2023 “Paddle With A Purpose” Schedule


Paddlers are needed to help remove invasive water chestnut (Trapa natans) from the Connecticut River and its tributaries this spring and summer. It’s a fun, social, and very rewarding form of outdoor recreation.

Mike Thomas gives a thumbs up during a “paddle with a purpose” work party in the Floating Meadows, a spectacular freshwater tidal marshland between Middletown and Cromwell.

Let us know you plan to participate in any of the events below or receive updates on future paddles at other locations by sending your name and email address here to let us know you are a paddler. Also, let us know if you wish to borrow a kayak from the Connecticut River Conservancy.  Registration with CRC is required to reserve a kayak. To receive schedule updates, last-minute weather-related changes, and other environmental news, please subscribe to the Jonah Center Newsletter.

Below are dates and times for work parties in Middletown’s Floating Meadows, launching from 185 Johnson Street. (Note: more paddlers will be needed for the later dates listed, as plants emerge over time.) Some paddlers may opt to be out on the water for 2 hours or slightly more, but that is a long time for most people to sit in a kayak. There are few or no places to get out and stretch in this area since it is a marshland.  Paddlers should return to the launch site whenever they wish.  1 to 1.5 hours on the water is a good amount of time for most people.

Saturday, June 3, 9-11:30 a.m.  (Low tide, work party with CRC staff)

Saturday, June 10, 9-11:30 a.m. (High tide, major work party)

Saturday, June 17 9-11:30 a.m. (Low tide, work party with CRC staff)

Saturday, June 24, 9-11:30 a.m. (High tide, major work party)

Saturday, June 31, 9-11:30 a.m. (Low tide, work party with CRC staff)

Saturday, July 8, 9-11:30 a.m. (High tide, major work party)

Pre-registration for any of these events is requested at the CRC website here, but to be sure you get any changes of plans, make sure you are on the Jonah Center newsletter/paddler list by sending us a message here.

Note: On Saturdays with “low tide” in the morning, launching may be muddier and the water may not look as clean. But we encourage paddlers to help on “low tide” events because we need to remove as many plants as possible before mid-July.

Paddle With A Purpose work parties will be scheduled at other locations once initial survey work has taken place to determine where plants are emerging. Subscribe to the Jonah Center newsletter to receive special paddle updates as plans are made.

Work parties organized elsewhere in Connecticut and Massachusetts by the Connecticut River Conservancy can be viewed here. Continue reading

Eat Less Meat – Help the Environment and Your Health

Here are some reasons to reduce your meat intake.

Reduced greenhouse gas emissions: Livestock farming, particularly cattle production, is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Animals produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Also, the production of animal feed and the energy-intensive processes involved in meat production contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Conserve Energy: For every 100 units of energy input into beef production (including the energy used for growing and processing feed, animal maintenance, transportation, etc.), only 3 to 20 units of energy are available in the form of edible beef.

Lower water usage: Livestock farming requires large amounts of water for animal hydration, feed crops, and processing. By consuming fewer animal products, we can conserve water resources, especially in regions facing water scarcity.

Decreased water pollution: Livestock farming generates substantial amounts of manure, which can contaminate water sources if not properly managed. The runoff from animal farms can carry pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus into rivers and lakes, causing water pollution and harming aquatic ecosystems.

Reduced deforestation: Large-scale animal agriculture often leads to deforestation, not only to create grazing land, but also to grow animal feed crops such as corn and soybeans. Deforestation contributes to the loss of biodiversity, releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and reduces the earth’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Health benefits: While not directly related to the environment, reducing meat consumption can have positive effects on your health.

Earth Day Extravaganza

Exhibitors, Vendors, Educational Talks, Music, Vegan Food Truck, Drag Queeen Story Time, and more.

Also, a 3-mile Community Bike Ride along River Road. (If arriving by car, please park in Melilli Plaza and enter Harbor Park through the tunnel.) Meet at 11 a.m. at the north end of the Harbor Park parking lot. Please wear a helmet. Suggested minimum age for independent riders is eight years old.


Wesleyan Student Documentary Films

The Jonah Center helped Wesleyan student filmmakers find projects involving water in the fall semester of 2022.  In particular, we suggested a film about Pameacha Pond.  This film and others will be shown at the Buttonwood Tree on Tuesday, April  25, at 7 p.m. Past Wesleyan student films — about 8 minutes each — have been excellent. We hope many will attend.


