Fundraiser benefits Norwalk River work

WILTON — The Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited, which undertook a major restoration project of the Norwalk River in Schenck’s Island, has a bucket list of projects it would like to embark upon.

These projects cost money — the Schenck’s Island project cost nearly $100,000 — and now the chapter has a chance to win a share of $45,000 in matching funds and prizes this week.

The chapter has been entered in the Embrace A Stream Challenge, a national, online contest sponsored by Orvis and Trout Unlimited. From Nov. 4 to 10, the chapter has a chance to win cash prizes to continue its work to restore the Norwalk River, but it needs the help of the community.

Anyone who visits from Nov. 4 to 10 and makes a donation of as little as $10 will help the chapter unlock prizes ranging from $250 to $5,000. The chapter is competing with 28 other Trout Unlimited chapters from across the country.

In addition to Orvis matching donations on a basis of 50 cents for each dollar raised up to $1,000 raised, there will be prizes for the most money raised, the most unique donors, the most gifts of $10 to $49.99, and the most gifts of $50 or more.

Any prizes won would augment a $7,000 grant the chapter received in October from the Embrace A Stream program to support its work.

“We’re excited to have the chance to raise even more money to restore and improve the Norwalk River in the Embrace A Stream Challenge,” said Ben Couch, president of the Mianus chapter. “But we need the help of all of our community members to win. If you care about clean water, and share our love for the Norwalk River, please help our more than 500 local members and volunteers by donating to this important project.”

The chapter is looking to continue its restoration work by turning its attention to another half-mile stretch of the Norwalk River on Wilton Land Conservation Trust and private property from Seeley Road downstream to Cannondale. As it did in Schenck’s Island, this work will include restoring eroded streambanks, deepening the river channel to improve habitat, and installing tree and boulder structures to return the river to a more natural state.

Over the coming years, the chapter hopes to restore five similar stretches along the river in order to provide a connected corridor of more than 2.5 miles of intact, restored stream habitat.

The Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited serves more than 500 members in Southwestern Connecticut. The chapter works with partners to restore local rivers, engage area youth in outdoor education, and promote coldwater conservation.