Spring 2016:  Join us Thursday morning April 21st for a free
Celebration of Connecticut’s Bird-friendly Cities + 100 years of the International Migratory Bird Treaty
April 21st
8:30-10:30am – Thursday morning

at Elizabeth Park Pond House
live birds of prey, Continental breakfast, special speakers
+ a walk in the park
please rsvp:  Facebook Events Page
or email

Find Park Watershed on Facebook
Ct League of Conservation Voters Action Alerts
Rivers Alliance summary – current CT state policy issues
Long Term
Regional Environmental Health Issues

  • Public water sold at discount rates – Town of Bloomfield and The MDC have arranged for Niagra Bottling to receive $4.1 million dollar tax abatement as well as discount rates for industrial water and sewer services. Citizens are protesting financial incentives provided to Niagara, a private company located in California.
    Take Action – sign the No Niagara petition
    + Learn More at Bloomfield Facebook page
    about the lack of public process surrounding approval of a 443,000 sq’ (10 acre) industrial building that replaces farmland to manufacture 2.6 million plastic bottles daily. During a drought emergency, Niagara can continue to bottle 1.8 million gallons of water, at discount rates, until reservoirs are depleted to 10% of capacity.
  • Proposed Gas Pipelines through MDC Reservoir Property
    The Houston, Texas energy company, Kinder Morgan, has filed a pipeline expansion project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The proposed “Northeast Energy Direct Project” (FERC Docket # PF14-22-000) will extensively expand capacity of existing gas pipelines, and connect pipeline routes from Marcellus Shale regions in Pennsylvania and upstate New York through New England to coastal ports. Kinder Morgan seeks FERC approval to expand an existing easement that travels through nearly 6 miles of MDC Reservoir property, which is Class I (closest to source) and Class II (also impacts source) land. If allowed by FERC, this pipeline will compromise Connecticut law that protects our drinking water. Pipeline construction, subsequent pipeline leaks, and routine pipeline cleaning will threaten the purity of our drinking water, as well as the natural environment that protects MDC Reservoirs. Contact elected officials to express your concern and request elected officials oppose the use of eminent domain to take private and public lands for pipeline construction. To learn more about this project, see description, and documents posted on Rivers Alliance of Connecticut website.
  • South Branch Park River Flood Control System Maintenance Project
    work along Trout Brook in West Hartford, Piper Brook in Newington and the
    South Branch Park River in Hartford, see project information posted by
    Ct Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
  • Connecticut Water Planning Council: The Park River regional watershed overlaps the seven of the eight voting member towns of the MDC, which supplies clean drinking water to approximately 1/3 of Connecticut. Due to sprawling development, population growth has outpaced the sustainability of water supplies. The State of Ct has begun an extensive assessment of state water supply along with current and projected usage.  The abundant supply of clean drinking water is key to the redevelopment of  vibrant high-density communities within a fabric of healthy neighborhood parks, greenways and open spaces throughout the watershed.  To learn more about the State Water Planning Council, see the Ct DEEP description, and updates from Rivers Alliance of Ct or review Agenda and Meeting Minutes.
  • Meanwhile, we continue working on site specific issues with stakeholders in various areas of the watershed, including issues pertaining to Trout Brook, Bass Brook, Gully Brook, and the North Branch Park River. We are also gathering a citizen summary of conditions and concerns throughout the watershed.  Contact us to share information about environmental issues (good and bad) in your neighborhood. If your group would like to learn more about urban-suburban stewardship, contact us to schedule a Park Watershed presentation.

ALSO – on-going federal and regional policy and planning issues:

  • WATERS OF THE USA, remains an important, on-going local and national topic. Although the public comment period for the rule closed on November 14, 2014, the rule still needs to pass through the US House and Senate before becoming law. The rule will help to clarify the value of healthy water quality in upstream tributaries such as Trout Brook, Piper Brook, and Bass Brook that converge as the South Branch; and tributaries such as Wash Brook, Tumble Brook, Beamans Brook, and Filley Brook that converge into the North Branch of the Park River. The convergence of the North and South Branches, and Gully Brook form the Park River that flows into the navigable waters of the Connecticut River, which is the largest source of fresh water to the Long Island Sound.Learn more: Read the two page proposed definition of “Waters of the United States” by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Due to recent Supreme Court decisions, this clarification of the scope of waters protected under the 1972 Clean Water Act is now needed.  For further information, see the US EPA website, Waters of the USA.

