Environmental group CUSH to celebrate 10th anniversary Saturday

By Catherine Hewitt
The Westerly Sun 10/30/2017

MYSTIC — Clean Up Sound & Harbor, a nonprofit community group working to clean up and protect Fishers Island Sound and its coves, inlets, bays, rivers and harbors, is marking its 10th anniversary with a brunch at Latitude 41 Restaurant on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

During the event, founder Gracelyn Guyol will describe the organization’s history and achievements. Presenting Sea Star Awards to individuals and organizations who have made extraordinary contributions to the nonprofit’s mission will be Frances E. Hoffman, who was president of the organization from 2012 to 2014.

Among its 2017 collaborations, the group will work with Mystic Aquarium on a Long Island Sound Futures Fund project. Using a $24,000 grant, the project will enable five water testing sites in Mystic River to be monitored, provide a more comprehensive picture of the watershed, and expand public outreach through additional organic turf, landscaping and gardening workshops. The organization is searching for volunteer water testers to monitor the testing sites. To volunteer, contact Sally Cogan at tomsallycogan@sbcglobal.net or Fran Pijar at f.pijar@comcast.net.

In 2016, the group was invited by Save the Sound/Connecticut Fund for the Environment to be one of three groups piloting sound-wide embayment research in the bi-state Unified Water Study to grade water quality and ecosystem health. In 2017, volunteers will be needed to monitor two additional stations in Mystic Harbor and River.

Last summer, the group’s water testers also identified samples from an algae bloom fed by nitrogen runoff in Little Narragansett Bay and the data will be included in the Sound’s future ecological Report Card at ecoreportcard.org.

The organization has also advocated for methods of lowering nitrogen runoff into the Sound, including a trial of organic/natural systems on the Stonington High School baseball field, recommending soil tests for homeowners and requesting organic turf management at two of the town’s elementary schools.

For more information on volunteering or making a donation, visit www.cushinc.org.