Weekeepeemee River Streamwalk
In late July and early August, Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition (PRWC) staff will be walking in the river channel to evaluate conditions along the 9.7 mile length of the Weekeepeemee River as it spans upstream from the center of Woodbury through Bethlehem to the Morris town line. The reason for the survey is that the Weekeepeemee River does not meet federal water quality standards for safe recreation. That means there are high levels of bacteria in the water, typically after storm events. That bacteria flows into the downstream waterways -- Pomperaug and Housatonic Rivers and Long Island Sound -- which also experience high bacteria levels that cause beach closures and limit other recreational opportunities.
PRWC will be taking measurements to evaluate instream habitat conditions, bridges and culverts, erosion, and municipal stormwater outfalls (discharge from storm drains). This project will identify priority restoration opportunities to enhance the overall quality of the stream environment and will help find ways to reduce bacterial inputs to the Weekeepeemee River and its downstream waterways. Not only does this benefit the local community it is of benefit to those living downstream along the Housatonic River (which is now prone to blue-green algae blooms in the summer) and Long Island Sound which are subject to beach closures due to high bacteria levels.
PRWC is working in partnership with the Towns of Bethlehem & Woodbury and the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) on this project, which is funded in part by CT DEEP through a United States Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant.