"A river is the report card for its watershed." (Alan Levere, CT DEEP)

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Rivers Alliance 
PO Box 1797
7 West Street, 3rd Floor
Litchfield, CT 06759

Connecticut Conservation Network

The Connecticut Watershed Conservation Network (CWC Network) is an environmental forum sponsored by Rivers Alliance of Connecticut. The Network brings together members of river and watershed groups, land trusts, conservation commissions, government agencies, and other stakeholders to identify ways we can improve our communication, share our organizational resources, and better coordinate our watershed protection efforts statewide.

The CWC Network welcomes all people and groups interested in watershed conservation in Connecticut. If you would like more information or wish to support us, please contact us at 860-361-9349 or e-mail to rivers@riversalliance.org. Services offered include e-mail news, two annual conferences, special workshops, and answers to your conservation questions.

Please consider joining our support organization, the Rivers Alliance of Connecticut. RA is a nonprofit, statewide river conservation coalition. RA's members are individuals, organizations, and corporations concerned with the health and protection of Connecticut's waters.

Roadside pesticide spraying by state and local governments was the main topic at the Connecticut Watershed Conservation Network conference May 30 at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury. A panel on pesticide spraying included speakers from the state departments of Transportation, Energy and Environmental Protection, and Public Health, as well as the nonprofit Watershed Partnership.

The DOT conducts spraying mostly to maintain required sight lines on roadways, ensure guardrails are visible, and control invasive vegetation. DOT sometimes uses mechanical means to control vegetation, but that is more time-consuming and costly than spraying. DOT works with DPH and water companies to alter spraying near public water supplies but not near rivers and streams. The state also sprays for mosquitoes to protect people from illnesses such as West Nile Virus.

Some of the concerns expressed about current pesticide spraying approaches were:

  • Scientific studies indicate that glyphosate (a chemical in popular pesticides such as Roundup, Razor, and Rodeo) is harmful to human and animal health, especially the functioning of reproductive systems. Alternative pesticides all appear to pose threats to humans and wildlife, especially to small animals like amphibians, as well as to children and pregnant women.
  • Individual towns have little or no ability to regulate pesticide spraying within their borders. While the state can regulate, CT lacks clear guidelines and effective regulation. Comparatively, many other states require detailed plans to be approved and made public prior to spraying in accordance.
  • Water companies do extensive water testing but are not required to account for most of the pesticides of concern.

Overall, attendees noted a need for better data on pesticide use and a greater effort to find nontoxic alternatives.

Also on the conference agenda was an overview of the recent legislative session, as well as announcements, including one concerning “River Smart,” an initiative of Aspetuck Pomperaug River Partners to encourage landowners to reduce polluted runoff from their property into local streams. For more on the conference please see the agenda at http://www.cwcnetwork.org/CWCN/conf20140530.htm