Southwest Conservation District

Hamden office:
Northern Research Station
51 Millpond Rd
Hamden, CT 06514

Phone: 203-287-8179

Fax: 203-288-5077

Norwalk River Watershed InitiativeByram Watershed CoalitionPequonnock River Initiative


Our Mission | How We Are Organized | About the Watershed | Water Quality | Wildlife | History

News | Calendar | Maps & Downloads | Contact Us

During the summer of 2010 the Pequonnock River Initiative (PRI) was formed as a partnership between the City of Bridgeport and the towns of Monroe and Trumbull to develop a watershed plan for the Pequonnock River watershed. The goal of the Initiative is to complete the plan by the summer of 2011. The watershed plan will be a comprehensive, scientifically-sound, and practical planning document for the protection and restoration of water resources in the Pequonnock River watershed. The watershed plan will detail the existing conditions of the watershed and identify its current problems and sources of pollution. Also, it will address emerging issues facing the watershed, and will outline detailed action steps for implementation. The plan will have the potential to affect on-the-ground change within the watershed.

This website is under development and will be a resource for information about the watershed and will provide opportunities for the public to learn about, and be engaged in activities to improve the Pequonnock River. 


The Pequonnock Begins in Monroe It Travels Through Trumbull And Ends in the Bridgeport Harbor


The mission of the Pequonnock River Initiative is to protect and improve the water quality and quantity, habitat, and public enjoyment of the Pequonnock River and its watershed.


Several agencies and organizations, working collaboratively, have brought the Pequonnock River Initiative to fruition.  The City of Bridgeport received a Section 319 grant from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection to hire an engineering consultant to perform the technical components of a watershed plan for the Pequonnock Watershed.  Bridgeport has engaged the firm Fuss & O’Neill, an experienced group of water resource professionals. The DEP also awarded a Section 604(b) grant of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for this project led by Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Inc. and the Southwest Conservation District.  Save the Sound’s responsibilities include the formation of a watershed coalition, organizing workshop meetings, assisting in the development of watershed plan recommendations, and doing public education and outreach.  Additionally, Harbor Watch/River Watch, a program of Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center at Westport has received 319 funding provided by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act to perform water quality testing of the Pequonnock River for the years 2009 and 2010.

A Steering Committee has been formed consisting of a core group of representatives from the governments and commissions of each of the watershed’s towns in Bridgeport, Trumbull, and Monroe.  Also, a number of state agencies, non-profit groups, community organizations, and individuals are participating members.  The Steering Committee will help shape the goals, objectives, and final recommendations of the watershed plan.  It is hoped that a sustainable watershed coalition can continue forward beyond 2011 and take charge of implementing the action plans outlined in the final watershed plan.


An oasis in northern Bridgeport Stormwater outfall pipes increase downriver Iron slime bacteria from Corroded Pipe


A watershed can be defined as the land area that contributes runoff to a particular point along a waterway. In the case of the Pequonnock River, it captures runoff, or drainage from, a 29 square mile area that includes the City of Bridgeport and the towns of Trumbull and Monroe. The Pequonnock Watershed is also comprised of smaller sub-watersheds, of which ten have been identified. Each of these ten sub-watersheds are in many ways different from each other, and as a result, will have different water resource objectives.

The Pequonnock River begins in Monroe in a mostly forested area with fresh water marshes and little development. It bends to the southeast through William E. Wolfe Park and then flows to Great Hollow Lake. From there the Pequonnock River leaves the park and flows through an industrial park on the Monroe/Trumbull line.

Once the River enters Trumbull it crosses Spring Hill Road and enters a second industrial park before it crosses Monroe Turnpike and skirts the western edge of Old Mine Park. Much of the river in Trumbull flows through wooded areas with reasonable margins of riparian buffer and limited residential development. Once the brook reaches Daniel’s Farm Road, the river enters a congested corridor between White Plains Road to the west and route 25 to the east. Ultimately, the river skirts the western edge of Twin Brooks Park where it makes a confluence with Booth Hill Brook and heads south under the Merrit Parkway to enter the western edge of Unity Park.

The Pequonnock crosses under route 8 and enters the City of Bridgeport and Bunnell’s Pond. The pond is approximately a mile long with route 25 and a concrete bank on the west side and Beardsley Park on the east bank. Once the River flows over a large concrete dam and leaves the park it enters a long tunnel and emerges in the old industrial area of Bridgeport on its way to Bridgeport Harbor. This section of the River is in a deteriorating section of the City with discarded scrap metal in the river water and crumbling banks supported with aging pilings and concrete bulkheads.


