Grant will help restore riverside

The Mianus chapter of Trout Unlimited has received a grant of $8,500 through the Trout Unlimited national Embrace a Stream grant program for its Schenck’s Island Habitat Improvement Project. Volunteers from the chapter, which covers Ridgefield, will use the funds to restore the Norwalk River in Wilton in order to enhance vital trout habitat.

“We’re thrilled to be able to do more great work restoring and improving the Norwalk River, one of the few streams in our area that still supports wild spawning trout, thanks to this Embrace a Stream grant,” said Jim Glowienka, Mianus chapter president. “With this grant, we will engage volunteers from our local community to work on a river we all know and love as residents and anglers.”

The grant from Embrace a Stream will be matched by a $10,000 grant provided by Patagonia in Westport and another $2,500 through the Orvis retail store in Darien.

Along with the grants it has received, the Mianus chapter will also be entered in the Embrace a Stream Challenge, a weeklong online fund-raising contest running Nov. 6-12 and sponsored by Orvis and Trout Unlimited to provide an additional $50,000 in cash prizes to these conservation and education projects. To help the Mianus chapter win additional funds for the Schenck’s Island Habitat Improvement Project, visit between Nov. 6 and 12 and make a donation of as little as $10 to help unlock prizes ranging from $250 to $5,000.

The Schenck’s Island Habitat Improvement Project will address issues of erosion and stream channel widening due to flood events along a nearly one-half mile of the Norwalk River in Schenck’s Island. The project will also increase and improve in-stream habitat for trout and other aquatic life in the river through the creation of deep pools and natural stone and wood structures. Additionally, thousands of native trees and shrubs will be planted along the river in the park to improve the riparian buffer that helps stabilize the streambanks to prevent erosion, filters stormwater runoff from polluting the waters and creates shade and canopy to keep the river cool.

In addition to the crucial improvements to the stream, the chapter will leverage the high public use at the park with an informational and educational kiosk, angler and park user access points along the river, and other features designed to enhance the park user experience and improve community awareness of the importance of protecting the Norwalk River.

“Schenck’s Island and the Norwalk River, which literally runs through the heart of Wilton, are significant assets for our community. Both are something we all care about protecting and preserving,” First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice said. “For the past 20 years, the Mianus chapter has been working with the town and many other partners to improve the Norwalk River, and we are thrilled to be working with them on this ambitious effort at Schenck’s Island.”