Habitat Restoration / Rain Gardens & GI / Support CFE/Save the Sound / Volunteers

A Time to Be Grateful: (Stream)banking on Volunteers

From planting native grasses to walking the banks of urban streams, our Green Projects team counts on volunteers to get the job done.

In the last installment of “A Time to Be Grateful,” you heard how our water quality monitoring in the western Sound depends on dedicated volunteers. Today we look at another group of volunteers: those who make our Green Projects work possible.

At CFE/Save the Sound, the Green Projects team leads on-the-ground projects that directly impact the coastal environment, like removing dams from rivers or installing permeable pavement that helps stop runoff pollution. Volunteers like you contribute in a host of ways: by planting grasses that hold dunes in place, by recording conditions on streams, by filling rain gardens with colorful native plants, and more.

Here are three of the biggest volunteer projects of 2015:

Sunken Meadow marsh restoration

The habitat restoration, green infrastructure, and coastal storm resiliency project at Long Island’s Sunken Meadow State Park is our biggest yet. This summer, things got started in earnest with public education and a massive marsh planting effort! Have you ever wondered what 12,000 shoots of marsh grass look like?



Our gratitude to the volunteers who braved knee-deep mud!

West River streamwalks

We’re engaged in a multi-year effort to revitalize the West River, which flows through Bethany, Hamden, Woodbridge, New Haven, and West Haven. This summer and fall, volunteers worked alongside our staff to test water and record the surroundings of the many small streams that run to the West River. Students and teachers from Common Ground High School came out regularly to monitor conditions, and fellow members of the West River Watershed Coalition pitched in in myriad ways.

West River streamwalks kids on land

West River streamwalks bushwhacking


Thanks to their efforts, professional research, and lots of great input from the public, the West River now has its own watershed plan to help guide future projects!

Edgewood Avenue bioswales

One project that’s already helping the West River is a collection of rain gardens and bioswales in New Haven that collect stormwater runoff from roads and let it filter into the ground. Neighbors and fellow nonprofits came together this September to install two new bioswales on the Edgewood Mall, filling them with colorful Echinacea and other native plants.

Edgewood bioswale Kathy

Now Edgewood is more beautiful and the West River is cleaner!

Join in!

Got the itch to get your hands muddy? Stay tuned for volunteer opportunities next spring! With two dam removal projects underway–one at Pond Lily on the New Haven-Woodbridge border and one at Hyde Pond in Mystic–we’ll be looking for a good crew to help populate the restored rivers with native plants that will stabilize the new streambanks and provide food and shelter for wildlife.

Check our events calendar periodically to spot opportunities, or sign up for our email alerts.

This is the third post in our blog series “A Time to Be Grateful.” Check back each week for a new post, or find them all here!

Posted by Laura McMillan, director of communications

One thought on “A Time to Be Grateful: (Stream)banking on Volunteers

  1. Pingback: A Time to Be Grateful | Green Cities Blue Waters

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