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Farm River Watershed Pilot Project

Image of a map of the Farm River in Connecticut.In 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a readiness pilot program that would provide assessment and planning assistance for source water protection of public water supplies, including ground water sources. The pilot is sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), which is USDA’s premiere water quality program.

NWQI provides a way to accelerate voluntary on-farm conservation investments, water quality monitoring, and assessment of resources where they can deliver the greatest benefits for clean water.

Nationwide, staff from NRCS – in consultation with state partners – submitted the names of watersheds they thought would benefit from funding to address agricultural-related impacts to water used for public consumption.

Connecticut’s Farm River Watershed was approved for the pilot. Located in the Towns of Branford, North Branford, and East Haven, the area is a mix of urban, suburban, and rural land uses, and is approximately 16,300 acres in size with approximately 8,500 acres in agricultural and forested lands.

According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's (DEEP) Farm River Watershed Summary from 2012, the watershed includes two segments impaired for recreation due to elevated bacteria levels. These segments were assessed by DEEP and included in the CT 2010 303(d) list of impaired waterbodies

A group comprised of representatives from state, local, and federal agencies, as well as members of the community recently met at the North Branford Town Hall for an informational meeting to begin the process for the development of an area wide plan. As a result, a steering committee has been formed that will lead the coordination of the planning effort, which will include public information and participation meetings to ensure proposed measures are feasible and acceptable to the local community.

What Does This Mean for the Communities in the Farm River Watershed?

In collaboration with state water quality agencies, public health departments, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Connecticut Department of Health, NRCS will lead in developing a comprehensive watershed plan to identify and treat natural resources concerns in the Farm River. Once the plan is finalized, NRCS can assist landowners with technical and financial assistance to implement conservation practices that will improve the water quality of the Farm River and protect the local water supply.


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Farm River Watershed Pilot Project Contact:

Javier Cruz
(860) 871-4021