Our Partners

Kelsey Wentling

Caring for our lower Connecticut River Valley takes many organizations and individuals working together.

The Commission is proud to work with town governments, stewardship organizations, area professionals, and people who live along or enjoy the river.

Eight Town Governments

Eight towns — Chester, Deep River, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook — are in the Zone. Each town’s planning and zoning commission, zoning board of appeals, and land use staff are partners with the CT River Gateway Commission.

The Gateway Commission’s protective standards are adopted into the zoning regulations of all these towns and, once locally adopted, are overseen by local agencies. This successful partnership is nearly 50 years young.

October 2022, from left to right, Carl Fortuna, Old Saybrook First Selectman, Tim Griswold, Old Lyme First Selectman, Harold Thompson, Old Lyme Planning Commission Chair, Charlene Janecek, Chester, First Selectwoman, Suzanne Thompson, Chair, Gateway Commission, and Irene Haines, East Haddam First Selectman

deer on river's edge with dark green foliage in background

Tanisha Bergeron

Nature’s Stewards

The Gateway Commission’s primary responsibility is to protect the the river’s scenic hillsides. The Commission also uses its resources and considerable influence to study and support efforts directed toward managing the lower river’s ecological health.

Partners in this effort include the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, Connecticut Audubon, the Connecticut River Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, local land trusts, and town agencies.

collaborations with property owners, architects, government representatives

Area Professionals

Architects, engineers, and builders who work with clients in the Zone are partners with the Commission as they suggest sensitive and natural hillside development and remodeling approaches to their clients.

Real estate professionals are partners in reminding new owners that what makes the area attractive to them comes from the care and love of those in their new community.

Landscapers, tree services and design professionals are valuable partners in encouraging careful tree and grounds management that blends clients’ desires with neighbors’ and river users’ enjoyment of scenic vistas.

accessible river views

All of Us

If you live in view of the Connecticut river; boat or birdwatch; picnic or hike, or simply spend calm time admiring river views while “re-charging your batteries,” you may be the Commission’s most valuable partner.

Just by virtue of visiting, enjoying, and living by the river, you likely recognize what a truly special place we share. The beauty and health of the Connecticut river comes from the care that previous generations provided, how we protect the river today, and the legacy of care that we pass on to future generations.

Ramsar logo overlays the a photo of the Connecticut River

The Connecticut River has a very impressive list of honors.

The lower river and its wetlands complex were named by the International Ramsar Convention as being “internationally important.” The river tidelands, including the Zone, are considered one of the Western Hemisphere’s “40 Last Great Places” by the Nature Conservancy. It is the first, and only, National Blueway per the federal Department of the Interior. And it is an “American Heritage River.”