort. Thompson is also working with a representative of the
National Park Service on trail initiative to link all the walking trails within Thompson.
The Quinebaug-Shetucket Heritage Corridor, also known as The Last Green Valley, will be
continuing their sponsorship of a volunteer water quality monitoring program in 2008. In 2007,
90 volunteers in Connecticut were trained and participated in gathering visual assessment
information and collecting stream macroinvertebrates that contribute greatly to the knowledge of
the current condition of the water quality in the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers. For more
information about these programs, contact the Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program
The Last Green Valley is in the early planning stages of a series of “Source to Sea” events that
will highlight the importance of the river resources for both humans and nature. Both land and
water events are being planned, beginning in the Quinebaug and Shetucket River headwater
regions and joining with all the tributary streams along the way. The final phase will be a
celebrated arrival in Long Island Sound. This series of events will take place in the Spring of
2009. Many paddling organizations have already volunteered to participate in various sections.
If you would like more information or wish to get involved with planning these events, please
contact Lois Bruinooge at (860) 963-7226 The Eastern Connecticut Conservation District (ECCD) is continuing their efforts on many
projects in the Thames Basin, including a grant funded manure management project in
Woodstock. This project is an outcome of the Little River Source Water Protection Plan drafted
The ECCD, which function as grant administrator for the Thames River Basin Partnership
Coordinator, was also awarded a US Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act Section
319 Nonpoint Source Grant through the Connecticut DEP to fund a part time Niantic River
Coordinator. Pat Young, an ECCD Natural Resource Specialist, will be filling that role.
The Connecticut Audubon Society Center of Pomfret was host to a well attended Grassland Bird
Habitat Conservation Initiative and Panel Discussion featuring Jenny Dickson and Judy Wilson
of the CT DEP Wildlife Division, Milan Bull of Connecticut Audubon Society, Patrick Comins
of National Audubon and Henry Talmage of the Connecticut Farmland Trust. The date of this
program was January 25. The program provided a overview of the CT Grassland Habitat Conservation Initiative and information on existing incentive programs available to landowners
who may wish to manage their land as grassland habitat. A follow up program is being
considered for next fall. Watch the CT Audubon Society Center at Pomfret calendar for program announcements.
Woodstock Conservation Commission was awarded a small grant from the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund to begin a pilot program of identifying vernal pools in town
using the model developed by the Pomfret Conservation Commission. The Pomfret Conservation Commission vernal pool study will be in its forth season in 2008. Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Pomfret Citizen Science Program Coordinator, Paula Coughlin will
be involved with the volunteer training. This project will begin this spring.
The Town of Woodstock Board of Selectmen passed a Resolution proposing a clean energy commitment for the Town of Woodstock. The Smart Power 20% by 2010 Program is a
Connecticut based initiative whose goal is to create a clean energy power system. By
encouraging each town and city in Connecticut to commit its citizens to the program, the hope is
that by the year 2010 20% of State residents will be enrolled. Through an incentive program, it
provides towns with free clean energy systems. As a community, Woodstock’s first goal is to
sign up 100 households, which will earn the town a free 1kW solar system. For more information
. on the clean energy community program, click here
United Natural Foods, Inc. along with Solar Works, Inc., the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and several Connecticut politicians, dedicated the installation of the largest solar electric system
in New England on December 13, 2007. The 550-kilowatt STC solar photovoltaic system,
installed at UNFI's food distribution facility in Dayville. It is expected to generate
approximately 600,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy annually, enough to power more than 67
average New England homes for one year. The system output will avoid over 14 million pounds
(over 6,350 metric tons) of carbon dioxide over the 25-year life of the system.
The Poquetanuck Cove Preservation Committee organized participation in their Second Annual thBald Eagle Survey on January 12. This year, the group reported sighting 2 adults and 2
immature eagles over Poquetanuck Cove. Poquetanuck Cove is the location of a TRBP watershed restoration effort.
The 19th Annual New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference will be held on May 19-21, 2008, at the Mystic Marriott
in Groton, Connecticut. The theme of this years conference is Progress Through Partnership: Collaborating to Protect our Watersheds. For more information, contact Laura Chan, Coordinator of NEIWPCC's Nonpoint Source and Stormwater Programs.
The Groton Open Space Association, Inc. is seeking to purchase the Merritt Family Forest, a
strategically located and ecologically rich 75 acres parcel. This parcel is a keystone piece in
their Groton eastern greenbelt. They have been awarded $650,000 of the $1 million dollar cost
from the CT DEP Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant program. They are
working towards raising the remaining $175,000 needed to close the deal.
The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission was awarded funds from the Section 319 Nonpoint
Source Competitive Grant Program for Improving Water Quality in the Hamilton Reservoir
Watershed in Holland, Massachusetts. Hamilton Reservoir is part of the Quinebaug River basin
just north and downstream of the Connecticut State line. The 319 grant program focuses on
implementation of measures to control nonpoint sources (NPS) of water pollution. Common
types of NPS pollution include phosphorus and nitrogen from lawn and garden fertilizers,
bacteria from pet waste and waterfowl, oil and grease from parking lots and roadways, and
sediment from construction activities and soil erosion.
th Annual Floating Workshop is in the planning stages. If The Thames River Basin Partnership 8
you would like to participate in the workshop planning, please contact Jean Pillo, TRBP
Coordinator at (860) 928-4948. While the location of this workshop has not yet been decided,
there is a possibility it will be focusing on Mansfield Hollow this year.
If you would like your organization’s efforts included in the next edition of the TRBP Partners in
Action Report, consider attending one of our quarterly meetings. It includes a Plan of Work
activity reporting session, which is an informal “round the table” discussion of Partner activities.
It is a great time to network with like-focused organizations. All meetings begin at 9:30 AM.
The schedule for upcoming Thames River Basin Partnership meetings in 2008 is:
Tuesday, April 22 at the new WINCOG offices in Willimantic
Tuesday, July 15 at Project O, Groton
Tuesday, October 21 TBA
Please mark your calendars to save these dates. Meeting content and locations will be posted on
the TRBP Calendar of upcoming events, or contact Jean Pillo at (860) 928-4948 for more
information or to be added to the TRBP distribution list
If you are not already on the e-distribution list for this publication, contact Jean Pillo by email
and request to be added, or you can download the most current version of this quarterly
publication from the TRBP website. The Thames River Basin Partnership is a voluntary, cooperative effort to share resources, and
strives to develop a regional approach to resource protection. The Partnership is made up of a
variety of agencies, organizations, municipalities, educational institutions, companies, and
individuals interested in the environmental health of the Thames River basin. The TRBP
Coordinator is funded in part by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
through a United States Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act Section 319
Nonpoint Source Grant.