Case Study: Southeastern Connecticut Clean Coastal Harbors and Bays

The Southeastern Connecticut Clean Coastal Harbors and Bays project is a collaborative community-
based planning process designed to couple local knowledge and expertise with water
quality monitoring and research to support healthy conditions in coastal waters. Using nitrogen
loading model research, a diverse group of stakeholders assessed the relative contribution of
nitrogen from wastewater, fertilizer and atmospheric deposition entering coastal waters. They
then compared current water quality conditions and the characteristics, strengths and challenges
of various nitrogen reduction options to identify key opportunities in the region. Through this process,
participants established a set of local water quality objectives and identified and prioritized
supporting actions including 1) building a collaborative communication network with consistent,
clear and easily understood messages to reach new audiences and activate individuals to take
clean water actions, 2) supporting municipal wastewater and stormwater infrastructure improvements,
policy changes and adequate investment in clean water, and 3) promoting increased
nutrient monitoring and data collection for establishing nitrogen reduction targets that restore
and protect clean and healthy rivers, harbors, and bays.

The Southeastern Connecticut Clean Coastal Harbors and Bays Community Action Plan provides
a comprehensive list of prioritized actions – including on-the-ground projects and community
engagement. The plan serves as a road map for local leaders involved in the process to advance
clean water projects and strengthen public support for collective and individual actions that
support healthy waters in Mystic River, Stonington Harbor, the Pawcatuck River and Little Narragansett