Summer 2015:
June 6th Ct Trails Day North Branch nature walk
Ct Historical Society, One Elizabeth St., Hartford 06105
Nature Walk Along the North Branch of Park River This will be a short, easy walk from the Connecticut Historical Society property through a woodland urban wild along the North Branch Park River. We will explore local wildlife habitat conditions, plus discuss migratory and resident birds; native plants, invasive species, and mammals. Recent efforts to restore and conserve the riparian corridor, such as two bioswales that capture stormwater runoff from area parking lots, will also be noted. The trail along the North Branch is a woodland trail, it could be slightly muddy. We recommend you wear sturdy shoes, socks, and pants. The Nature Walk will be followed with a PowerPoint presentation of wildlife field sightings along the North Branch that historian and birder Nancy Findlay has documented between 1998 to the present. The walk co-leaders will be Nancy Findlay, a historian and birder, and Mary Pelletier, green urbanist and Director of Park Watershed. A colorful Plant Palette that describes native plants and habitat of urban-adaptive birds will be available (free). The Plant Palette was prepared for an Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds, which is a program of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Rain or shine.

Where: Connecticut Historical Society,
One Elizabeth St., Hartford
meet inside CHS at at the Visitor Welcome Desk
Walk guides: Mary Rickel Pelletier and Nancy Finlay

Winter – Spring 2015:

In 2015 Park Watershed will be involved in the following issues:

  • Ct DEEP revisions to MS4 permit.
    Summary prepared by Rivers Alliance of Ct
    MS4_Public Park Watershed
  • Pending stream channel management that is being required by Natural Resource Conservation Service, (NRCS) along Trout Brook, Piper Brook, and Mill Brook. See summary posted in the Rare Reminder.
  • On-going implementation along North Branch Park River to reduce stormwater runoff from adjacent parking lots, and so improve water quality.
  • Organizational development, in order to better serve neighborhood interests throughout the watershed.


Thanks to volunteers who participated in the Trout Brook Cleanup at Beachland Park, on Saturday, September 27, 2014

This was the 9th Park River watershed cleanup arranged as part of the Ct River Watershed Council Source to Sea Cleanup.  Park River Watershed Revitalization Initiative originally formed as a project of the Farmington River Watershed Association in 2006 to host a 2005 cleanup. Contact Mary to arrange a group for the 2015 cleanup.

The Connecticut River Watershed Council Source to Sea Cleanup is an annual trash cleanup of the Connecticut River system – rivers, streams and banks, parks, boat launches, trails and more. Each fall, thousands of volunteers of all ages and abilities head out to places of their choice all along the four-state watershed (NH, VT, MA, CT) to clean the Connecticut River and its tributaries on foot or by boat.


Plant Palette for Urban Bird Habitat Enhancement:
PRINT the digital files (11′ X 17″):
Seasonal Foods for Urban Birds illustration and the corresponding Native Plant List.
Garden clubs, city park friend groups, school teachers or scout troops, contact Mary


Trout Brook at American School for the Deaf, West Hartford. The developer has filed an appeal, the neighbors have had to hire an attorney. The Town has agreed to settle. For more information about this topic click here.


Recent Events:  

Celebrate spring with family, friends, colleagues and environmental specialists
Turtles, Eels, and Birds of the Park Watershed 
presentation at New Britain Museum of American Art
May 24th Saturday 1-3 pm
For online directions, see
Arrive before 12 noon for FREE admission
to New Britain Museum of American Art

Join us for a special program about the local natural environment that surrounds NBMAA and Walnut Hill Park. Beginning with brief survey of the Park River watershed – a regional hydrological drainage system that flows into the Connecticut River – scientists and specialists will describe local habits and habitat of birds, turtles, eels and other wildlife that have adapted to live in parkland and urban-suburban open spaces. A summary of surprising state policy issues will be included.

