The Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District offers natural resource education to municipal staff, land use commissioners, environmental professionals, engineers, farmers, teachers, Realtors, civic groups, and the general public.

Every other year the District offers “Reading the Land: A Practical Workshop for Real Estate Professionals” a 3 CEU credit workshop on land use, tools for reading the land, soils and wetlands, low impact design techniques, and understanding septic systems and water supply wells.

District Staff offer technical training workshops on a variety of topic areas including:

  • Five Easy Pieces of Site Development Plan Review
  • Controlling Erosion and Sedimentation in and around Wetlands and Watercourses
  • Protecting Backyard Water Resources

In addition, the District sponsors environmental seminars presented by local and regional experts. Past sponsored workshops include:

  • Rain Garden Workshop – Dr. Michael Dietz, NEMO stormwater specialist (co-sponsored by the UConn NEMO program)
  • Diversity on a Suburban Lot: Creating a Backyard Wildlife Habitat – Peter Picone, DEP Wildlife Biologist; Lori Brant, Connecticut Forest & Parks Association Education Coordinator (co-sponsored by New England Wild Flower Society, Ecological Landscaping Network, Project Green Lawn)
  • The Hows and Whys of Organic Lawn Care – Paul Tukey, Editor & Publisher, People, Places & Plants magazine and National Spokesperson for (co-sponsored by Project Green Lawn)
  • Monitoring Ponds & Lakes for Aquatic Invasive Plants – Robert Capers, CT Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Introduction to Stream Restoration (2-days) – Dr. Greg Jennings, PE, North Carolina State University
  • Planning for Nature: Integrating Biodiversity into Local Land Use Decisions – Dr. Michael Klemens, Wildlife Conservation Society (co-sponsored by CT DEP)
  • Planting for Nature: Backyard Landscaping for Homeowners – Heather Crawford, UConn Sea Grant; Dave Gumbart, TNC; Todd Harrington, Harrington OrganiCare; Nancy DuBrule, Natureworks; Denise Ciastko, Natural Attraction Project, Inc

The Connecticut Envirothon is a natural resource based education program started in 1992 by the state’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts. This high school level program promotes environmental awareness, knowledge, and stewardship through education and team competition.

Throughout the year Envirothon teams work with a teacher/advisor on curriculum materials in the study areas of Soils, Aquatics, Wildlife, Forestry and Current Environmental Issues. Then in May, teams meet for a day-long, fun filled field competition. Teams work together on practical, environmental problem solving and hands-on challenges. In addition, each team prepares a short oral presentation on a real life environmental problem and presents it to a panel of experts. The winning Envirothon team earns the chance to represent our state at the Canon Envirothon, a weeklong summertime event. The Connecticut team competes for scholarships and other prizes against about 60 other teams from the USA and Canada. Visit the Connecticut Envirothon website (Exit CRCCD) to learn about how to “Take the Natural Challenge.”

The Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District offers internship opportunities throughout the year. Internships are structured to provide valuable natural resources job experience and/or high school or college course credit. Paid internships may be offered depending on funding availability.

Students looking to fulfill community service hours are encouraged to inquire for opportunities to assist District Staff with watershed management or natural resource protection projects.

Interested in participating? Contact us.

Project Green Lawn: Healthy Lawns for Healthy Communities

Did you know that lawn care chemicals are harmful to people, pets and our planet? To help spread the word, the District has collaborated with the City of Middletown and other local organizations on an educational campaign about the harmful effects of synthetic pesticides and herbicides: Project Green Lawn.

The centerpiece of the campaign is an educational brochure (download PDF), which explains the risks associated with using lawn care chemicals and includes strategies for maintaining a healthy lawn without harmful chemicals.

Sign the pledge and be part of the campaign!

For more information, including a copy of the brochure and a pledge form, contact Kim O’Rourke, Middletown’s Recycling Coordinator, at (860) 638-4855 or

Additional resources:
Beyond Pesticides (numerous fact sheets available)
NOFA Organic Landcare Program (homeowner resources)

Get Your Lawn Off Drugs!

Learn how to maintain your lawn safely with The Organic Lawn Care Manual by Paul Tukey (more info). Copies are available for sale at our office in Middletown. Proceeds benefit the District’s natural resource conservation programs and services.

Diversify Your Yard!

Interested in diversifying habitat in your yard and reducing the size of your lawn? Here are some useful resources:

USDA “Backyard Conservation” booklet and tip sheets
National Wildlife Federation Backyard Wildlife Habitat program

Give a Bark for a Clean State Park!

Did you know that your dog’s poop can be a health risk and source of water pollution? In summer 2007, the District initiated an education and outreach campaign about the health and environmental risks associated with dog waste. The campaign has focused on Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingworth, and Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middletown.  It was developed in collaboration with the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), and is funded by DEEP through a US EPA Clean Water Act Section 319 grant.

