To mark the completion of the Five Mile River Watershed Plan, a signing ceremony will be held on Thursday, Aug. 2, at 1 p.m., on the West Campus of Norwalk Community College. At the event, the chief elected officials of Darien, New Canaan and Norwalk will be asked to sign a Pledge for the Five Mile River Watershed. The Pledge declares the watershed an important natural resource and affirms support for the goals of enhanced stormwater management and improved water quality. The event will also feature state and local experts who will speak to the importance of watershed planning. The event is free and open to the public.

The Five Mile River runs from the New York State border through New Canaan, Norwalk and Darien before emptying into Long Island Sound. Residential and commercial growth, notably the proliferation of impervious surfaces like parking lots and rooftops, has changed the way stormwater moves across the watershed. Increased runoff carries more chemicals and pollutants into the Five Mile and its tributaries, harming fish and other aquatic organisms. Impervious surfaces can also contribute to the intensity and frequency of flooding on the Five Mile River, which is detrimental to nearby properties as well as river wildlife.

The Five Mile River Watershed Plan is funded by a grant from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Section 319 program. The program provides funding to help implement the Federal Clean Water Act. The plan outlines a targeted, science-based, and community-led effort to improve conditions on the Five Mile River Watershed through on-the-ground restoration and stormwater management projects, watershed monitoring, education, and outreach. The Plan and Ceremony are a collaborative effort of DEEP, Town of New Canaan, Town of Darien, City of Norwalk and the South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA).

For more information about the plan and open house, visit www.swrpa.org or contact Alex Karman, SWRPA, 203-316-5190, karman@swrpa.org; Alexis Cherichetti, City of Norwalk, 203-854-7744, alexis.cherichetti@norwalkct.org; Kathleen Holland, Town of New Canaan, 203-594-3061, kathleen.holland@newcanaanct.gov

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