A BALANCE NEEDED TO BE STRUCK.
After the major water projects of the 1930’s, ‘40s, and ‘50s American rivers were battered. In 1968 President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act providing a mechanism to protect the remaining free flowing rivers.
The Upper 14 miles of the Farmington River West Branch were included as a Wild and Scenic River after a failed attempt in 1981 to divert West Branch waters into the East Branch reservoir system. The Farmington is among the first “partnership river” as protection comes from Federal, State and local interest groups and municipalities. It is classified as a “Recreational” river in the Act.
WHAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED?
- River protection zoning ordinances.
- Federal review of projects that might harm the river and its environment.
- The Coordinating Committee to implement the Upper Farmington River Management Plan.
- Protection of the outstanding remarkable values of Recreation, Fish and Wildlife, Scenic, and Historic.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
- Maintenance and improvement of water quality, affecting the downstream waters that flow into Long Island Sound.
- Establishment of the Farmington River Coordinating Committee, which provides a way for all river interests to communicate with each other and develop joint protection measures. Members come from Barkhamsted, Canton, Colebrook, Hartland, New Hartford, Metropolitan District Commission, Farmington River Watershed Association, CT DEEP, National Park Service, and the Farmington River Anglers Association.
- Federal funding to assist in project expenses.
- Cooperation between towns and State on projects such as bank stabilization and planning documents.
- Public education of the value of the river through River Stewards, public program, social media and art exhibits.