Public Works Commission Decides to Save Pameacha Pond

Photo credit: Mary-Ellen Sutton

At its February 8 meeting, Middletown’s Public Works Commission voted unanimously to consider only the repair or replacement of the Pameacha Pond dam.  The decision was enthusiastically welcomed by members of the Save Pameacha Pond group who have been organizing and speaking out since last spring. The minutes of the Feb. 8 meeting of the Public Works Commission may be found here. Continue reading

Marissa Gillett Stands With Ratepayers

Marissa Gillett, Chair of Connecticut’s Public Utility Regulatory Authority

When Eversource argues before PURA, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, for an increase in electricity rates, the cost of that proceeding (to hire attorneys and experts) is paid by us, the ratepayers as a cost of doing business.  Okay, fair enough. But then, if Eversource appeals the decision, ratepayers pay for another round of attorneys and experts.  It’s another so-called a “recoverable expense.”

Here’s another hint about Eversource’s professed devotion to its customers. Eversource pays various lobbying and trade groups to represent the interests of Eversource shareholders and management in meetings with state agencies and the legislature.  Very often, those interests are directly opposed to the interests of ratepayers, but ratepayers are forced to pay those expenses too.

PURA’s new Chairperson, Marissa Gillett, is shining a bright light on these practices. She is a true ratepayer advocate and she is bringing change to the way public utilities, ie.monopolies, are regulated in Connecticut.  SB 966, An Act  Concerning Procurement of Standard Service Electricity and the Regulation of Public Utilities, if passed, will put an end to a number of ways in which ratepayers have to pay expenses that benefit management and shareholders to the detriment of ratepayers. This is one of many bills that the Jonah Center has supported through written  testimony in the current session of the Connecticut General Assembly. As you might guess, Eversource and Avangrid (the holding company of United Illuminating) have testified in opposition to SB 966.

Are Your Recyclables Being Thrown In The Trash?

Since the market for single-stream recycling trash collapsed several years ago, tip fees for single-stream recycling can be greater than for regular trash. This creates a temptation for waste haulers to dump recyclables into the trash. According to investigators working for MIRA (Hartford’s Materials Innovation Recovery Authority), at least one waste hauler has been video recorded dumping “blue bin recycling” in with the regular trash in order to pocket the cost difference. A recent article in the Connecticut Mirror by Mark Pazniokas describes the situation and the enforcement challenges.

Give it a try – Back-in parking on Main Street

There are two safety hazards involving parking on Main Street that everyone agrees on.

  • Backing out into oncoming traffic is dangerous, especially when you are parked next to a big van or pickup truck that totally blocks your vision.
  • Bicycling on Main Street is dangerous because cars backing out into the travel lane can’t see bicyclists coming.

One way to address these hazards is to use back-in parking.  Here’s how it works.

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Join our campaign to reduce solid waste

Connecticut has a problem: What are we going to do with all our municipal solid waste?

Send us a message with the words “waste reduction campaign” by clicking here. We will get you the information you need to send testimony to the state legislature.

Here is the background:

The Hartford trash-to-energy plant (MIRA) has closed. The main reasons for that closure were: the huge financial investment that would have been required to keep the plant operating; and the harmful air-quality impacts that came from the plant. Governor Lamont and DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes agree that we need to find another solution – one that reduces the volume of trash, maximizes recycling, and does not burden low-income communities that have suffered the serious health effects of living near incinerators and landfills. Continue reading

Newfield Trail Delayed

Progress on route determination and design of the Newfield Corridor Trail between Tuttle Road and Mile Lane has been delayed over the past year due to several issues. First was an archaeological survey required to determine if the route crossed the remains of a Wangunk settlement believed to be somewhere in the vicinity.  That survey has been completed, with no Native American settlement remains identified.

The current delay involves a proposed land swap between the city and a local developer who wishes to build 2 apartment buildings off Kaplan Drive, just east of Lawrence School.

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Progress on Air Line Trail

Thanks to Congressman Joe Courtney, the recent $1.7 Trillion federal spending bill that passed in December 2022 includes a grant of $1.4 million for the Town of East Hampton to complete the 1800-foot gap in the Air Line Trail. The RiverCOG and the Jonah Center worked to support East Hampton in the funding request back in 2020-21. This gap in the trail could not be completed in the 2017-2019 period along with the sections on either end of the gap due to the creek running through the gorge, the presence of utility poles and a power line, and the high cost of construction because a boardwalk will be required.

Prior to the grant award, Eversource and the Town of East Hampton agreed to share the cost of re-locating Eversource’s power lines to bypass the gorge, which in turn will allow the poles to be removed. The re-routing work should be completed by the end of January, according to the crew working on the site on January 18, 2023. Continue reading

Newfield Corridor Trail Options Being Explored

A study to determine the best route for the Newfield Corridor Trail is underway. Design and construction of the trail was funded by the 2015 Parks Bond, and assigned a budget of $4 million. This multi-use bikeway will be an extension of the Mattabesset Bike Trail southward from Tuttle Road to Veterans Park. (To access a Google Map of the Newfield Corridor Trail options that you can zoom in on to see details, click here.)

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