ash creek/rooster river watershed

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A visual tour of the Rooster River watershed starting at the mouth of the Ash Creek tidal estuary going upstream.


  • 1. Ash Creek/Rooster RiverWatershedAn overview presented by theAsh Creek Conservation AssociationL. Kraig Steffen, Ph. D.

2. My Background Ph.D in Organic Chemistry Actively involved in Science Education Lifelong interest in Ecology andEnvironmental Science NOT an expert on Watersheds! Imsharing this as a concerned citizen 3. What is a Watershed? Simply put, it is a geographic regiondrained by a particular creek, stream, orriver. Usually defined by the largest river thatdrains into a body of salt water. 4. A simple thought experiment.. When a drop of rain falls where does it go onits journey back to the sea? The Pacific? TheAtlantic? Gulf of Mexico? Long Island Sound? Where would its neighbor go? Now, consider 4 million neighbors! The geographic region defined by thecollective drainage of these raindrops definesa watershed. Size varies widely, the Mississippi drainsmillions of square miles, our local watershedabout 15 square miles 5. A Simple Watershed 6. Does all the water return tothe sea? Eventually, yes However, it may seep into the groundand become part of an aquifer. Thewater in aquifers may stay undergroundfor days.. Or years.. Or even centuries The water may also evaporate back intothe atmosphere 7. Now, lets add some complex features 8. Who Cares?? We all should We need fresh water to drink We need fresh water for growing food We need fresh water for the plants andanimals that are part of ourenvironment 9. The Value of a River Rivers drain away excess water, ie floodcontrol Rivers provide fresh water habitat Rivers provide a source of water for the richRiparian biomes surrounding them. Riparian means essentially near a river.Riparian zones are often the most diversehabitats in a given region, a linear oasis ifyou will. Rivers are important for commerce andleisure activities 10. Riparian and Salt Marsh Habitat Great variety of plants and animals Aesthetically pleasing Ecologically critical as a source of food and itfunctions as an important waste controlsystem - natural biofiltering Salt marsh habitat is critical for biofilteringand as a home to a diverse collection ofplants and animals 11. The Rooster River Small, only about 10 miles long, entirewatershed is only 15.3 square miles Ash Creek, our local salt marsh estuary, is theoutlet of the Rooster River Tidal flux goes up to just past the MountGrove cemetery So .. Lets look at a map! 12. Aerial Map of Rooster River/Ash CreekQuickTime and aTIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. 13. Familiar Road Map 14. And for the careful analysis of the actualwatershed shape, the topographic map 15. CT Watershed Report 16. A quick visual tour - goingupstream from the mouth ofthe Ash Creek Tidal estuary 17. Rooster River watershedmeets the Sound at the Ash Creek Tidal estuary 18. Brackish water near BJs mix of tidal and fresh water 19. Near CT Limo 20. Rooster River goes throughthis culvert near I-95 21. Mt Grove Cemetery 22. Mt. Grove Cemetery North Ave. 23. Capitol Ave.Bridge 24. Brooklawn Culvert 25. Brooklawn Spillway 26. Edgewood Bridge,Brooklawn Country Club 27. Brooklawn 28. Wilson St. Bridge,1927 29. Lu Manor Dr. Ducks 30. Ground Proofing. 31. Vincellette near Madison 32. VincelleteWest of Main 33. The trailgrows cold 34. What Affects our Watershed? Natural factors like total rainfall and geography Climate: hot and wet? cold and dry? Tidal flux Agriculture and Landscaping use Urbanization Industrial Pollution 35. They Paved Paradise and Putup a Parking Lot One major effect of urbanization issimply the covering of the ground withless permeable harder surfaces Creates much faster moving runoff Keeps water from seeping into the soil Exacerbates erosion Depletes the underground water supply 36. Pollution Point Pollution: A well defined release pointfor pollutants. Sewage Treatment plant,Factory, Research Facility Non Point Pollution: agricultural spraying,landscape maintenance, vehicle emissions,dry deposition from remote sources Myriad of harmful effects on our localwatershed - exposure to toxic materials, algalblooms, long term degradation of the habitat 37. Pollution Information The internet has made it much easier tofind information The internet has made it harder tovalidate information! Look for reliable, long standing sourcesbut keep an open mind 38. Using Scorecard 39. A Plethora of Problems Storm Runoff from west side STP Industrial wastes from current,historical manufacturing Non point pollution 40. Heavy Metal/POP Pollution Geographical Distribution and Potentialfor Adverse Biological Effects of SelectedTrace Elements and Organic Compoundsin Streambed Sediment in theConnecticut, Housatonic, and ThamesRiver Basins, 1992-94 USGS Water Resources InvestigationsReport97-4169By Robert F. Breault andSandra L. Harris 41. TMDL Total Maximum Daily Load Measures bacteria in water Expressed as Percentage decreaseneeded to meet maximumrecommended levels Rooster river is on the 2004 list for notmeeting water quality standards 42. What Can I DO?? (a lot actually!) Work to encourage honest andthorough pollution reporting Support Remediation Efforts Hold Politicians Accountable 43. What Can I do? At Home? Replace high maintenance lawns with native vegetation andmulch Compost your lawn and garden waste, e.g. leaves, grass Use porous materials for driveways & sidewalks Sweep driveways, sidewalks & roads rather than using a hose Avoid use of pesticides Pick up after pets Use, store, and dispose of chemicals properly (in Bridgeportresidents can bring their toxic chemicals to the transfer stationon Asylum street once a year) Use a car wash instead of washing car at home Prevent storm drain dumping 44. Why? 45. Acknowledgements The 2004 grant for this presentation comesthrough the Watershed Assistance SmallGrants program, conducted in associationwith the Connecticut Department ofEnvironmental Protection under Section 319of the Clean Water Act. The small grantsprogram is administered by Rivers Alliance ofConnecticut.