In 1952, when the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s founders met in the historic Weldon Hotel in Greenfield, MA, their goal was to create an organization that would confront the watershed’s immense water pollution problems and embody what was then an innovative concept: watershed planning.
Today, CRWC’s work depends on people like you who are willing to step up, contributing their time and financial resources to protect the Connecticut River and its 11,000 square mile watershed. We hope that membership in CRWC provides you the satisfaction of helping improve our great river system. With your help, we can meet the goals CRWC founders established and ensure the Connecticut River is a place of beauty and pride for many generations.
The Connecticut River Watershed Council works to protect the watershed from source to sea. As stewards of this heritage, we celebrate our four-state treasure and collaborate, educate, organize, restore, and intervene to preserve the health of the whole for generations to come. Our work informs our vision of ecological and economic abundance.
During its first decade CRWC focused on raising consciousness about what was then described as “America’s best landscaped sewer,” through publication of an atlas of natural resources and by holding conferences, planning boating trips on the river and helping to create watershed associations in the tributaries, such as the Farmington and the Westfield. The annual Source to Sea Cleanup began in 1996. In 1998, the Connecticut River was designated by the US EPA as an American Heritage River – one of 14 in the country. CRWC purchased the historic E.A. Hall Building, located in Greenfield, MA in 1999, bringing the organization home to the same town where it was founded in 1952. In 2010, CRWC proudly opened its own water quality monitoring lab to process water samples for bacteria. In 2012, the Connecticut River and watershed was named the nation’s first National Blueway.
Throughout its history, CRWC has raised the public’s awareness of what it means to live in a watershed. We’ve helped stem the rising tide of pesticides that once leached into waterways, and helped to halt the flow of thermal pollution into those same waters while preventing the diversion and sale of river water out of our region. Today, CRWC and its members can extol decades of work that have again made the Connecticut a treasure in New England and the Nation.
We continue to meet the challenges of 21st century watershed protection. We’re guiding development, preventing erosion, restoring stream passage, and making sure hydropower and industrial permits are aligned to protect our natural heritage for future generations.
We’re solving the nagging problem of raw sewage entering urban streams and safeguarding a biodiversity that includes bald eagles and dwarf wedgemussels. We’re working each day to make this great river valley a better place to call home for over 2 million people, and 5,000 watershed species.
If we could fit what we do on a business card, we would. We can’t. Sewage discharge, endangered mussels, nuclear plant effluent, invasive plants, fish passage, land preservation, urban parks, river access, hydro-plant licensing, biodiversity, public education, water quality testing, habitat restoration, toxic spills, river cleanups, municipal water permits—we work on all these issues. Be assured, our work is always linked to protecting this great river and its tributaries.
We are unique in our purview. No other agency—state, federal, nonprofit, or private, has the broad responsibilities, diversity of mission and independent voice of CRWC. Though it may not appear glamorous, our day-to-day work stretches from the Quebec border to the tides of Long Island Sound and helps preserve an amazing natural heritage for future generations. Without CRWC, critical elements of preservation might be lost across state lines—or damaged by ill-suited development or stymied by political whims and short-sighted industrial practices.
Board of Trustees
CRWC Trustees serve overlapping three-year terms. Trustees are allowed to serve three consecutive terms, at which point they are required to leave the board for a minimum of one year before they are allowed to serve again.
The Connecticut, New England’s longest river, stretches for 410 miles from a small pond on a spruce-fir ridge at the northern tip of New Hampshire on the Quebec border to the beaches and marshes of Long Island Sound. Its watershed drains some 11,000 square miles of rural, wild, and urban land.
Two countries share a border at the river’s northern edge, and four states are inextricably linked by this network of earth, river and sea. All share in the rich heritage of the Connecticut—the “long tidal river” named by the Algonquians of southern New England.