Written by Carol Haskins of Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition
Spring sure is springing in the Pomperaug Watershed! The grass is turning green, tree leaf buds are bursting, daffodils are blooming, and the river is stocked full of trout. I’m sure they are all grateful for the rain we received back in November and December, as well as the subsequent snow which helped replenish the water table and recover from the drought conditions we were experiencing last summer and early fall.
While the water table is up (actually right about at the average level for this time of year), the river flow is quite a bit lower than average. Sure, it might not look that low compared to the conditions we saw last summer, but we haven’t seen much in the way of April showers to keep the flow up where it should be. The pollen and dust that have been in the air for the past couple of weeks serves as a good reminder of how dry it has been. Anybody else’s allergies going wild?! Thankfully, the recent light showers helped knock some of that *stuff* out of the air, but it wasn’t quite enough to raise the water level in the river. Without a good soaker, the water level will continue to drop as leaf-out continues and the air gets warmer and warmer.
As natural resource managers, Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition (PRWC) keeps an eye on the river’s flow and water table as we advocate for plentiful, excellent quality water in our watershed communities. PRWC relies on science-based evidence to support conservation and to share our knowledge and expertise with others.
One of the ways we reach out to the watershed communities is through the annual Woodbury Earth Day celebration. This year the celebration looks a little different as COVID persists. We aren’t hosting a big event at Hollow Park, but we are offering lots of educational and community service opportunities throughout April, as are our local conservation partners. You can learn more about these offerings at www.woodburyearthday.org. You’ll also find a schedule of in-person programs and activities happening as part of the Woodbury Earth Day celebration at Hollow Park on May 1 (pre-registration required).
Whether or not you are able to join us for a virtual or in-person program during Earth Month, we hope you will continue to celebrate Earth Day. I like to think of Earth Day as a New Year’s celebration for the planet and try to adopt one new environmental conservation practice. This year, my Earth Day resolution is to eliminate single-use plastics in my bathroom (using up what I have and then, hello bar soap and shampoo!) and to explore area trails that I haven’t hiked before.
Ready to adopt your own Earth Day resolution? Here are a few actions you might consider:
- Find and fix any leaks in your fixtures or toilets in your home. Just one drip a minute can result in more than 4 gallons of water wasted each month. Use this online drip calculator to estimate your water waste (or savings)
- Get your well water tested. Unlike those that rely on public drinking water, if you have well water in your home or business, you are responsible for getting your own water tested. At least once a year, you should test for bacteria. Contact a state-certified lab to get started. To learn more about well water, visit the Private Drinking Water Wells page on our website.
- Inspect and pump out your septic system. To keep up proper maintenance of septic systems, they should be pumped every three to five years depending on size and intensity of usage. In between pump-outs, go easy on your system and Don’t Flush Trouble.
- Reduce your use of hazardous chemicals and properly dispose of unused hazardous chemicals found around your home. This includes things like unused paint, cleaning supplies, dyes, batteries, automotive fluids, pool chemicals, and medications.
- To dispose of medications, you can take advantage of the upcoming National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 24 or look to see if your local police station or pharmacy has a dedicated drop box for disposal.
- For other household hazardous waste, you can bring materials to a local collection event like the ones hosted by the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments. The next one is coming up on July 24 at Southbury Town Hall.
- Participate in an educational program, workshop, guided hike, or stewardship event hosted by a local conservation organization.
- Sign the RiverSmart Pledge and commit to taking steps to protect your local water resources.
- Support local conservation organizations, including PRWC, during GiveLocal of Greater Waterbury & Litchfield Hills, a 36-hour online giving campaign (April 20-21) that is presented by the Connecticut Community Foundation with more than 275 participating organizations.
Whether you choose resolutions listed here or create your own, you are helping to protect the quality and quantity of water for you, your neighbors, and the natural community!