HVA works directly and in partnership with grassroots groups to serve the 750,000 residents living in the Housatonic River watershed through three major programs and associated projects. These are: 1) Land Protection Program aimed at conserving our most vulnerable natural areas and special places, 2) Water Protection Program aimed at protecting rivers, streams and drinking water supplies including deployment of volunteer teams to monitor river shoreline and in-stream water quality; working with community leaders to fix pollution problems and restore healthy river, stream and wetland ecosystems; and 3) Community Education and Events with projects aimed at, among other things, school programs, river cleanups, family hikes and paddling events, and publications that reach land use leaders, river users and the public at large.
For more than twenty years HVA has partnered on numerous projects and initiatives in the southern Housatonic valley communities. In addition to recent Low Impact Development programs, we published Sound Science, a teachers’ guide to help students understand how rivers affect the health of Long Island Sound. We also created and distributed a comprehensive guide, The Heart of the Housatonic, designed to bring people back to the river and highlight how to care for this precious resource.
HVA partners with business and community leaders in the Berkshires, New York State and the Southern Valley to achieve its mission through three major programs and associated projects:
I. Land Protection (Housatonic River Greenway, Litchfield Hills Greenprint Project, technical assistance to grassroots groups and community land use boards, and providing the leadership to federal initiatives such as the Highlands Coalition). Our most recent Land Protection achievements include the permanent conservation of more than 3,000 acres of land in the watershed; adding 2 new miles to the Housatonic River Greenway and winning formal adoption into the Connecticut Greenways Plan.
II. Water Protection (community shoreline surveys/water monitoring, leading statewide initiatives to protect river flow and guide PCB contamination cleanup) Recent achievements include: coordinating more than 40 partner grassroots groups in periodic watershed-wide river cleanups that have netted more than 500 tons of garbage to date; recruiting and training 200 volunteers in Stream Teams to survey 80% of the Housatonic Riverfront and all of the Tenmile and Still River riverfronts, and test water quality in about 45 % of the watershed; fixing 20 of the more than 60 pollution sites found in the field including an illegal toxic dump, leaking sewage pipes, storm drain dumping and riparian destruction.
III. Community Outreach (adult and youth education including publishing and distributing materials about water protection, low impact development, Long Island Sound, destination points of Housatonic River communities; and homeowner guides.) We have created and distributed 10,000 copies of our Guide to the Housatonic River Estuary, our How to Ace Your River Report Card for developers and land use commissions, and the Heart of the Housatonic guide to river town attractions in northwest Connecticut; and created the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Project with our partner the Trust for Public Land that has compiled the most accurate assessment of conserved lands/ important natural resources in 28 Litchfield Hills towns plus a model to predict growth to help community land trusts increase the pace and quality of land conservation in the region.
1) Increase the technical knowledge among land use decision makers and practitioners in targeted communities about how to reduce polluted runoff through Low Impact Development (LID).
2) Incorporate LID strategies into land use regulations and practices in the targeted communities
To increase the pace of conservation of forest, farmland, and water supply watersheds.
1) Land acquisition and management funds to partner with, and assist the land trusts within the Litchfield Hills.
2) A new web-based mapping program to give land trusts and municipal land use leaders in 28 towns access to forest, farm and water supply land parcel data; protected land parcel data; and landscape data of significance.
To build streamwalk and water quality monitoring programs in New York and northwestern Connecticut for citizens to protect their local water resources and educate the public about stream ecology and threats to our region..
To provide recreational access to the Housatonic River through foot, bicycle and paddling trails and new paddling access sites.
To introduce students and the public to watershed science and river health through sampling, classroom programs and family activities
We can’t say it enough to all who support our work– thank you!
Your passion and leadership are evident all across this great river valley. And your enthusiasm is contagious.
Land conservation leaders across the Litchfield Hills are collaborating to build the financial power needed to protect our remaining forests and habitats. Town leaders are teaming up with stream ecologists to protect our most precious cold water streams. Students and volunteers are planting rain gardens and buffers to restore clean water.
Yes, we do face unprecedented environmental threats. Changing climate conditions push habitats northward and threaten our precious and finite supplies of clean water. We spent a good part of the year examining new ways to tackle these issues. Our new strategic plan challenges us to share the urgency of our watershed’s story and attract the very best human and financial resources to our cause.
The decisions we make in the next ten years will profoundly impact the nature and health of the Housatonic Watershed. You balance the odds. You make success possible. Imagine where this valley would be without you. Imagine what dreams we will achieve together.
On behalf of the rest of the HVA team, thank you!
F. Anthony Zunino, President
Water Protection - includes 1)river shoreline surveys with volunteers along the Housatonic River and her tributaries in MA, CT and NY, 2) Follow-up water quality monitoring with trained volunteers at selected sights to determine the extent of fishable and swimable water, and find and fix pollution problems
Education projects with schools and adults to fix storm water pollution, create river buffers with natural vegetation, and improve household activities to better protect water. Working at state levels to improve water and land protection policies and opportunities for residents and community leaders.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Greater New Haven’s vibrancy is linked to its communities’ support of its neighborhoods, public gardens and sports, as well as its commitment to the protection of its people and pets.
Stewardship of our natural resources is essential if we wish to guarantee that present and future generations enjoy clean water, good air quality and open spaces. When you support organizations that protect the environment you address immediate need today while ensuring a greener tomorrow.
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New Haven, CT 06150
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