The Willimantic River Alliance will participate in a regional project to improve water quality in the river and its tributaries. This outreach initiative is based on the results of a Streamwalk in the river's watershed.
In 2000 and 2001, 50 volunteers participated in a Streamwalk along the Willimantic River and its tributaries. After attending a training session, teams walked, waded or paddled along the waterways to observe conditions in the water and along the banks. All of the data they collected was entered into a database, and a Streamwalk report was published in 2002. The Eastern Connecticut Conservation District (ECCD) coordinated this effort and produced the Streamwalk Report with funding in part by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Water Act 319 nonpoint source grant. At that time, ECCD was the Windham County Soil and Waters Conservation District.
The ECCD recently received a grant to review the Streamwalk data and to create action plans to address water quality problems identified in 2000-01. These plans will include revisiting specific sites and assisting towns, local agencies and organizations to plan for improving water quality at these sites. The goal of these projects is to improve the overall water quality in the river and its tributaries and to enhance the quality of the Willimantic River Greenway, which offers prime fishing sites and a canoe-kayak trail. ECCD is sponsoring this project in cooperation with the Willimantic River Alliance and the North Central Conservation District, which includes a northern portion of the river's watershed. This follow-up project is funded in part by a Connecticut DEP grant for water quality management planning through a U.S. EPA 604 (b) grant.
How Can You Help?
Contact Greg Smith at ECCD at (860) 887-4163, ext. 3011, to volunteer for follow-up field trips to specific sites in the summer of 2005, or to assist in projects for resolving problem areas, including clean-up projects.