Two Wild & Scenic towns receive Road Crossing Improvement Grants

The towns of Chester and Huntington received state Municipal Assistance grants to further the design and permitting to upgrade deficient road-stream crossings. These two crossings were part of the Wild & Scenic Westfield River Crossing Upgrade Initiative. Under the most recent round of this assistance program, 9 of the 10 Wild & Scenic communities participated in this Committee initiative. The work included initial survey, flow modeling and design work plus the preparation of a grant application to submit to a funding agency all paid for and overseen by the Committee on behalf of the towns. Five towns submitted their application for this special state municipal funding this past spring. We are pleased two of the five applications were selected out of only fourteen awards state-wide. More information on this road stream upgrade initiative can be found on the website's town page.

Summer Interns present their work at annual Remarkable River Potluck

The Wild & Scenic Westfield River Committee is able to provide 1 to 3 paid internships each summer. This year our three interns continued much of the work begun by previous interns and delved into a few special projects. For the first time the interns were given an intensive, multi-day wilderness first aid training- essential for working in remote areas across the watershed. They also continued the research projects on invasive plant management begun in the previous year. Each year the interns receive extensive training in plant identification and invasive species plus working in a field setting. We are so proud of our interns and were able to express our gratitude for their hard work at the Remarkable River Potluck in October. Each of the interns gave presentations on their special topic and answered our questions. The presentations were professional, fascinating and well received to the fifty plus people attending the potluck. Most of our Wild & Scenic interns have gone on to careers in the environmental field or to advance their education. See the intern page on the website to learn more.

A New Approach for the Committee

This year the Wild & Scenic Westfield River Committee opted to try a new approach to outreach and education. Based on science and research, Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) is a tool specifically designed for nonprofits to help them effectively and efficiently realize a desired change. The CBSM idea has been used for a few decades but is still relatively underutilized. The process focuses on strategic research followed by interviews and audience identification to determine the barriers that prevent the adoption of the desired change. The Committee is working with a nationally known CBSM firm to develop outreach campaigns around anti-icing methods to increase safety and reduce the cost of managing our wintry roads, while also reducing the amount of salt entering our waterways and wells. The second campaign will focus on more pro-active management of invasive plant species to reduce maintenance challenges for towns while protecting native plant communities. Stay tuned for more on these outreach campaigns as they develop.