Nov. 27, 2017

Save Oswegatchie Hills

The Oswegatchie Hills are a fragile coastal forest located in southeastern Connecticut on the Niantic River, a tidal estuary that flows directly into the Long Island Sound. The Hills teem with wildlife and encompass rugged forest, vital wetlands, and spectacular rock formations.

Click here to visit the Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound site to learn about the Save Oswegatchie Hills Coalition and view a new video about Osewagatchie Hills.

Nov. 27, 2017

Op-Ed/Guest Opinions:

Shellfish proposals sign of healthier waterways

If you live next door to a town park, you might sometimes share your neighborhood with vendors who sell their produce at a farmer’s market, young soccer players and families cheering them on, or community gardeners who rent plots to grow tomatoes and green beans. These groups must all get permission from the town to use the public space, agree to follow the rules for what they can and can’t do and may pay a fee for the privilege.

Read this Op-ED by Judy Benson and Tessa Getchis at The Day.

Oct. 17, 2017

Grand Street Water Quality Improvement Project

The Eastern Connecticut Conservation District and Town of East Lyme are installing twenty tree wells in the 55-acre Grand Street neighborhood to improve water quality in the Niantic River.  Storm water from the Grand Street neighborhood currently flows into storm drain pipes under the road and is discharged into the Niantic River from a storm pipe by the Grand Street boat launch.

This tree well in the Grand Street neighborhood will help improve water quality in the Niantic River and Long Island Sound.

We are concerned about NPS in the Niantic River because each time it rains, shellfish beds in the Niantic River need to be closed because of contamination by fecal bacteria and other pathogens contained in stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff also contains nitrogen, a component of fertilizer and septic system leachate. Nitrogen feeds algae and can result in algae blooms during the summer. When the algae die, the bacteria that decompose it deplete oxygen in the river, which can harm the aquatic environment and cause fish die-offs. The installation of tree wells will help to reduce the amount of polluted runoff entering the Niantic River each time it rains, making the river a bit cleaner and working towards the goal of ending shellfish bed closures and algae blooms.

This project is being conducted by the Town of East Lyme and the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Niantic River Watershed Committee. It is funded by DEEP through a US EPA Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source program grant. The CWA Section 319 NPS program provides funds to conduct water quality improvement projects to reduce NPS in waterbodies like the Niantic River that have known water quality issues.

For more information about this project or tree wells, please contact Judy Rondeau at the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District at 860-774-9600 x13 or


Sept. 11, 2017

Tree filters planned to treat stormwater in downtown Niantic

East Lyme — Plans are underway to install tree filters this fall in the Grand Street area of town, with the goal of improving the environmental quality of the Niantic River and its watershed.

Read this article by Kimberly Drelich at The Day here.

Aug. 7, 2017

Connecticut’s ocean economy grew in 2014, report shows

Connecticut’s ocean economy grew by nearly 1 percent during 2014, with the tourism and recreation sector employing the most workers, and the ship and boat building sector contributing the highest value in terms of wages, according to a new federal report.

 The report, by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management, shows employment growth nationally in the ocean economy of 2.5 percent from 2013 to 2014 and growth in goods and services of 15.6 percent from 2007 to 2014. The ocean economy includes living resources, marine construction, marine transportation, offshore mineral extraction, ship and boat building and tourism and recreation.

 State-specific information in the report shows Connecticut’s ocean economy employed about 51,000 people, generating $2 billion in wages and $4.2 billion in gross domestic product. That’s just over 3 percent of the state’s total employment, about 2 percent of its wages and 1.7 percent of its GDP, according to the report.

 Most of the ocean economy workforce was based in Fairfield County, in tourism and recreation-related businesses, according to the report. New London County, where submarine builder Electric Boat is located, supplied the largest proportion of the ocean economy GDP. The ship and boat building sector statewide contributed $1.4 billion of Connecticut’s total gross domestic products, the report found.

The report’s findings highlight the importance of the ocean economy to Connecticut. Although it is the nation’s third smallest state in land area, and 29th in population, it ranks 15th in ocean economy employment and 14th in GDP among the 30 coastal states.

 To access the report, visit:

 More information can also be found on the Economics: National Ocean Watch data page at:

Re-posted from Connecticut Sea Grant Research Announcements.

July 25, 2017

Eelgrass on Decline in Narragansett Bay, Coastal Ponds

KINGSTON, R.I. — Michael Bradley calls eelgrass “the canary in the coal mine for estuarine health.” The flowering plant that grows beneath the surface of coastal waters and salt ponds provides nursery habitat for shellfish and finfish, while also dampening wave energy, stabilizing sediments, and serving as an indicator of clean water.

Read this article from ecoRI News at 

July 13, 2017

Come Celebrate East Lyme Day!!

Join NRWC members on Main Street this Saturday for East Lyme. Learn about the watershed and activities NRWC has undertaken to preserve and protect the Niantic River.

July 13, 2017


Join staff and volunteers at the Children’s Museum of Southeast Connecticut for hands-on sessions about water and our coastal communities. This program is a collaboration with Save Oswegatchie Hills Coalition founders and Niantic River Watershed Committee.

July 12 – Niantic River Watershed
What’s a watershed? Where does its water come from, and where does it go? How can we keep our streams, rivers and Long Island Sound waters clean, swimmable and home for aquatic life? Make it rain on farms, yards and streets of our EnviroScape®! See where you are on our big map of the Niantic River Watershed!

July 26 – Oswegatchie Hills Wetlands
What are wetlands? Who lives in them? Why do we need to protect them? Create a rainstorm on our wetlands EnviroScape® and see how wetlands help protect our rivers and streams from pollution. See what plants and animals depend on the wetlands in the Oswegatchie Hills. Plan your next trip to Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve in East Lyme!

August 9 – Long Island Sound & Beaches
How healthy is your favorite beach? Meet a local “Sound Sleuther” volunteer who is testing Niantic Bay. Use our EnviroScape® to learn about point and non-point source pollution and what you can do to protect our beaches. See the 2016 Long Island Sound Report Card!

For more details you can download this event flyer: CMSECT_WaterWed2017_8.5×11

April 4, 2017

East Lyme students win award for documentary on environment

Three East Lyme High School seniors recently won an award for a documentary that tries to bring the issue of preserving open space and the environment to the forefront.

Click here to read this article by Kimberly Drelich of The Day.