Greenfield, MA One year can make a big difference to the health of our local rivers. The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) completed several meaningful river restoration projects in 2015 across the four-state Connecticut River watershed (NH, VT, MA & CT). Fish, wildlife and local communities are already experiencing the benefits of cleaner waters.

Several studies highlight the economic benefits of healthy rivers and river restoration. A recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study shows habitat restoration creates 17-33 jobs per $1 million invested. For comparison, the oil and gas sector creates about five jobs per $1 million invested and road infrastructure generates seven jobs per $1 million invested. (Edwards PET, et al. Investing in nature: Restoring coastal habitat blue infrastructure and green job creation. Mar. Policy (2012), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2012.05.020)

“A healthy environment and a healthy economy go hand in hand, and these projects provide tens of thousands of dollars to local businesses in our river communities. It really is a win-win for all,” notes CRWC’s North Country River Steward Ron Rhodes.

CRWC completed the following projects, together with volunteers and partner organizations, in 2015:

  • Removal of an old, deadbeat dam on the Wells River in Groton, VT that was blocking fish passage and cutting off the river’s access to a floodplain forest
  • Replacement of an undersized, perched culvert on Abbott Brook in Strafford, VT with a larger flood and fish friendly structure
  • Planting 3,000 native trees and shrubs in NH, VT and MA to help reduce erosion, filter pollutants, and improve wildlife habitat in streams and along riverbanks
  • Cleaned up 50 tons of trash, including 1,437 tires, by 2,296 volunteers in all four states as part of CRWC’s 19th annual Source to Sea Cleanup
  • Sampling 65 locations in four states (NH, VT, MA and CT) in a single day to measure nutrient pollutants and guide solutions to environmental problems in our rivers
  • Tested bacteria levels weekly from late May to early October at five locations in MA. Worked with 15 partners to share bacteria test results for over 130 locations in all four states online (ConnecticutRiver.us) for river users

“Every year our goal is to make real, on-the-ground improvements throughout the watershed,” says CRWC’s Executive Director Andrew Fisk. “Our job is to find environmental problems and help solve them. We do that by bringing money, expertise, and commitment to the table. Thanks to all our funders, partner organizations and volunteers who help make these projects possible. ”

The Connecticut River is one great river that connects the human and natural communities along its banks in all four states. Despite differences between states, CRWC has one unifying goal of clean, healthy rivers for all. CRWC has been working toward that goal since 1952 and 2015 marks another successful year of progress. But there is more to do and CRWC is already looking forward a busy field season in 2016.

CRWC’s anticipated projects in 2016 include:

  • Replacing a culvert in Haverhill, NH to improve fish passage and flood protection
  • Bioengineering project in North Stratford, NH on Bissell Brook to repair erosion and protect a recreational trail
  • Planting trees along rivers in Lisbon, Haverhill and Orford, NH to repair erosion and improve water quality and habitat
  • Dam removals in Vermont (locations TBD)
  • Installing a manure management system and planting trees at Gamblin’ Farm in Haverhill, NH
  • Installing a stream crossing/culvert, fencing and planting trees at Knapton Farm in Piermont, NH
  • Fish passage project on the Sawmill River in Montague, MA
  • Restoration of flood damaged rivers and farm land in the Deerfield River watershed in MA
  • Expanded bacteria monitoring across all four river states
  • Aquatic invasive plant removal in MA and CT
  • Assisting river herring to get relocated above dams to reach breeding habitat in MA and CT
  • Tons more trash removed from in/along rivers during the 20th annual Source to Sea Cleanup

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 its health for generations to come. Our work informs our vision of economic and ecological abundance. To learn more about CRWC, or to make a contribution to help protect the Connecticut River, visit www.ctriver.org or call 413-772-2020, ext. 201.

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