October Restoration Update: Recapping Community Events Across CT and NY

Students from the John S. Martinez School plant native plants at the Haven and Exchange Street Park.

Each Wednesday, we bring you an update on one of our program areas. This week: Ecological Restoration. Read other recent updates on our blog.

The Future of New Haven’s Lower Mill River 

Last Thursday, Save the Sound hosted a final presentation for the Urban Waters Initiative Community Outreach, Engagement, and Leadership Program in the backyard tent space at Junta for Progressive Action in Fair Haven. The afternoon brought together representatives of the City of New Haven, CT DEEP, project partners, and neighborhood residents to hear about the work of 13 dedicated Fair Haven residents who took photos of the environmental reality of their neighborhood using the PhotoVoice method. The Community Leader our team worked with on this project, Xóchitl Garcia, presented community-derived solutions to the issues identified and encouraged guests at the event to commit to projects that would improve the quality of the built and natural environmental of the Fair Haven neighborhood, as well as the quality of the lower Mill River Watershed. Read more about the event in the New Haven Register. 

The photography exhibit featuring the photographs taken by local resident researchers can be viewed at Junta on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. until it is moved to make an appearance at the New Haven Climathon at the end of the month.  

Mary Mushinsky, CT state representative and Director of River Advocates of South Central CT, and Jenny Medina Morris, President and Founder of Omni Culture Communications, contribute their ideas and expertise on the solutions proposed (left). Luis Luna, Xochitl Garcia, and Melissa Pappas stand in front of the photography exhibit currently hosted at Junta for Progressive Action (right).

School Planting Day at the Haven and Exchange Street Park 

Save the Sound’s Watershed Coordinator, Nicole Davis, welcomed 136 elementary school students from the John S. Martinez and Cold Spring Schools to the Haven and Exchange Street Park in New Haven last Friday. Throughout the day, the students and their teachers planted nearly 300 native plants along the bioretention areas of the park. The bioretention areas will filter stormwater as it makes its way into the Mill River. A final planting with more students from the two schools is scheduled for this Friday, 10/7, after which the site will be fully planted and complete. Soon, we will invite the greater New Haven community to a celebration event for the park. We welcome you to visit the park and to stay tuned for future communications about this newly transformed space.  

Nicole Davis helps students dig holes (left). Students from the John S. Martinez Elementary school (center) and Cold Spring School (right) get their hands dirty during the day of planting.

Missed the Hutchison River Watershed Plan Kickoff Webinar? 

One of the first steps of creating a watershed plan is consulting with its residents and community members who will be affected by the plan. Last month, Katie Friedman, our New York Ecological Restoration Program Manager, and Nicole Davis, Watershed Coordinator, hosted a virtual webinar to kick off the Hutchinson River Watershed Plan, a plan that will identify areas of concern and places to prioritize the improvement of this waterway where it flows through communities in Westchester County. The webinar was well attended with over 40 invested community members. For those who could not attend live, we are sharing the recorded webinar here. We encourage those interested to tell us what you’d like to see improved and what you want out of the watershed plan using our interactive Jam Boards, which will be collecting comments until October 31.

Members of the Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club on a streamwalk with Peter Linderoth in the Hutchinson River.

Facts from the Field: Tracking Water Temperature through Dam Removal 

At dam removal project sites across Long Island Sound, our scientists are conducting habitat studies in addition to fisheries research. These habitat studies include collecting water temperature while the dam is still standing and then after the dam is removed. The impoundment, a pond of stagnant water behind every dam, is warmed by the sun, resulting in higher water temperatures. Dam removals allow the river to flow freely again, decreasing its time in the sun, and lowering the water temperature. Low water temperatures are beneficial for limiting stress on cold-blooded fish and wildlife while also reducing the likelihood of harmful algal blooms. Dam removals also restore land area along the riverbank where native vegetation can grow and establish a canopy which shades the river, which also helps keep the water temperatures cool. Water temperature is just one measurement we use to show how our dam removal projects are positively impacting the environment. 

Fish Biologist Jon Vander Werff downloads water temperature data at Long Pond.

Our Ecological Restoration Team in the Media 

Fair Haven residents address climate issues through photography, but ‘we’re not just taking a picture to take it’ 

Community Rain Gardens, Small Projects with Big and Beautiful Upsides 

Rain Garden Installed @ Rye Arts Center 

Regional Director Laura Wildman in Dam Busters Film Trailer 

Upcoming CT Cleanups 

Madison – Hammonasset State Park, Saturday, 10/8, 10a.m.- 1p.m. 

Madison – Madison Surf Club, Saturday, 10/8, 4 p.m. – 6p.m. 

New Haven – Long Wharf, Saturday, 10/8, 1 p.m. – 3p.m. (meet at Canal Dock boathouse) 

Stamford – Cove Island, Sunday, 10/16, 1 p.m. – 3p.m. 

Waterford – Saturday, 10/22, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (4 locations below) 

         Camp Harkness Park 

         Harkness State Park 

         Seaside State Park 

         Waterford Beach Park 

Sign up for these and more here!

Clean Water is on the Ballot in NY

On Nov. 8, New Yorkers will have a chance to vote on the Environmental Bond Act, a $4.2 billion investment in New York’s environmental infrastructure.

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Saturday, April 27, at East Rock Park in New Haven
Celebrate Earth Day, cycle or hike with the New Haven community, fundraise for environmental organizations, and enjoy food, music, and more at the Green Fair on April 27. Join our cycling team to support a healthy, clean, and thriving Long Island Sound region.

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