Signs of Improvement?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) included the Norwalk River on its recent list of “Water bodies Improved” because of reduced bacteria levels and improved water quality. The EPA reclassified two sections of the river, one near Old Mill Road in Wilton and one in the Stonehenge area of Ridgefield, removing them from its “Impaired Waters” list. Crediting the work of NRWA, Harbor Watch, Norwalk River Watershed Initiative, and Trout Unlimited in its report, the EPA recognizes the importance of the work these organizations and their volunteers do to protect and restore the watershed. The EPA lists pollution sources in the watershed as including, “permitted municipal wastewater and storm water discharges, runoff from impervious surfaces, failing septic systems, pet and domestic animal waste, and wildlife.” The results from data collected from 1998 to 2011 showed levels of e-coli above those that meet water quality standards for recreational use and aquatic life support. Our community changed that through years of helping to “educate schoolchildren, garden club members, and the public about household pollution prevention, domestic animal waste management, management of non-migratory Canada geese, organic land care, and the use of LID (Low Impact Development) practices such as rain barrels and rain gardens.”
Norwalk River Water Quality Reports
The Norwalk River Watershed Action Plan, drafted in 1998 and updated in 2011, presents a vision for a restored watershed with the primary goal of identifying and implementing strategies that include implementation of watershed-wide management measures, site specific recommendations to address known water quality issues, and targeted strategies with the goal of reducing bacterial, nutrient and other pollutants in the Norwalk River and its tributaries. The Norwalk River Watershed Initiative is charged with administering the plan.