Land & Development Issues
The Chickley River will be restored -- We Did It!
It’s been over a year since five miles of the Chickley River in Hawley, Massachusetts were dredged, straightened, and bermed (image at right), wrecking the river’s legally designated cold-water fishery. CRWC, representing a group of citizens, has been a party to the enforcement appeal proceedings in this case to ensure the river is properly restored. We had to fight for a place at the table, but we got one. We had to push for more and better restoration, but we got it.
Under a comprehensive settlement, the construction company ET&L and the Town of Hawley will be responsible for restoring the river to its original contours, connecting it with the floodplain, re-creating habitat such as riffle and pool complexes, and planting trees (images at left).
We support the settlement because our involvement improved the restoration plan. We insisted on more sophisticated fixes in more places and the replanting of trees. Our determination and our experts backed up by your support made a tremendous difference.
Thanks to the many of you who supported this work -- including the landowners of Hawley, those who contributed to our legal expenses, the law firm of Anderson & Kreiger of Cambridge, wetlands ecologist Patrick Garner and the technical experts at Trout Unlimited.
- CRWC Motion to intervene (PDF 100KB)
- CRWC Motion to intervene - Exhibits (PDF 2.5MB)
- DEP's opposition to CRWC's Motion (PDF 500KB)
- ET&L's opposition to CRWC's Motion (PDF 400KB)
- CRWC's reply to DEP and ET&L (PDF 44KB)
- DEP cover letter and service list - Nov 6 2012 (PDF 80KB)
- Joint Motion to Approve Settlement - Nov 6 2012 (PDF 90KB)
- Administrative Consent Order (PDF 1MB)
- Addendum to Administrative Consent Order (PDF 65KB)
- Escrow Agreement (PDF 300KB)
- Chickley River Dugway Scan Attachment (PDF 220KB)
- Chickley River Dugway Scan Attachment enlargement (PDF 450KB)
Make a donation to support CRWC's ongoing work to protect the Chickley River.
CRWC on Land
CRWC is continually reviewing and commenting on development permits and plans. We’re asked to consider the impacts they will have on wetlands, sewage, water consumption, open space, and rivers. We suggest changes to safeguard community water and preserve land. When a development proposal is out of scale or slated to impact or destroy sensitive habitat, we encourage the consideration of alternatives.
Sources of negative impacts on rivers and community water don’t always occur at the water’s edge. They are often the subtle, cumulative results of developments, large and small—built on ill-advised floodplain plots or sited haphazardly in upland settings that erode habitat and water quality in the drainages below. Sometimes developments can be scaled down, or moved altogether, to find a better fit in the landscape. Often a project that might negatively effect pristine habitat or chew up open space can be reconfigured to use a “brownfields” plot, easily and inexpensively. This protects water, conserves community resources, maintains open space, and combats “sprawl.” Common sense siting -- and the use of the latest water-conserving construction technologies -- benefits everyone.
Since early in 2008 in the Maromas section of Middletown, CT, CRWC has been involved with citizens and city and Army officials in trying to find the most suitable site for a new Army Reserve Training Center proposed for the city. The large-scale development potentially impacts Middletown’s remaining open space and sewage treatment infrastructure.
We regularly submit comments to the MEPA (Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act) Office on developments such as power plants, "big box" stores, highway projects, transfer stations, streambank stabilization, and dredging projects.
Photo credits (above): Mass. DEP, CRWC Staff, USGS
Image Credits at Right - Illustrations: Bill Singleton; Photos: ©Al Braden www.albradenphoto.com, CRWC Staff.