Two-day Conference to Address Health of State's Rivers and Streams

A two-day conference co-sponsored by Yale University that will address the need for scientific knowledge to ensure ecologically healthy water levels in the State’s rivers and streams will take place March 23 and May 4 at Northeast Utilities in Berlin.

The “Connecticut Instream Flow Conference” will bring together leading scientists, river advocacy groups, regulatory agencies, utilities and legislators to discuss how much water rivers and streams need to sustain healthy ecosystems, whether there is enough water available to keep people and rivers healthy and to meet other needs, and how the state should address those needs.

“Our goal is to achieve an overall broader understanding of the science and public policy issues, improve communication among various interests, and to catalyze the formation of a technical group to develop an instream flow policy for the State,” said Martha McCormick Smith, director of the Yale Center for Coastal and Watershed Systems.

The March 23 session, “Water Conflicts in Connecticut: Balancing Needs,” will run from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. It will include representatives from the Connecticut Departments of Environmental Protection and Public Health, the Connecticut Water Company, the Nature Conservancy, Housatonic Valley Association, Trout Unlimited, the law firms of Cummings & Lockwood and Carmody & Torrance, the engineering firm Milone & MacBroom, and Jesse Stratton, co-chair of the State Legislature’s environment committee.

The May 4 session, “Working toward a Connecticut Instream Flow Standard,” will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will include representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority, Department of Public Utility Control, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Pace University Law School, and several other organizations.

The conference is sponsored by the Center for Coastal and Watershed Systems at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Rivers Alliance of Connecticut, with support from BHC Company, Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, Connecticut Water Company, Metropolitan District Commission, Northeast Utilities, South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority, and Trout Unlimited, and the Dibner Fund.

The Yale Center for Coastal and Watershed Systems promotes interdisciplinary science and policy studies of watersheds and adjacent coastal waters, and fosters collaboration on watershed research, environmental education, habitat preservation and ecological restoration.

Rivers Alliance is a private, non-profit organization in Connecticut that is an alliance of environmental groups, individuals and businesses concerned with protecting the State’s water resources.

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