Quinnipiac River Advocacy
Contamination of the Quinnipiac River was once so great that it prompted the first pollution control measure in Connecticut and the eventual creation of the first sewage treatment plant in the State. It was also the subject of a lawsuit against the Upjohn Company concerning wastewater discharges from Upjohn's plant in North Haven. The lawsuit resulted in a settlement in 1990 that created the Quinnipiac River Fund at The Community Foundation, making the River what is believed to be the first in the nation to have an endowment at a community foundation that generates income to protect it and its surrounding environment.
The Community Foundation's Leadership
The Quinnipiac River Fund was created to improve the environmental quality of the Quinnipiac River, New Haven Harbor and its surrounding watersheds, and otherwise to benefit the environment of these resources. Each year the Fund distributes more than $100,000 to projects that conserve and protect the River and surrounding watersheds. The Fund supports projects focused on research, public access, land use planning, land acquisition, habitat restoration, advocacy, and education.
In 2012, the Fund launched www.TheQuinnipiacRiver.com to serve as a comprehensive source of advocacy and information about Connecticut's Quinnipiac River. The Fund helps lead the efforts to restore the Quinnipiac's water quality and overall ecological health.
The website provides information about the Quinnipiac River's history and health, as well as serves as the main site for communicating information related to the history of the Fund.
The site also features a searchable database of nearly 200 projects made possible with funding from the Quinnipiac River Fund. A small sample of those are: a survey of contaminants in the River; the creation of a River canoe guide; educational workshops for municipalities of how to protect the river, the creation of a GIS system database; and reducing pesticide uses in towns that abut the River.
The website also includes an integrated Google map to serve as a platform for mapping canoe launches, fishing access, photographs, walking trails; a community calendar to post and announce river-related activities and opportunities, including nature walks, cleanup days and public meetings/hearings; and a news/blog page.
Grants are awarded in the Spring of each year for proposals that address one or more of the following:
- Research what pollutants are in the Quinnipiac River
- Research methods of reducing pollution, or otherwise improving the Quinnipiac River's environmental health
- Address means of reducing both non-point and point sources of pollution to the River
- Research the permitting process and look at the permits themselves
- Study the ecology of the Quinnipiac River and the New Haven Harbor
- Provide public education about the Quinnipiac River and its watershed
- Purchase land on the Quinnipiac River for conservation purposes, or to reduce pollution and improve public access to the River.
For more information, visit www.thequinnipiacriver.com.