Advocacy

Norwalk River Watershed Association

Action Alert! Ask the Norwalk Inland Wetland Commission to preserve the conservation easement that protects open space and wetlands at Norden Place. A developer would like to amend the easement in order to create emergency access to an area in Westport it seeks to develop. Sign this petition and please attend the Dec. 10th 7pm Public Hearing at Norwalk City Hall – Community Room 1st Floor. Easements are passed to protect open space, and we rely on the city to protect and uphold them. Contact us for more information at info@norwalkriver.org.
Here is the letter NRWA sent advocating the protection of the easement. 

Action Alert! Help Soundkeeper Bill Lucey Hold the Fishing Industry Accountable. 35 Million Lbs Over the Limit?! Thanks to their ability to inhabit salt, fresh, and brackish waters; striped bass can be found throughout Long Island Sound and are pursued by fisherman of all ages but their population is at risk. The striped bass nursery in the Chesapeake Bay is the largest on the Atlantic coast and contributes a significant portion of the bass that migrate through the Sound. The primary prey for Chesapeake striped bass is menhaden, and older bass—those that breed and build the population—are most dependent on them. This nursery is now at risk because Omega Protein, a Canadian-owned company, willfully violated the fishing cap established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, unilaterally declaring they’ll take over 30% more menhaden from the Chesapeake Bay than they’re allowed. 

The reason those of us working in the Long Island Sound and Hudson River estuaries are concerned about what happens in the Chesapeake Bay is that many of those striped bass share our waters during their seasonal migrations. Many species, including menhaden, migrate through multiple state jurisdictions so it is imperative that states are coordinated to ensure long term productivity of any given fishery. When states begin to operate independently, like Virginia has,interested parties can push for a harvest quota larger than the fishery can handle sustainably. This is why the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission was established.

On September 12, Omega Protein, announced that it would not honor the Chesapeake Bay cap of 51,000 metric tons (MT) and would instead fish to a cap of 67,000 MT. The ASMFC has voted in favor of a non-compliance finding for the state of Virginia.

CLICK HERE TO SEND US YOUR COMMENTS

CLICK HERE TO SEE NRWA’S COMMENTS

Thanks for joining us in support of this effort to protect the striped bass population of Long Island Sound. Bill Lucey, Soundkeeper, Save the Sound

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In 2019 NRWA focused on these legislative actions to protect the watershed AND THEY WERE PASSED:

1. Passing the State Water Plan. PLEASE ASK YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES TO SUPPORT THE STATE WATER PLAN AS WRITTEN BY SUPPORTING HB 6645 AN ACT APPROVING THE STATE WATER PLAN.To provide that a public trust be retained in the water of the state. 

HERE IS A SAMPLE LETTER                More information on the State Water Plan.

2. Banning Fracking Waste Statewide and in the meantime locally in the four watershed towns that don’t have bans. (Lewisboro, NY, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston & Norwalk are protected.) Support the 2019 State Bill: SB 753.  Here’s How and more on the issue. 

3. A statewide ban on plastic bags. SB 1003 AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF SINGLE USE PLASTIC BAGS AND PAPER BAGS.

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For the 2020 legislative session, we will focus on these important issues:

1. Updating CT’s Bottle BIll.  We support a bill like 2019 HB 7294 to update and expand the bottle bill to keep it viable. More information here.

2. We support a bill like 2019 Pesticide Bill SB 76 that would give municipalities the right to make decisions about pesticide applications in their own towns. Letter from Beyond Pesticides that really explains the issue. Sample letter from Pollinator Pathway & Sample letter from Protect Our Pollinators. 

