The government group in charge of the restoration of the Housatonic River is asking the public to comment on a short list of projects designed to rehabilitate natural resources in the river. A public meeting will be held Tuesday night in Kent to discuss the environmental impacts of the proposed projects.
Connecticut has about $9 million to spend on restoration. The money comes from a settlement with General Electric to compensate for the damage done to natural resources when a former factory owned by the company released PCBs into the watershed. The money is not supposed to be used to remove PCBs from the river, but to conserve land, increase fishing and pedestrian access, restore wetlands and to fund other projects that would rehabilitate damaged natural resources. The money is supposed to be evenly divided between aquatic and land-based natural resources and the recreational use of the river. Rick Jacobson of the Department of Environmental Protection represents Connecticut on the Trustee Sub Council, the government group in charge of the restoration.
â€œI think we're going to end up with some really good projects in the final restoration plan. We, however, find ourselves with a bit of a gap in one of our funding category and thatâ€™s the in-stream restoration effort and weâ€™re not sure how weâ€™re going to fill that gap. On the flip side we have a wealth of high quality projects in the recreation category where the competition for funding will actually be most stiff.â€
Jacobson says the trustees will either design their own project that addresses aquatic resources or put out another request for proposals. The public has until the end of this month to weigh in on the shortlist. The final list of projects that will receive funding should be released by the fall.