One focus of NVCOG’s regional planning work is the environment. We work closely with member municipalities, environmental nonprofits, and state and federal agencies to fix environmental harm done in the past, and to help minimize environmental impact of future development.  We work toward these goals in various ways like encouraging smart local land use policies, providing support for environmental organizations, and supporting and providing input to state environmental efforts.

Some environment program highlights:

Water Quality

Surface and ground water quality are vital to the health and well-being of the region’s residents.   We work to ensure that quality water sources are preserved for future generations, and that degraded water bodies are restored. NVCOG is actively engaged with several ongoing efforts around water quality:

  • NVCOG Environmental Planning Director Aaron Budris is an active member of the Connecticut Water Planning Council Advisory Group (WPCAG) that assisted in the development of the State Water Plan and is assisting in implementing plan recommendations.
  • NVCOG is an active member of the Western Connecticut Water Utility Coordinating Committee (WUCC) that plans for adequate quantity and quality of public drinking water.
  • We provide support to local watershed groups, recently participating in the development of watershed based plans for the Mill, Pequabuck and Pomperaug River watersheds.

Dam Safety

Under the CT DEEP Dam Safety Programdam owners will be notified when their dam is due for inspection and will be responsible for hiring a qualified engineer to inspect their dam and submit a report back to DEEP. For dam owners who need assistance with this process, DEEP has two very useful resources: a Hiring Guidance Document, and a contract with a non-comprehensive list of qualified engineers.  Visit NVCOG’s Dam Safety Page for more information on how to make use of these documents.

MS4 (Municipal Stormwater) Compliance

Compliance with state and federal environmental regulations can be a challenge for our member municipalities.  The CT General Permit for the Discharge of Stormwater from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) that went into effect in 2017 is an excellent example. NVCOG is committed to assisting member municipalities in complying with this new permit, and to finding regional solutions to compliance issues. Our inaugural Environmental Sustainability Forum focused on MS4 compliance (recording here). Please see our MS4 Page for more information.

Regional Trails

We provide a collection of over 250 recreational trails within the Naugatuck Valley Region and beyond. The Naugatuck Valley Trails Map displays the routes of off-road, multi-purpose trails and includes descriptive information, parking information, and contact information. NVCOG has collected data from municipal staff, land trusts, conservation commissions, and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  For more information, please visit the Regional Trails page.

Open Space

We assist municipalities and land trusts with the acquisition and legal preservation of open space for the benefit of residents. Staff provides technical assistance in grant writing, environmental reviews, and outreach.  Our GIS staff maps and tracks open space parcels throughout the region, and provides mapping and analysis support for grant applications, public outreach, and management initiatives.

CT Environmental Review Team

We participate in the CT Environmental Review Team (ERT), offering detailed environmental reviews to municipalities and land trusts no cost.  A municipality may request assistance for projects such as the acquisition of open space or an unusual subdivision or development proposal. The ERT team leader will arrange for personnel with appropriate knowledge to tour the property.  A report will be compiled highlighting environmental assets and issues found during the review.

Solar Energy (SolSmart)

In partnership with SolSmart, a U.S. Department of Energy program, we are working to streamline and promote the development of solar energy in our region. Our solar energy landing page is available with more resources and information.

Waste Management

With more trash and higher disposal costs than ever before, Connecticut is facing a waste crisis. NVCOG is partnering with state and local government as well as businesses and residents to find and implement solutions. Our work ranges from hosting home composter sales and household hazardous waste events to running trash reduction pilot programs and thinking up big ideas for modern regional waste management systems. Learn more about our ongoing projects and useful resources on our new waste management page.Environmental 



Check out printable open space and land use maps for your municipality!

Staff Contact:  

Aaron Budris
Environmental Planning Director