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Volunteers Pitch In For Bridgeport Riverbank Cleanup Project

Bassick Lions football team members joined with other volunteers for a recent Saturday project to improve the Pequonnock River riverbank at Glenwood Park in Bridgeport.
Bassick Lions football team members joined with other volunteers for a recent Saturday project to improve the Pequonnock River riverbank at Glenwood Park in Bridgeport. Photo Credit: Contributed

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- More than 30 volunteers took a recent weekend to clean up and spruce up Bridgeport's Glenwood Park to help improve the health of the Pequonnock River.

Led by Save the Sound, a multistate program of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, volunteers spent three hours weeding out invasive plants, collecting trash and planting nearly 100 native grasses and shrubs.

The work on a recent Saturday is part of Save the Sound's ongoing effort to improve the Pequonnock River by working along the riverbank at various sites throughout Bridgeport. The riverside plants help stabilize the bank from erosion, create natural habitats for wildlife and help filter stormwater runoff before it can reach the river, officials said.

Volunteers came from the Bassick Lions football team, BuildOne Bridgeport, Viridian Energy, along with longtime helpers and others. To find out more about volunteer opportunities, visit Save the Sound's website.

“I feel like not enough is being done for our environment,” said Dan Conrad, a volunteer from Barkhamsted. “I always want to help but don’t know how, so this is a good way to start.”

In addition to helping to stabilize the riverbank, the green infrastructure also helps reduce the amount of nitrogen and bacteria in the water and deter geese from the riverbank. Nitrogen pollution can lead to low-oxygen dead zones in Long Island Sound, officials said.

“Planting native perennials along the banks of an urban river benefits more than just the sound. (The project) has a lot of educational value, too," said Kendall Barbery, Save the Sound green infrastructure program manager.

Save the Sound’s Pequonnock River restoration efforts at Glenwood Park started in 2013 with the installation of a fishway to help fish migration. Efforts continued in 2014 with a riverside plant-athon and then the installation of a rain garden at neighboring Beardsley Zoo.

“When I volunteer, I like to do plantings. Save the Sound has a lot that are conveniently located,” said Marlee Najamy, an environmental scientist who works in Trumbull.

Deirdre Ronnow, a Pace University student visiting for the weekend, decided to participate after getting involved in volunteering as part of a civic engagement course. "If you’re contributing, you get to see that everybody counts, everybody’s work counts," she said.

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