Late this summer, field scientists from the consulting firm Fuss & O’Neill traveled throughout the watershed to conduct Visual Assessment Surveys of select rivers and streams on behalf of PRWC. This work is part of a larger effort led by PRWC to update and upgrade its Watershed Based Plan, a project funded in part by Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection through a United States Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant and the Connecticut Community Foundation.
To best inform this Plan, current watershed conditions have been evaluated through the use of GIS mapping, bacteria and nutrient load potential has been estimated through computer modeling, and visual assessment survey data has been collected. The visual surveys have provided a general assessment of in-stream habitat, streambank, riparian buffer, and floodplain conditions; evaluated the potential for stormwater runoff to deliver soil, nutrients, and bacteria from the landscape to nearby waterways; and identified opportunities to implement green infrastructure to reduce stormwater runoff.
In regards to how the data will be used, Erik Mas, Project Manager and Vice President at Fuss & O’Neill said, “These data will help us better gauge the factors that may be contributing to reduced water quality conditions, and will allow us to develop site specific plans where measures can be implemented to minimize bacteria, nutrient and soil inputs into the Pomperaug River and its tributaries as well as to restore in-stream habitat.”
Findings and recommendations will be shared during informational sessions slated to be held in Bethlehem, Southbury, and Woodbury early this winter. At that time, PRWC will seek community input to help refine the Plan which will serve as a road map for state and local agencies to implement protection and restorative measures to further protect and enhance local water resources. The final Plan is expected in late winter.