Eightmile River Stormwater Project Underway

March 29th, 2011

mapping municipal stormwater outlets over the next 10 months.  This is part of a partnership project with the towns of Salem, East Haddam and Lyme, The Eightmile Wild & Scenic Coordinating Committee and Eastern Connecticut Resource Conservation Area, Inc.  Funding for the project is provided by a grant through the National Fish and Wildlife Federation.  Please contact Patricia Young with the Eightmile River Watershed if you have any questions.  (860) 345-8700 

 

 

Down the Drain

 

Right about now, with the snowmelt and spring rains upon us, we are thankful to have roads that are designed to drain properly, keeping us safe in our travels.  That water does however, need to go somewhere.  In some cases road drainage is designed to drain to adjacent land over long stretches, while other times it is necessary to collect the water and transport it to another spot for discharge. 

In the past, road drainage was considered relatively clean water.  Today we know that it can carry excess nutrients, bacteria, heavy metals, oils, grease, salt, sand and other debris when it discharges.  Additionally in summer, with asphalt surfaces reaching well over 100ºF, it produces flushes of warm or even hot water.   The closer the discharges are to bodies of water, the higher the potential for water degradation.

One of the first steps to effectively manage stormwater from an environmental perspective is to figure out what is actually out there and where it drains to.  With that in mind the Eightmile River Wild & Scenic Coordinating Committee, or ERWSCC for short, teamed up with the three main watershed towns of Salem, East Haddam and Lyme and the Eastern Connecticut Resource Conservation Area, Inc., and went in search of some financial support.  That support was received by way of a federal grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Federation by way of the Long Island Sound Future’s Fund.  Recognizing that towns operate on a town-wide basis, as opposed to following watershed lines, the grant provides enough funding to map all municipal stormwater outlets town-wide.

The firm of Nathan L. Jacobson & Associates, Inc. has been hired to conduct the field mapping as well as identify options for the town when infrastructure needs to be replaced.   Some of you may recognize this local firm as one that also provides engineering support to the towns of East Haddam and Salem.  While not the primary goal of this project, the team was pleased that its request to utilize the services of a local business was approved.

Let’s face it. Road drainage is probably not the most exciting topic for the majority of folks.  But if you live near the water, enjoy fishing or boating or just a quiet hike along a wooded stream, you most likely appreciate clean water. And clean water, along with ensuring public safety, is the main goal of this project.

Want to do more?  ERWSCC launched its RiverSmart Program a couple of years ago in an effort to involve local citizens in protecting the watershed they live in.  This program outlines several simple activities that residents can do to improve water quality on their own properties.  You can find more information about the RiverSmart Program and get your own free RiverSmart home decal by visiting our website at www.eightmileriver.org.  This program is open to all residents in the town, no matter what watershed you live in.

Finally we would like to recognize all the efforts of the town road crews, especially this past winter.  Their willingness to work under all sorts of hazardous conditions to ensure our safety is to be applauded. 

Should you have any questions regarding this project, please feel free to contact us at (860) 345-8700.

-Eightmile River Wild & Scenic Coordinating Committee