Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ansonia River Walk

Here's the location of the future Ansonia River Walk, which will continue north from where the popular Derby Greenway ends at BJs on Division Street. This photo was taken north of Division Street and south of Target. There was a ceremonial groundbreaking held recently.

Massive flood walls and berms were constructed along the Naugy after the catastrophic flood of 1955, and these walls have cut residents off from seeing their river for the past 50 years or so. Here's a video of the 1955 floodwater going down Main Street in Ansonia. All that rip-rap is not the most attractive river shore, but it does help keep the river in its banks, and the water is still nice to look at from up above. May as well make the best of it, which is what they're doing with the River Walk.

After a summer of drought, the river is practically dry, revealing some great clean-up opportunities for civic-minded groups. The Naugatuck River has come a long, long way since the days when it was nothing more than an industrial sewer that ran a different color each day. The water quality is far better than it used to be, but there's still some unsightly junk here and there.

There's lots of Dogbane growing along the berm. Note the long, stringy seed pods. Native American's used Dogbane fibers to make hemp cordage -- here's a demonstration video, proof that you can find absolutely anything on the Internet. If you want to harvest Dogbane to give that a try, please make sure you're not taking the plant from conservation lands, where the plant is intended to remain as part of the food chain. You might find it in a vacant field or along a highway.

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