Help Fish, Birds & Turtles Now — Here’s Your Chance!

With community support, we can remove 2 dense patches of water chestnut in Pecausett Pond in Portland.  The pond is connected to the Connecticut River by a lovely short creek very near Portland Boat Works.  Just show up at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17 or, preferably, use the “Contact” tab above to register so we can inform you of any last minutes changes in plans.  This will be a  90-minute event at high tide.  We need many paddlers, especially in canoes and rowboats, to haul the plants out.  (Only florets with nuts will be removed, not the root systems, to save cargo space.)

Paddlers Needed on Connecticut River After Hartford Mishap



Last August, the city of Hartford released thousands of water chestnut plants into the Connecticut River from its North Meadows floodwater storage pond near Riverside Park. At the time, the plants had ripe seeds ready to fall, so this negligent release of plants resulted in the spread of mature seeds downriver from Hartford to Essex. New plants have emerged at regular intervals, posing a huge challenge to the volunteers trying to manage water chestnut infestations.
 
After many volunteer-hours of paddling, pulling, and disposing of plants, we have cleared many areas of shoreline, but some larger patches remain. Paddlers are needed and most welcome to join any of the work parties listed below. Continue reading

Air Line Trail – Farmington Canal Trail Connector Route Update

The Jonah Center’s most far-reaching project — to connect the 2 longest multi-use trails in Connecticut — has been awarded 2 grants: a $315,000 route study grant by CT DOT this past February; and a $500,000 grant by the state bond commission in April. The bond commission grant will allow preliminary design work to be done on at least some sections of the connector route. We are well on our way to making the connector route a reality for regional bicyclists.  Continue reading

Who’s Walking In Portland

Cora Chenier is a proud and happy walker.

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on everyone, but especially on elementary school children. It’s an age of rapid development – intellectual, social, and emotional. When students had 3 days per week of “virtual” classes from home, learning was limited. Children’s development was restricted just when it needed stimulation through adventure, growing independence, and socializing with classmates. Continue reading

Traffic Calming in Portland

First Selectman Ryan Curley was the first to sign the Pace Car Pledge.

By Amanda Foley

Portland’s Complete Streets Group (CSG) invites Portland residents to participate in the Pace Car program by signing a pledge to drive safely, courteously, within the speed limit, and to share the road with pedestrians and cyclists. A Hartford Courant article published on 3-19-22 stated that the number of pedestrians struck and killed by cars on Connecticut roads has more than doubled in the past 10 years. Factors cited include speeding and distracted driving. Portland Complete Streets Group has introduced this Pace Car program as a traffic calming initiative to address these factors. Continue reading

Close Lyceum Road & Protect Wildlife Habitat

This article (not including the update at the end) originally appeared on June 9 in the Middletown Press.

Lyceum Road in May 2022. Photo credit Jon Morris.

Over the past winter (2021-22) Middletown’s Department of Public Works proposed to close Lyceum Road, a 3/10-mile road south of Randolph Road, between Millbrook and Chamberlain Hill Roads. It crosses Sumner Brook (below) and its surrounding floodplain. For years, the road has been in chronically poor condition due to its low elevation and frequent flooding. Continue reading

Dams of Middletown — Past & Present

A Jonah Center tour of local dams included the remains of Middletown’s first dam on Pameacha Brook near Sumner Brook. Photo credit: Trevor Davis

MIddletown’s First Dam (Stroud’s Dam) at an earlier, unknown date.

Recently, discussions about the removal of several dams from Middletown waterways have arisen. The primary reasons for dam removal are 1) to allow fish migration 2) to prevent flooding upstream from the dams, and 3) because several dams are in danger of failing.  The dams in question now are along the Sumner Brook watershed and Sawmill Brook (west of Route 91).

Back in 2013, Wesleyan Professor Elise Springer (then a Jonah Center board member) developed a survey and map of Middletown’s dams and their history. A significant factor in Middletown’s development in the 17th and 18th centuries was the availability of water power for grist mills, saw mills, and manufacturing.  View Professor Springer’s website Dams of Middletown, Connecticut — Past and Present Dams.

Our Black Bear Neighbors

Bears are a wonderful part of the earth’s community, and they can coexist with humans very nicely. But it is critical that we do not become a source of food for bears. Birdfeeders and unsecured trash containers are tempting to bears and can lead to bears’ presence becoming problematic. Having said that, enjoy this video captured by Tom Humphreys in Portland.

Who’s Running In Portland?

Since 1980, Bob Sequenzia has been running and walking on the Air Line Trail, even when it was an overgrown dirt path prior to its reconstruction for public use in 2016. He runs year-round, but when there is deep snow on the ground he runs a loop on local roads — Job’s Pond, Middle Haddam, Penfield Hill, and Pepperidge. He enjoys the feeling of accomplishment from finishing a run. He starts out with his wife Barbara, also an avid exerciser, before they diverge onto their different routes. Since the pandemic began, Bob has ramped up his routine to 6 days a week, covering 30-35 miles per week on average. Continue reading

Talking Trash with the City’s Recycling Coordinator

As most of you are aware, the state is bracing for a trash disposal crisis.  In CT we are losing the capacity to handle our waste in-state, which will increase the impact on the environment and increase costs for everyone.

It is Important we take action at all levels – government, businesses and individuals. Here are some updates. Continue reading

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