Educational materials developed as part of the campaign include a brochure and post card.

Why you should pick up after your pet…

Pet waste is the source of two types of pollutants: pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms), which have a direct effect on human health, and nutrients, which influence the environment you live in.

When rain or snow melt runs over the land it can carry pollutants like uncollected pet waste directly or by way of a storm drain into nearby streams, lakes, ponds, or wetlands. This polluted stormwater runoff, also called Nonpoint Source Pollution, can degrade water quality, and impair aquatic health. Leaving pet waste on the ground in your neighborhood will risk contaminating nearby streams, lakes, beaches, your yard, neighborhood, local parks or even drinking water supplies, and makes waters unsuitable for recreation.

Pet waste adds nitrogen and phosphorus to the water. In large amounts, these nutrients encourage  the runaway growth of algae and aquatic weeds, which can impact the health and quality of our waters, making them murky, green and smelly.

Pet waste contains pathogens, such as Giardia, roundworms, Salmonella, and parvovirus, which can end up in our water where they may pose a health risk. Leaving the pet waste anywhere on the ground may expose children, adults and other pets to diseases. There is also a real risk of getting sick from drinking or swimming in waters contaminated by pet waste.

Is YOUR pet the problem?                               

It may seem that your pet does not have much of an impact, but consider all of the other pets in your neighborhood, town, and even state. That is a lot of pets doing their daily business! Even if only a fraction of pet waste is not picked up it can add up. When fecal bacteria are found in water, researchers are able to use a DNA-fingerprinting technique (microbial source tracking) to see whose waste it was. Often, dogs are found to be one of the major contributors of waste.

The Food and Drug Administration estimates that, on average, one dog will produce ¾ lb of waste a day.

That means YOUR dog’s excrement equals:

5.25 lbs/week…

     21 lbs/month…

          252 lbs/year!

But isn’t animal waste natural?   
It is, but in developed areas with paved surfaces and lawns, pet waste can easily be carried by runoff directly into nearby water resources. In naturally vegetated areas pollutants from decomposing waste can be captured by the underlying soils; however, in parks and open spaces popular with dog walkers, waste can build up, becoming a serious problem.

What can you do?  It’s simple!

Pet waste pollution control begins with you:

Always bring a plastic bag, or two, when you walk your dog!  You can carry bags in your pocket, tie them to your leash or belt loop, or use a doggy bag holder that fits on to your leash.

Use the bag as a glove to scoop the waste, then turn the bag inside out and seal.  You can keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you or wash your hands with soap and water when you are done bagging.

Place the bag in a trash can or flush it, unbagged, down a toilet.  Never dispose of pet waste in a storm drain as it will then flow directly, untreated, to your local waterway.  Pet waste can also be carefully buried at least 5” deep, away from vegetable gardens or waterways, or even composted.

Outreach materials developed by the District:

Pet waste postcard
Pet waste poster
Pet waste brochure

To learn more
about pet waste as a nonpoint source pollutant, please visit the following sites:

Conducting a Pet Waste Outreach Campaign-EPA
Pet Waste Archives-Center for Watershed Protection
Pet Waste and Bathing Beaches-State of MA
Earth 911:  The Poo Problem
Picking Up Pet Waste Events-State of VT
Composting Dog Waste- NRCS, USDA
Canine Parvovirus
About Pooper-Scoopers

What are other communities doing?

Many other communities around the U.S. have implemented their own pet waste pollution control campaigns. To learn more about pet waste pollution concerns and what other communities are doing, please visit the following sites:

NPS Toolbox
Cordova, AK
San Diego Youth Outreach Program: The Poo Patch
Ann Arbor, MI
Minnetonka, MN
Fourth Graders Take Action Against Dog Waste:  Hoboken, NJ
Greenville, SC
Snohomish County, WA

Find dog-friendly places and parks to visit in Connecticut: 

CT dog-friendly travel places
CT dog parks from
CT dog parks from


In the spring of 2007, the District developed and initiated “Give a Bark for a Clean State Park.” This pet waste education and outreach campaign focuses on our state parks in collaboration with the CT Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The purpose of the campaign is to build awareness of the health and environmental risks of pet waste. This project is funded in part by the DEP through a US EPA Clean Water Act Section 319 grant.


Chatfield Hollow State Park (Killingworth, CT)

Working with Connecticut’s Chatfield Hollow State Park, a favorite place for many dog walkers, the District sponsored a campaign in the Summer of 2007. In addition to education on pet waste disposal, the project included establishing disposal stations and providing FREE pet waste bags for dog walkers’ convenience! Take a bag from one of our stations around the park to scoop your dog’s poop and use the trash bin for clean and safe disposal.

Wadsworth Falls State Park (Middletown, CT)  

In 2009 the District worked on a similar project at Wadsworth Falls State Park. With support from park staff, the District installed pet waste stations and spread the word about the benefits of cleaning up dog waste.