A rescued hawk, Trinity, and snapping turtle will arrive at 2 p.m. The program will conclude with a tour of wildlife “sightings” within the NBMAA collection led by University of Hartford professor Sherry Buckberrough. To learn more, join us for a walk across Walnut Hill Park to view the southwestern rim of the Park River watershed at 3:30 p.m.

This program will be an interactive mosaic of the union of culture, science, policy, and wildlife. All ages are welcome !   Arrive before 12 noon for FREE admission to New Britain Museum of American Art

Preceding the program:
Nature documentary film ‘The Mystery of Eels’ (60 min) 12noon -1pm
Current exhibit: James Prosek: Wondrous Strange
For online directions, see

Mary Rickel Pelletier: Park Watershed (moderator and context)
Lori Brown: Ct League of Conservation Voters (environmental policy update)
Dennis Quinn: Biologist, (reptile and amphibian research and conservation)
Dr. Joan Morrison, Biology Professor Trinity College (migratory birds and raptors)
Kasha Breau, with rescued hawk, Trinity (Ct Audubon Center at Glastonbury)
Sherry Buckberrough, Chair, Art History Department, University of Hartford (collection tour)


7 pm        Saturday, May 3
at HartBeat Carriage House Theater
360 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, Ct
Overflow parking is available in the Mark Twain House Museum lot

Once flowing through nearly every developed city in the world, rivers provided the infrastructure upon which modern metropolises were built. LOST RIVERS guides us through the hidden river networks of London, Brescia (Italy), Montreal and Toronto, intrepid groups of subterranean explorers known as “drainers” reveal the buried waterways that house the secrets of each city’s past. Exploring recent initiatives to resurface and revitalize these forgotten waterways in Yonkers and Seoul, the fascinating Lost Rivers brings to life an aspect of urban ecology that has long been kept secret.
Movie trailer:

After the film, special guest Ann-Marie Mitroff, from Yonkers Groundworks Trust, will lead a discussion about revitalization of the Saw Mill River, the urban waters movement, and Park Watershed.

Advanced tickets $12 purchased through Eventbrite.  This event is a benefit for Park Watershed, a 501c3 organization, donations that exceed fair market ticket cost are tax deductible.

2012 | Documentary | 72 minutes | Canada


March 22: World Water Day 
MAC 650 Gallery & Artist Co-Op
650 Main Street, Middletown, Connecticut 06457
Saturday, March 22
5:00 – 7pm
For event details, see the Facebook page of the MAC 650 Gallery & Artist Co-op. This World Water Day celebration to benefit the annual Source to Sea Cleanup, a multi-state event coordinated by the Connecticut River Watershed Council.


Trout Brook at American School for the Deaf, West Hartford
An appeal has been filed by the developer, so Town of West Hartford must now defend the decision made by the Planning & Zoning Commission. West Hartford Town Planning & Zoning Commission, which includes which Inland Wetlands and Watercourse Authority, voted unanimously to deny the application to develop a 5.53 acre parcel west of Trout Brook owned by American School for the Deaf as submitted by Sard Custom Homes, LLC.  For more information about this topic click here. To connect with neighbors who are working towards conservation of this parcel, and to improve Trout Brook water quality, email <>

2014 planning – Park Watershed, now a 501c3, is seeking opportunities to present and discuss local watershed stewardship issues with interested community groups. Contact Park Watershed, Inc. if you would like to host or attend a group presentation or field project. Meanwhile, we continue site specific work on the North Branch Park River Watershed-based Plan Implementation process into 2014.

