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 this site.
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 1 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 present:
- 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 Energy and Environmental Protection 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 habitat.
Native Gardens Planted
In 2013 native gardens were planted along sections of the Greenway. Invasive plants were removed, and native species known to exist within 100 miles of the Danbury area were planted. The work was managed by Plantscapes with assistance from volunteers including GE Capitol, the Pitney Bowes Corporation, the Master Gardeners of Fairfield County, the Youth Volunteer Corps and the Danbury Fire Department (who watered the gardens several times after planting).