Save the Sound holds weekend planting event to restore riverside habitat

Volunteers will weed out invasive species, clean up the riverbank and plant more than 100 native perennials this weekend at a river restoration event led by Save the Sound, a bi-state program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment.

The effort will reinforce the riverbank growth previously planted by Save the Sound volunteers, create additional habitat for birds and other pollinators, and help filter polluted rainwater before it flows into the Pequonnock River and Long Island Sound.

The event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Glenwood Park, 123 Glenwood Ave., Bridgeport. Planting will be at the intersection of Route 1 and Chopsey Hill Road.     

Kendall Barbery, CFE/Save the Sound green infrastructure program manager, and additional staff, and 40 volunteers from Bridgeport and surrounding communities will be there and do the work.

Save the Sound’s Pequonnock River restoration efforts at Glenwood Park started in 2013 with the installation of a fishway through a concrete apron that had impeded fish migration for years. Efforts continued in 2014 with a riverside plant-a-thon at which local youth and other volunteers put 2,100 native plants into the ground along the Pequonnock River.

While the fishway  ensures species can safely migrate upstream and back to Long Island Sound, the riverside plantings help stabilize the riverbank and provide wildlife with food and shelter. The planting also filters stormwater runoff carrying pollutants and debris before it can reach the Pequonnock River, reducing the amount of nitrogen in one of many waterways that drain to Long Island Sound. Excess nitrogen pollution is currently one of the leading contributors to impaired water quality in Long Island Sound, emphasized in the Long Island Sound Report Card released by Save the Sound earlier this month.

Work to restore the river and its banks has been funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund, Long Island Sound Study, CT DEEP, Restore America’s Estuaries, NOAA, and the Jeniam Foundation.