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Our Advocacy Work

The Norwalk River Watershed Association serves as a guardian of the watershed, voicing concerns about threats to the area’s environment through pollution, development, legislation and regulation. NRWA frequently submits comments and suggestions on proposed development of or new regulations related to the watershed.
Recent comments regarding state and local projects/policies that affect our watershed:

Letter advocating for the protection of Norden Place conservation easement

Letter protesting overfishing that threatens striped bass populations in the Sound

Letter supporting the Weston plastic bag ban and fee on paper bags

Letter supporting HB 76 regarding pesticide use autonomy by municipalities

Letter supporting a bill to support the transfer of brownfields designated as special taxing districts (like Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill)

Letter supporting the 2019 bill to ban fracking waste state-wide

Letter supporting a pilot program allowing towns to raise money for open space using a 1% conveyance fee

Letter to Gov. Cuomo of New York regarding the proposed sale of Plum Island

Comments on the proposed redevelopment of ASML property at 77 Danbury Road, Wilton

Comments on the proposed development of Wilton Heights at 300 Danbury Road, Wilton

Suggestions for Norwalk POCD 2018

Suggestions for Wilton POCD 2018

Comments Opposing SB 427: AN ACT CONCERNING PUBLIC TRUST COMPONENTS OF THE STATE WATER PLAN, March 2018

Comments Supporting Charter Revision In Ridgefield Establishing Independant Inland Wetlands Board, March 2018

   & More Information About the Ridgefield Charter Revision and How to Craft Your Letter

Comments Opposed to Federal Plans for Oil and Gas Drilling Offshore of CT, March 2018

Comments in Support of Banning Mosquito Misters, March 2018

Comments in Support of SB 103 A Bill To Ban Fracking Waste from CT, February 2018

WPC Draft State Water Plan, November 2017

CT DOT Plans for Redesigning the Route 7/Route 15 Interchange in Norwalk, October 2017

PURA Proposed acquisition of Aquarion Water by Eversource Energy, September 2017

CT DOT Walk Bridge Project, December 2016

CT DEEP Re: Proposed selection of the Norwalk River and the Norwalk Harbor embayment as candidates for water quality restoration work as part of Connecticut’s Integrated Water Resource Management Plan, June 2016

Board members represent the interests of the watershed by taking part in public hearings, workshops, and related committees and other Boards such as:

FCRCP (Fairfield County Regional Conservation Partnership)

Land Trusts and Conservation Commissions play an important role by preserving access to natural spaces, clean water, and healthy ecosystems, all of which contribute to the well-being of communities and individuals. The Fairfield County Regional Conservation Partnership (www.fcrcp.net) makes these land trusts and commissions stronger by integrating ideas, leadership, and outreach across town boundaries, allowing them to protect more land over broader scales.

NRWI (Norwalk River Watershed Initiative)

The Norwalk River Watershed Initiative (NRWI) is a partnership among the seven watershed municipalities; federal and state governments; conservation and environmental groups; businesses and, you, the public. Efforts are focused on our primary mission which is to protect and improve the quality of our water and overall health of our river, streams, lakes and wetlands. The Initiative strives to bring together the efforts and resources of other groups with a similar focus including The Norwalk River Watershed Association, Trout Unlimited, HarborWatch at Earthplace, the Norwalk River Valley Trail, and local schools and communities. NRWI goals and objectives seek to engage our entire watershed community which requires a balance between environmental concerns with community and business development interests. The greatest chance for success is when all are vested and work together pooling resources toward a common goal – water systems that are healthy, clean and dynamic.

Norwalk River Valley Trail

The Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT) project aims to build 38 miles of multi-purpose trail connecting Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, Connecticut, and Rogers Park in Danbury, passing through Wilton, Ridgefield, and Redding on the way.

In addition to creating recreational opportunities for walkers, hikers, cyclists, kids, pets and – on some stretches – equestrians, the NRVT will offer a green and healthy transportation alternative to reach rail stations, schools, offices, and businesses.

Earthplace’s Harbor Watch

Harbor Watch monitors a wide area of watershed from the Pequonnock River in Bridgeport to Holly Pond in Stamford in an attempt to protect and improve the biological integrity of Long Island Sound. It is the leading volunteer assisted water quality monitoring program in Fairfield County, which has inspired water quality activism throughout the region. Through this volunteer-driven model, the program simultaneously addresses Long Island Sound contamination issues and educates the environmental scientists of the future through hands-on research and experiential learning.

Trout Unlimited

The Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited is part of a national conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring our coldwater fisheries. As a conservation organization, the Mianus Chapter is primarily involved in active restoration work on local rivers and streams, but also promotes educational activities, hosts regular fishing outings and works with local and state agencies and regional environmental organizations to plan and implement conservation programs.