October 5th 12:30pm – 3pm Source-to-Sea Cleanup
~ 150 lbs of litter removed from Trout Brook channel downstream of Beachland Park !
BIG thanks to the spirited crew: Kehilat Chaverim, dedicated representatives from BS#44, and neighbors. The Source-to-Sea Cleanup is an annual event hosted by
Connecticut River Watershed Council Source-to-Sea Cleanup

June 2013 – 10am – 1pm Ct Trails Day Keney Park: trail walk from Pond House with discussion of Urban Bird Treaty vegetation.

May 17 – 20 – National River Rally in St. Louis, Missouri. Park Watershed attends EPA Urban Waters meeting, which is part of the National River Rally in St. Louis, Missouri.
Review St. Louis green infrastructure including bioretention basins and porous paving at Missouri Botanical Garden.

May – June 2013 – The North Park Environmental Activities Survey for School Teachers has been posted online. Input from educators is essential to improving natural outdoor classroom landscapes. Please click here to take the survey if you are a teacher.

This survey is especially intended for educators working in schools located within the Park River regional watershed, which stretches east from the Metacomet Ridge to the Connecticut River. Schools in Bloomfield, West Hartford, Hartford, are included as well as parts of New Britain, Newington and eastern Farmington. However, we welcome input from others.

Urban Bird Treaty project work featured in
Hartford Courant, CT NOW Section, Sunday, December 2, 2012
and Trinity College November 19th news

US EPA Urban Waters Voices has included Park Watershed along with twelve other urban water revitalization projects across the nation.  The Park Watershed video story is a mosaic of the many different tributaries of the Park River regional watershed.

Trout Brook  Source-to-Sea Cleanup with Whole Foods
Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Trout Brook  Source-to-Sea Cleanup with Whole Foods
September 29th – Thanks to the Whole Foods Team !
This cleanup was part of the annual
Connecticut River Watershed Council Source-to-Sea Cleanup

May 2012 – US EPA Urban Waters Workshop – Mary Rickel Pelletier attended the annual National River Rally in Portland, Oregon, on an Urban Waters Fellowship. The A Prior to River Rally conference, a special workshop for the Urban Waters Learning Network was held.  Groundworks Trust USA and Rivers Network hosted the workshop with US EPA staff. We shared information about the growing movement to improve the health of urban-suburban watersheds, and met with US EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

May 19, 2012 – Urban Bird Treaty
event for International Migratory Bird Day in Keney Park,  9am – 2pm the WOW Express will be parked between the park pond and tennis courts. The WOW  is the colorful and expansive mobile visitor center of the Silvio O.
Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses the rich natural diversity of the Connecticut River watershed. See the flyer for more information.

May 5, 2012 – Ct Forum hosts ‘Our Fragile Earth‘ an important conversation with Majora Carter, Michael Pollen, and Comissioner Dan Esty. Meanwhile, Park Watershed will be at the annual River Network, National Rally, as a fellow of the Urban Waters Learning Network.

April 2012 – In celebration of Earth Day, Park Watershed will be working on school rain garden projects with area volunteers. Happy April showers !

January 2012 – Ct Dept of Energy and Environmental Protection – North Branch Park River Watershed Management-based Plan Implementation project work is now being scheduled for 2012. Project updates will be posted as available.  Please leave a comment on the main page  or on the North Park Plan project website, if you are interested in learning more about this project.

June 23, 2011 – United States Dept of the Interior – Fish and Wildlife Service
The City of Hartford, Connecticut has been awarded an Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds Program (Urban Bird Treaty) partnership grant. Administered by the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), the Service works with cities and their partners to conserve migratory birds through education, hazard reductions, citizen science, conservation actions, and conservation and habitat improvement strategies in urban/suburban areas.  The grant was awarded to Hartford and 9 other cities. Park River Watershed Revitalization Initiative will work with Dr. Joan Morrison, Professor of Biology at Trinity College, and the City of Hartford.

June 3, 2011 –  Park River Watershed Revitalization Initiative has been selected as one of ten distinguished “Urban Waters Community Fellows” from over 100 national applicants. The Urban Waters Learning Network is a US Environmental Protection Agency program administered by River Network and Groundwork USA to expand community watershed stewardship in urban communities. To learn more see US EPA Urban Waters.

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