The Pootatuck River Partners will hold a hybrid public hearing on the Pootatuck River Watershed Management Plan from 5:30 to 7 pm Wednesday, January 24, in the Council Chambers of Newtown Municipal Center, 3 Primrose Street.
This hearing opens the public comment period for the draft Pootatuck River Watershed Management Plan, giving people a chance to comment, ask questions, and express concerns about the Pootatuck River and its tributary streams either in person or remotely.
Zoom information is available at hvatoday.org (click on Our Watershed, near the top of the page, for remote access).
The public can also submit comments via email to Rodrigo Pinto at email@example.com through February 24.
The Pootatuck River Partners (PRP) include the Town of Newtown, Pootatuck Watershed Association, Candlewood Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Newtown Forest Association, Pootatuck Club, Housatonic Valley Association (HVA), Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Harbor Watch, Northwest Conservation District, and Western Connecticut Council of Governments.
Facilitated by HVA, the group has been working since 2020 to develop a management plan for the Pootatuck River focused on water quality, outdoor recreation, flood damage prevention, and wildlife habitat conservation.
In addition to contributions from PRP members, the Pootatuck River Watershed Management Plan is supported by funding from the Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Grant Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF).
HVA Watershed Conservation Director Mike Jastremski says a healthy Pootatuck River is “critical to the health of downstream waters including Lake Zoar, the Housatonic River and Long Island Sound.
“More than 1,150 Newtown households rely on the sole-source aquifer that the Pootatuck Watershed supports for clean drinking water,” he continued. “The Pootatuck Watershed also provides excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation and connection with the natural world, and nature-based flood protection for property and infrastructure in this age of larger and more dangerous high-water events.” The draft Watershed Management Plan provides a road map for protecting all of these assets for future generations, Jastremski further noted.
Pootatuck Watershed Association Director Randy Walker said the plan “is a mirror of what we, as a community, have done as stewards of the land upon which rain falls; that then fills our streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes; and recharges the aquifers upon which we depend for our drinking water.
“When we look into this mirror, we see changes happening and recognize we have a role as individual landowners to respect the land and prevent the water that falls on it from being degraded so that our individual pieces of the watershed collectively support healthy conditions for our families to grow, work, and play in balance with and respect for the natural environment, which is a big part of Newtown’s heritage and identity,” Walker added.
The draft Pootatuck River Watershed Management Plan is available online at hvatoday.org (click on Our Watershed) and via hard copy at Newtown Land Use Department within Newtown Municipal Center.
Event organizers remind readers to note any in-person accessibility requirements for assisted hearing devices must be made through the Newtown Office of the First Selectman (203-270-4201) at least 48 hours prior to the event.