Saturday, June 29, 2024 River Cleanup confirmed 3 to 6 pm. 

 Meet at 145 Meadow Street.  Bring a kayak/boat or contact us to see if a boat slot is available

Saturday, September 21 River Cleanup, confirmed 1-4 pm.  Same location. 


    Friends of the Farm River Estuary,Inc. (FFRE – pronounced Free) was formed by local citizens to have a voice in determining the estuary’s future in 2002. Our founding mission was to facilitate access to, and environmentally sound use of, the lower Farm River watershed through collaboration, outreach and education.

    In 2024 we changed our name to Friends of the Farm River and Estuary, Inc. (still FFRE)  to broaden our scope to include the entire river. Our purpose is to support and advocate for the protection and improvement of the environmental quality of the Farm River, including its watershed, estuary, and surrounding areas of South-Central Connecticut and Long Island Sound (collectively, the “Farm River resources”).

    To further this purpose, FFRE may engage in activities including but not limited to:

    • Working independently and in collaboration with non-profit and community groups, government agencies, and private entities to achieve FFRE’s goals and objectives;

    • Educating the public about the Farm River resources, including its ecosystems and environmentally sound use and public access;

    • Monitoring and taking action to improve water quality of the Farm River resources;

    • Protecting the ecological health and resilience of the Farm River resources in the face of existing and anticipated environmental and climate change impacts;

    • Advocating for environmentally sound public policies and land use practices affecting the Farm River resources;

    • Owning, managing, or maintaining land for public use or access to the Farm River resources;

    • Raising funds and applying for grants for the benefit the Farm River resources; and

    • Engaging in other activities to further FFRE’s purpose.

     The Farm River Estuary is a wild, pristine and enormously complex productive, and fragile estuarine ecosystem with wooded uplands, high quality fresh water, and brackish tidal marshes. These picturesque floodplains, coves, and inlets provide a critical natural habitat for an immense variety of microbes, plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish, shellfish and mammals that rely on it for food, water, and shelter, especially during migration and breeding.
        The Farm River Estuary also forms the southern end of an important migratory flyway that extends north through the center of Connecticut and Massachusetts into northern New England and Canada. The Farm River has been used for navigation by a fertilizer factory, stone quarry, paper mill, saloon, salt hay harvesters, fisherman and boating enthusiasts.
        During colonial times there was a swine farm in the northern sections and a prominent hill, Beacon Hill, was used as a lighthouse and quarry. Barges hauled traprock downstream to Long Island Sound. During the late 19th century, summer cottages and small boats moored on stakes lined both sides of the lower river.
        The population along the shoreline will continue to grow exponentially and the cumulative effects of the last century will pale in comparison to the pressures that will come to bear on the Farm River Estuary in the coming years. Maintaining the estuary in its current undeveloped condition and promoting environmentally sound use of the Farm River watershed is critical as estuaries around the world are rapidly dying.

    Estuaries around the world are rapidly dying, but fortunately grassroots organizations like the Friends of the Farm River Estuary are making a change. Portions of the Farm River estuary have been saved. Beacon Hill consists of 70 acres including a small portion of tidal wetlands and a steep forested traprock ridge that rises 80 feet above the Farm River Estuary. Dramatic vertical rock cliffs and the remains of a small quarry operation mark the southern tip. From the top one has breathtaking panoramic views of Long Island Sound, the New Haven skyline and the tidal wetlands.

    The 61-acre Farm River State Park consists of two contiguous parcels, with pristine marsh, dramatic rock outcroppings, woodlands, and open space with facilities that will be used for outdoor education, research, wildlife management, community boating and other activities.In 2004/2005, FFRE was a primary sponsor of a collaboration to purchase Saltonstall Mountain, which is part of the largest contiguous area of undeveloped remaining open space in the area. It abuts Pisgah Brook Preserve and several open space areas, thereby integrating them into a single 800-acre nature preserve of vital environm ental importance to the entire region. Saltonstall Mountain, Beacon Hill, and the Farm River State Park are critical habitats that perform important environmental functions. Their development for any other purpose (e.g. houses) would result in erosion, contamination, and increased flooding along the Farm River corridor. Friends of the Farm River Estuary’s mission is to facilitate access to, and environmentally sound use of, the lower Farm River watershed, and to educate the public about its ecosystem. There is a great deal of work to be done: education, habitat testimony and documentation, research, mapping, community relations, literature, brochures, programs, events and activities.We hope you share our enthusiasm and become a fellow friend. Your joining is vitally important. You will become part of a local network of dedicated citizens, receive important informational mailings, and play a unique role in determining the fate of our precious river. To become a Friend, simply send us an email and we’ll send you a new member information packet.