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The following individuals helped plan, organize and create content for this website. In addition to their contributions, the site features images from many talented photographers who are acknowledged wherever their work appears.

Thanks also to Dorene Warner of W Design and Judy Anderson of Community Consultants for their work on the site.

GIS planner

Kevin Armstrong

A GIS planner with RiverCOG, Kevin worked on the development of this site’s interactive mapping functions.


J. H. Torrance Downes

Torrance worked with town land use staff and commissions on development applications and regulation petitions reviewed by the Gateway Commission. He also advised property owners and their architects, engineers and builders on achieving their goals while meeting Commission standards. His knowledge and experience are reflected in the content throughout the site.

Communications professional

Gregory Futoma

A retired communications professional in state government and Old Lyme representative to the Commission, Greg served as chair of its communications committee during much of the development of the site. He’s been a member and chair of the Old Lyme Open Space Commission. He worked extensively in drafting and organizing its content.

Commission representative for Old Saybrook

Tom Gezo

As a resident of and Commission representative for Old Saybrook, Tom served as chair of the Commission’s communications committee when plans were made to organize and then begin a broad marketing program that included the major website upgrade. He supports local conservation organizations and appreciates and enjoys cycling and hiking the shores, kayaking the coves and photographing wildlife in this very special place.

RiverCOG South representative to the Commission

Judy Preston

Judy is a RiverCOG South representative to the Commission. She is a long-time environmental professional in Connecticut where she focuses on community-based conservation and education. An avid gardener, she has transitioned her yard into native habitat that informs her writing, public speaking, and commitment to environmental well-being. Judy was awarded The Garden Club of America Coastal Zone Conservation award in 2021. She holds an undergraduate degree in geology, and masters degree in botany (UVM Field Naturalist) and environmental management (Yale). She writes about the intersection of people and nature, and contributed articles and images to the site.

Deep River representative to the Commission

Jerry Roberts

Jerry is a Deep River representative to the Commission. He has been in the history business for over 30 years. He has served as Vice President in charge of Exhibits at the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum in New York City, and as Executive Director of the National Lighthouse Museum project in NYC, the Connecticut River Museum in Essex CT, and the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks CT. He has written several books and other historic publications and has co-written and appeared in a number of documentaries. He is a popular public speaker and enjoys bringing history to life through all of the projects he takes on. Jerry lives overlooking the Connecticut River with his family where he continues to write and consult. He contributed articles on the river’s history for the website and arranged permission for the Commission to use photographs from his book “The Connecticut River From The Air.”

Essex representative

Misha Semënov-Leiva

Misha is an Essex representative to the Commission and architect. An avid kayaker, hiker, bicyclist and all-around nature enthusiast, Misha is passionate about the conservation of the Connecticut River Valley and its unparalleled natural and cultural resources. Most recently, he has championed the introduction of light pollution language into the Gateway standards and contributed web content on the subject.

Old Lyme representative

Suzanne Thompson

Suzanne is an Old Lyme representative to and Chair of the Commission. She has worked on all sides of the microphone. You may have followed her CT Outdoors weekly talk show on WLIS & WMRD radio stations for 16 years, or read her features and garden columns in The Day, Harbor News, Lyme Times or in or Lyme-Old Lyme Neighbors magazine. An environmental advocate, she is co-leader of Pollinate Old Lyme, her town’s Pollinator Pathway effort, and founder of Nix the Knotweed, a campaign to combat the invasive plant through organic control methods. You can follow Nix the Knotweed on Facebook and its YouTube channel.


plant buffers make the river cleaner and healthier for us all

Let Your Lawn Filter Our Water

A Gateway standard included in the zoning regulations of all eight member towns requires a “vegetative buffer” between lawns or upland property and the river. The purpose of this “riparian buffer” is to allow storm or irrigation runoff, which may contain traces of fertilizer or pesticides, to soak into the ground before reaching the Connecticut River. The earth is a great filter, and plant buffers make the river cleaner and healthier for us all.