Outreach and Education

One of the main goals of the Niantic River Watershed Committee is to raise awareness among watershed residents, businesses and visitors about the Niantic River and the 31 square mile watershed.

The Niantic River estuary  has been described as a river on the edge.  While water quality in the Niantic River is generally good most of the year, during the hot summer months the river becomes very stressed. Flow in the streams that bring fresh water to the river decreases as summer groundwater levels drop, and water temperatures in the shallow estuary increase. This creates conditions such as low oxygen levels and high nutrient levels that impact the aquatic plants and animals that call the river home.

The Watershed Committee conducts a variety of outreach activities throughout the year, including K -12 education programs, community outreach, municipal land use commission workshops and presentations. The goals of our outreach programs are:

  • to heighten awareness  of the Niantic River as a commercial and recreational  resource for the community
  • Increase awareness about threats to the river, particularly nutrients which cause uncontrolled algae growth, and fecal bacteria which can contaminate shellfish beds and make the water unsafe for swimming
  • inform land use decision makers about actions they can undertake through the regulatory process to protect water quality throughout the watershed
  • recommend land use practices landowners can adopt to protect the river
  • partner with other local groups to share our message with larger audiences



The Education/Outreach Subcommittee has been working on several ways to get information out to the public by creating a PowerPoint presentation that can be used at workshops, lectures, or conferences that we develop/attend.

Clean Marinas Program 

Connecticut’s Clean Marina Program is a voluntary program that encourages inland and coastal marina operators to minimize pollution.  The program also recognizes Connecticut’s marinas, boatyards, and yacht clubs that go above and beyond regulatory compliance as “Certified Clean Marinas.” Visit the CT DEEP Clean Marinas webpage, http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2705&q=323530&depNav_GID=1635, for more information.

Congratulations to Three Belles Marina and Port Niantic Marina, which became certified “Clean Marinas” in 2010!!!


Save the River-Save the Hills Pumpout Boat

Congress passed the Clean Vessel Act (CVA) in 1992 after finding that there were an inadequate number of onshore sewage disposal facilities in waters frequented by recreational boats and determining that these vessels may be contributing substantially to localized degradation of water quality. The primary goal of the CVA is to reduce overboard sewage discharge from recreational boats. The CVA provides funds to states for the construction, renovation, operation, and maintenance of pumpout stations for holding tanks and dump stations for portable toilets.

Niantic Watershed partner Save the River-Save the Hillsoperates a pumpout boat in the Niantic River. The pumpout boat can be contacted by:

Phone: 860-287-2774
Radio: VHF Channel 68 
Online Request for Pumpout
Services Available: Free pumpout boat
Months/Hours of operation: Memorial Day-Labor Day; Fri-Mon, 9AM-5PM. After Labor Day, Sat-Mon, 9AM-5PM

Niantic River Pumpout Boat




Go Natural for the Niantic – Landscaping for Water Quality

Visit our Landscaping for Water Quality page to learn how the Watershed Committee and Local Nursery and Landscaping Businesses are partnering to help homeowners beautify their properties while improving water quality!



The Niantic River Watershed Website is funded in part by the CT DEEP through a US EPA Nonpoint Source grant under §319 of the Clean Water Act.