Students on Bridgeport bridge hoist water sample Dissolved oxygen and conductivity readings taken EarthPlace students learn use of testing equip


Pequonnock Water Quality 2009

For the period of May 1, 2009 through September 30, 2009, the Harbor Watch/River Watch  Program at Earthplace conducted water sampling at 10 sites along the main stem of the Pequonnock River; from the river’s origin in the woodlands of Monroe, to the foot of the river as it reaches Bridgeport Harbor. Water samples were collected and analyzed for temperature, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen, as well as fecal coliform and E. coli (Escherichia coli) bacteria levels.  E. coli is considered an indicator organism.  If high levels of E. coli are found in water samples, these bacteria can “indicate” that there are also potential high levels of other harmful, disease causing pathogens (bacteria and viruses) like fecal coliform, which can cause intestinal infections in humans if ingested.

Prior to the monitoring study, it was hypothesized that water quality should decline as the river flows from Monroe (little development) to Bridgeport (high urban development).  The results generally verified this hypothesis.

Results of  E. coli testing showed that, on average, the testing sites from Monroe to the base of Bunnell’s Pond in Bridgeport  meet the state’s classification for a Class B river.  A class B river is unacceptable for swimming or for drinking. The remaining sites southward to the foot of the river in Bridgeport, all have light to moderate levels of E. Coli, with levels increasing as the river approaches Bridgeport Harbor. The highest level of E. Coli was found at the most southerly testing site near the harbor.  This latter finding is expected based on the condition of the shoreline with crumbling bulk heading, possible unseen discharges, a disturbed river bottom, and the presence of combined sewage overflows.

The ultimate goal of the Pequonnock Watershed plan is to see reductions in the levels of E.coli, and achieve a Class A status for all portions of the river.  To view the entire Harbor Watch/River Watch 2009 water quality report please go to “Maps and Downloads” and read “Water Quality Report 2009”.

Pequonnock Water Quality 2010

Harbor Watch/River Watch continued its testing of the Pequonnock in 2010.  Unfortunately, they reported at the October 26th meeting of the PRI, that during the summer of 2010 all ten (10) sites along the Pequonnock failed  levels of E.Coli colonies that would keep the river classified as a "B" river.  Harbor Watch/River Watch attributes the failing results to the abnormally hot summer, as well as the low flows in the river.  With low flows, bacteria and other pollutants can accumulate in stagnant sections of the river, causing the poor quality conditions.  Higher water temperatures, too, are favorable for the growth of E. Coli as well as other harmful bacteria.

           The full "Water Quality Report 2010" will be published shortly and will be made available on this web page.


Fish ladder at Bunnell's Pond Dam Alewives go up the fish ladder to spawn Here is where the alewives
enter the fish ladder





Bridgeport Chargers Football Team
muscles up trash
Student does clean-up
for school project
Builders Beyond Borders
beautifies Beardsley

On October 9th, 2010, there were two clean-ups on the Pequonnock River in Bridgeport; one at Bunnell's Pond in Beardsley Park and one at the town line between   Trumbull and Bridgeport (at Quarry Road).  Ninety-five (95) volunteers participated in these clean-ups, including the Bridgeport Chargers football team, Builders Beyond Borders, Public Ally, Bridgeport Rotary, Bridgeport Aquaculture School, Trout Unlimited, and members of the Pequonnock River Initiative. Over 450 lbs. of trash were collected. Mayor Finch, who participated in the clean-up said, "This was a deep cleaning of Beardsley Park and I have never seen it cleaner."

Trumbull team picks up
1,000 lbs. of trash
Gian Morresi tackles a
shopping cart
Sara and Alex wrestle
out a tv.

On November 6th, a team of 18 hard working volunteers from Trumbull, Central High in Bridgeport, and Trout Unlimited, along with teachers from Monroe and New Haven, and other volunteers from Easton, Cos Cob, and Stamford hoisted an amazing 1000 lbs. of trash out of the Pequonnock River from behind Trumbull Center on Route 127.  Some wild stuff was found including two bowling balls, a TV, seven filled cans of paint, a full can of oil, a metal bookshelf, 5 tires, and 4 shopping carts.  Also, police action was taken!!  Members of Trumbull's Town Council and Conservation Commission discovered a huge mound of beer cans and liquor bottles on the streambank directly adjacent to a condominium unit, and then called the police to do an investigation.

Hikers absorb fall colors
of the Pequonnock River Valley
Pequonnock rushes past
Tait paper mill ruins.
Hikers in the Hemlocks



Water Quality Report '09 Land Cover Soil Suitability for Pervious Cover
Aerial Photograph Map Land Use Water Quality
Flood Zones Soil Suitability for Dry Retention Basins Wildlife
Geology Soil Suitability for Wet Retention Basins Bird Species
Impaired Waters Soil Suitability for Infiltration Systems Pollutant Loading Analysis
October Meeting Summary Pequonnock River Watershed Based Plan  







*GIS maps created by Fuss & O'Neill


To learn more about the Pequonnock River Initiative, and ways that you can participate, please contact Steve Hladun at


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