Submitted by January 29, 2010
Recently, there has been much talk about the impending Stream Flow Regulations, currently being debated at the Legislator in Hartford. The gist of the debate is that the State wants to balance the water usage between nature and humans. Their intent is to classify flowing bodies of water, everything from brooks to streams into one of four classifications. These four classifications range from: One – pristine, greatly favored to nature; Two - still favorable to nature, but with some human use; Three – relatively balanced between nature and human use; and Four - strongly favored to human use. Class Four rivers would not take into account the wildlife and nature.
The wildlife in and around the Quinnipiac River needs a certain amount of water to survive and thrive. There are natural high and low periods based on the feed from the water source to the weather. By the same token many local municipalities and water companies take water from the Quinnipiac River to service their customers and many wells are fed from the river too.
How did this come about? In 2005 the CT legislature required statewide standards for water flow in its rivers. This was as result of the Shepaug River court case, in which the Town of Washington challenged the City of Waterbury for taking water too much water from the Shepaug River for human use.
Why is this important? The proposed Streamflow Regulations will decide the fate of water in the Quinnipiac and its streams, including Wharton Brook, Muddy River, Sodom Brook, Harbor Brook, Eight Mile River, and Ten Mile River. This is the first science-based effort to protect water flow in 40 years.
Why does this really mean? If the State classifies parts of the Q River as class Four the river won't be restored because they were historically abused. The Quinnipiac has been recovering from pollution in recent years, bringing back fish and bald eagles, ospreys and other wildlife that eat fish. Local residents now enjoy wildlife watching, fishing for stocked and wild trout, paddling, and hiking on river trails. Wallingford will soon have a fishway to help fish migrate up the Q River.
Like many things in life, it‘s all balance. We CAN balance the needs of nature and humans. We encourage ALL users of the Q River to use it judiciously and with care. That means conservation from water companies, municipalities and well users. That means treating our Quinnipiac River with respect. That means being responsible for our water usage.
Our state is water-rich - with intelligent planning, there is enough water for both fish and faucet. Good management can provide water for us all to use and to enjoy with nature.
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