The Still River Greenway Project is a multi-faceted environmental
restoration with the goal of creating a greenway along the river corridor. A
greenway is a tract of open space with a permanent conservation easement, exclusively for
passive recreation, education, research, and aesthetic enjoyment of the environment. The
corridor of the river includes the riverbed, its banks, and the floodplains
and wetlands that flank the shoreline. Features of the project include:
Environmental Restoration of the Floodplains
Several projects have been constructed to increase the ability of the
Commerce Park floodplain to hold water from major storms and allow these wetlands to
settle out pollutants. This prevents these stormwater pollutants from reaching the River,
where they would foul water clarity, fill in deep pools and lower water quality. The
design for these floodplain improvements involves a soft engineering approach
that involves planting of specified wetland vegetation along the existing levee of the
river and along strategic drainage points to the River that have the effect of increasing
the natural bowl character of the floodplain that allows the settling out of
these pollutants. For more details about the design of the restoration of the floodplain,
see the Restoration section of
Shoreline Stabilization Work
A demonstration project has been designed and constructed along a 100
foot stretch of the shoreline in Commerce Park. The river, in the 2.2 mile project
corridor, is characterized by undercut banks. The pattern of low flow punctuated by
periodic storm surges has eroded the banks of
the river so that they overhang the riverbed at a negative angle of repose. This condition
is not conducive to a healthy habitat for finfish, which seek quiet, shallow water zones
near the shoreline. Shallow water encourages aquatic vegetation, which promote insect
populations for the fish to feed upon, and places for fish to hide.
To correct this situation, a Root Revetment demonstration
project has been installed. Tree trunks of medium (10 - 12 diameter) were placed in
the water at the shoreline, with their rootwads intact. These tree trunks are anchored to
the shore-water interface with cable. This traps sediment to establish a gently sloping
embankment to the river and a zone of emergent vegetation that will improve the habitat
for fish. Click here to view a conceptual illustration of the progression of structural
improvements to the shoreline structure. For more details about the design of the Root
Revetment project in the River, see the Restoration section of this site.
Other elements of a healthy fish habitat in the Still River are already
- Shading along the shoreline
- Oxygenation of water by natural ripples in
the stream bed
- Periodic locations of deeper pools of water
- Improved water quality
1997 and 1998 surveys of the river by the Connecticut Department of
Environmental Protection have uncovered a healthy diversity of fish! The root revetment project is
designed to capitalize on the rebound of fish populations in the river by improving
Recreational Access to the River
To showcase the beauty of the corridor, and the environmental
restoration projects sponsored by this project, a recreational trail is being developed.
This includes two modes of recreational access to the River Corridor :
trail has been constructed along the 2.2 mile corridor, along the floodplain of the
The river corridor can also be accessed by canoe, as there are no areas
of white water. At low flow periods, the river may be so shallow that canoes have to be
portaged for short sections. Nevertheless, it is considered passable at most times of the
year. The long term plan for the project is to establish canoe launches at the beginning
and the middle of the trail. Signage in the river will focus on environmental education.
Click here to listen to Peg Daley explain recreational plans for the River
(1.3M - 15 sec.).
Click here for
information on how Sun Valley Marina is helping with the clean-up (1.3M - 15 sec.).
Providing access to a section of the Still River Trail for
individuals who are physically disadvantaged is an important feature of the project.
Therefore, a Handicap
Access Zone has been constructed at the beginning of the trail in Commerce Park
features of this handicap access walkway include a wheelchair accessible concrete
surface and a modified gradient to the floodplain, with a railing and appropriate signage.
The final aspect of the project is to establish an environmental
education focus of the river and its floodplain. This has been begun by signage along the
hiking and canoe trails, keyed to a trail brochure that highlights the natural history of
the river and its associated ecosystem. See the Education
Center section for additional details.