March 7, 2012

Mayor Daniel T. Drew
City Hall
245 deKoven Drive
Middletown, CT 06457

Re: Thank you from the Connecticut River Watershed Council

Dear Mayor Drew,

On behalf of the Connecticut River Watershed Council I want to thank you for your participation in New England Public Radio’s “Root for Your Radio” Campaign, which has successfully pledged over 2,600 trees to storm damaged communities throughout the Connecticut River watershed, including Middletown.  Your radio blurb for the campaign was really well done and was very compelling.  We are very happy to be working with the Urban Forestry Commission to help recreate some of the natural history of Middletown and the beauty and tranquility the Arboretum brings to the city.  Thank you for helping to bring trees back to Middletown.

The Connecticut River Watershed Council is a nonprofit organization established in 1952 to advocate for the sustainable use of the Connecticut River throughout the entire four-state watershed that is home to more than 2.5 million people.  We work to conserve, protect and restore water quality and quantity, habitat and recreational access within the watershed.  My office is in the deKoven House, and I work on the stretch of river from the MA border to the River’s mouth, where it provides 70% of all the freshwater entering Long Island Sound.

We are also pleased to be doing innovative work with the great individuals of the Water & Sewer Department on a bank stabilization project to protect the John S. Roth well field on the Connecticut River.  Like the Department, we believe the protection of drinking water to be a top priority.  I have mostly corresponded with James Sipperly on this project and have also benefited from talking with Guy Russo and Christopher Holden at an initial site visit during the fall of 2011.  We are looking at creative solutions to protect drinking water for city residents, enhance floodplain vegetation and produce a project the City can be proud of.

We have appreciated the receptivity to looking at examples of what has worked well in other places on the part of both the City and the Corps.  A follow up site visit, preferably soon, with involved parties taking a look at specific treatments to be used at various locations would be very helpful.  Specifically, we are hoping to see hard armourment techniques used only where necessary, and we would like more confidence in a plan to prioritize preservation and regrowth of trees and diverse herbaceous and shrubby vegetation than what has been initially drafted.  It would be wonderful to be able to float by this site and an earlier project slightly upstream whilst on a kayak or canoe and see secured, vegetated banks.  We are very hopeful that a commitment by the Water & Sewer Department and the Army Corp to think creatively about this project will not only protect the well fields but enhance the river bank as well.

It has been very good to work with the City thus far, and we look forward to continued opportunities to improve our river and community in turn. Thank you for your stewardship of our water resources.


Jacqueline Talbot
Lower River Steward

cc  James Sipperly, Middletown Water and Sewer Department
Guy Russo, Middletown Water and Sewer Department
Chris Holden, Middletown Water and Sewer Department
Robert Russo, Army Corps of Engineers
Kennith Levitt, Army Corps of Engineers
Matt Dodge, Middletown Conservation Commission
Jane Brawerman, Chair Middletown Conservation Commission