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The Health of CT's Water Depends on You!

No matter where we live, work, or play, we are always connected to a nearby river, stream, lake, pond, wetland, or shoreline. The rain that falls around us will move according to gravity, following a downhill path to the nearest body of water and, in Connecticut (CT), eventually to the Long Island Sound. This simple fact means that the health of Long Island Sound—and every river and stream that flows into it—is connected to how we live on the land. Yet, many people still think that most water pollution is caused by discharge from business and industry and are unaware of the unique role each of us plays in determining the fate of our waterways.


According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), polluted runoff is the main culprit in declining river health. Runoff is the water that does not soak into the ground during a rainstorm. In the past, water would soak into the ground beneath forests and meadows, but with a growing population, the land that once soaked up excess water has been developed and covered by impervious surfaces (roads, buildings, driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, etc.) therefore increasing the volume of displaced water and creating runoff. As this runoff travels, it picks up minerals, salt, sediment, bacteria, pesticides, and other chemicals from the ground. With fewer natural areas for water to soak into the ground and more excess pollutants, nature’s cleaning system is overloaded, causing more of these pollutants to end up in our waterways.

What is River Smart?

The River Smart initiative aims to provide individuals, businesses, and municipalities with the information and tools to create areas that will naturally absorb and filter runoff, reduce chemical use, and conserve water. Visit to learn more about how polluted runoff affects the health of our local rivers and steps to curb polluted runoff.

The River Smart initiative is led cooperatively by Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition, Housatonic Valley Association, Kent Land Trust, Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust, Rivers Alliance of Connecticut, and the Farmington River Watershed Association. The initiative was made possible through generous grant support from Connecticut Community Foundation, Ellen Knowles Harcourt Foundation, LUSH Cosmetics’ Charity Pot Program, Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, the Merchants of New Preston Village, the City of Derby and Pitney Bowes.

Make the River Smart Pledge Today!

The future health of your water is in your hands. Working collectively, we CAN reduce water pollution and restore the health of our rivers, streams, lakes, and the Long Island Sound. Show your commitment to clean water and make the River Smart Pledge today.

River Smart Resources

I care about protecting the quality of water in our watershed. I know that clean rivers, s
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