Exploring the Naugatuck River made easier by website

Boaters, fisherman, hikers and bikers will soon have more information on available recreational and greenway opportunities along the Naugatuck River because of a $6,000 grant from the Connecticut Community Foundation (CCF).

The CCF awarded the grant to the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) on behalf of the Naugatuck River Greenway Steering Committee to expand the Naugatuck River website (www.naugatuckriver.net).

Since the website’s launch in May 2012, the most popular sections are related to “getting out on the river,” the events calendar, the Explore section, interactive mapping of recreational opportunities, and greenway information.

The Naugatuck River flows into the Housatonic River in Derby, just south of downtown Shelton. North of Shelton and Derby, the Route 8 highway roughly parallels the Naugatuck River for a long distance.

River-related activities and issues

Michael Jastremski, HVA water protection director, said a goal is to make the website an even better resource for planning river trips by enabling website users to better communicate with each other about river-related activities and issues.

“We’ll also make it easier for river users to communicate with website administrators to add river-related content, and keep the site current,” Jastremski said. “We’ll be updating and adding new information related to hiking and biking along the Naugatuck River Greenway, boating, fishing, and other river-based recreation activities.”

‘One watershed community’

The Naugatuck River website was launched with seed funding from CCF and local sponsors. Other funders included Aquarion Water Co., Connecticut Outdoors, ION Bank, Thomaston Savings Bank, Valley Community Foundation, and Wesson Energy.

The website was developed to help river towns come together as one watershed community, tell the ongoing story of the river’s restoration, and promote recreational opportunities such as the Naugatuck River Greenway.

Recreational activities now include boating, fishing, hiking and biking. Interactive maps will provide detailed information on points of interest such as trailheads, launches and parking, photos, river conditions, and outfitters and suppliers. New sections to the greenway will be added as they are completed.

Environmental mission

The nonprofit HVA, founded in 1941, works to protect and restore the land and waters of the Housatonic watershed from its source in the Pittsfield, Mass., area to Long Island Sound.

The Housatonic River forms the entire eastern border of Shelton, from Monroe in the north to Stratford in the south, and eventually empties in Long Island Sound at the Stratford/Milford border.

HVA monitors water quality throughout the watershed, adds sections to the Housatonic Greenway, and uses computer mapping to help towns measure the impact and benefits of land use and development.