Services Provided by the Southwest Conservation District

Conservation districts provide many technical services to their towns and cities. Our services include providing educational resources and technical assistance in soil and water conservation, conservation planning, erosion and sedimentation control, stormwater management, water quality protection and watershed management, and wetland protection. See below for details on how we can help you:

Education for Town Staff and Commission Members

Due to Connecticut’s system of home rule, and the lack of any county or regional level of government, key land use decisions are made on the local level. This means that volunteer members of the Planning & Zoning, Inland Wetlands, or Conservation Commissions play an important role in shaping the future landscape of their community.

We provide high quality technical training programs as well as technical review support/recommendations to municipal land use staff and commission members. It is our goal to provide these individuals who make the important land use decisions with the best information and tools possible. Other services include:

  • Comprehensive site plan reviews of proposed developments
  • On-site environmental assessments
  • Soil erosion and sedimentation control assistance
  • Stormwater management recommendations
  • Non-point source pollution prevention and source control guidance
  • Assist in planting pollinator pathways and rain gardens

Environmental Review Team

For large or complicated land use changes, your local conservation district can help your town apply for an Environmental Review Team (ERT), which is a report prepared by a diverse team of experts statewide. This free service is funded in part by the Conservation Fund, which is administered by the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Conservation districts are involved in many “on the ground” projects resulting in cleaner watersheds. Many of these projects are funded in part by Section 319 of the EPA Clean Water Act to address non-point source pollution. Through this funding, we work with lake or river advocacy groups, and various stakeholders who share interest in the protection of their watershed.

In partnership, our watershed management projects involve:

  • Assessment through State of the Watershed reports
  • Watershed planning
  • Monitoring river health
  • Water testing and monitoring
  • Streambank restoration
  • Storm drain labeling
  • Non-point source education for business owners
  • Control or eradication of invasive aquatic weeds

Watershed management also involves the conduction of public informational campaigns aimed at fostering a sense of land stewardship among local citizens. Each of us can do a lot for water quality by simple actions in our daily lives by:

  • Placing trash in covered containers
  • Preventing soil erosion
  • Cleaning up after your pets
  • Conserving water
  • Limiting your use of pesticides and fertilizers
  • Performing regular vehicle maintenance
  • Choosing household cleaners thoughtfully
  • Having your septic system inspected annually

See the Watersheds section of this website to see which watersheds we are currently working in!

Your local conservation district is a valuable source of information and referrals on a wide range of environmental topics. We are knowledgeable and well connected to a network of federal, state, and local environmental service providers. District staff can answer your questions or refer you to the right agency. We can untangle the often-complicated web of jargon and procedures to find answers for your environmental needs.

Services provided to landowners include on-site environmental assessments and technical recommendations concerning:

  • Management, maintenance, and restoration of backyard water resources
  • Stabilization and revegetation of failing streambanks
  • Establishment of riparian and wetland buffers
  • Soil erosion prevention and sedimentation control
  • Native plant species plantings for streams, ponds, and wetlands
  • Non-native invasive species removal and management
  • Organic land care and low impact landscaping alternatives
  • Nonpoint source pollution prevention and source control

Building on our agricultural roots, conservation districts work in partner with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to serve farmers and landowners across Connecticut in many ways. We work to:

  • Assist municipalities and private groups to preserve open space by providing information, education and technical advice.
  • Promote sound agricultural practices to prevent erosion of fragile soil resources and pollution of precious water resources.
  • Advise farmers and help them find funding for building manure management and other structures.
  • Conduct June Nitrate Testing for farmers who want to avoid using excess nutrients.
  • Recognize local farmers with the “Conservation Farmer of the Year” Award for their efforts in environmentally sustainable agriculture.
  • Help farmers who are interested in preserving their land through the state’s Purchase of Development Rights Program.
  • Raise public awareness and to promote state funded programs such as the Farmland Preservation and Farmland Restoration in partnership with land trusts and many other advocacy groups.

Please note that this program is currently inactive and we are working to restart this service in the near future!

The Southwest Conservation District manure share program is a free, public service in concert with the Natural Resource Conservation Service to facilitate the recycling of valuable nutrients and organic matter from livestock waste. The program offers many benefits as a link between livestock owners and gardeners or professional landscapers!

By connecting these two groups, we hope to alleviate the pressure and cost on livestock owners of disposing of excess manure/compost while also providing a valuable resource for the public to utilize. Of course, the environment also wins by reducing the usage of store bought fertilizers and potentially improving water quality near the manure sources by reducing excess material running off into local water sources.

  • Click here if you have manure that you are looking to get rid of, and fill out our form to be entered into our Manure Share Database
  • Click here to search for manure from our cooperators through our Manure Share Database

Tips & Information:

  • Understand what you are looking for and what the farms have available. There is a big difference between looking for fresh manure to compost on your own and already composted manure that is ready to be spread.
  • Ask questions! Besides being either fresh or fully composted, farmers will likely have manure in numerous states of maturity. Ask the farmer what they have available and communicate what you are looking for.
  • Even if the manure is fully or almost fully composted it is recommended to cover the manure and let it continue to compost for at least a month. This will help destroy any remaining weed seeds in the pile and prevent them from spreading to your target location.
  • Be prepared in advance! Do you have a pick up truck available to transport the manure? Are you going to be continuing the composting process at your property? Do you have a suitable area to do that in? Do you understand what that process will entail? The links below may be helpful in answering some of these questions.

Helpful links: