The Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited has received $21,000 through a series of grants for its Schenck’s Island Habitat Improvement Project, that will enable volunteers from the chapter to restore the Norwalk River in Wilton in order to enhance the vital trout habitat. Now, residents can help the organization win even more funding this week, by making small donations of their own that will be matched.

The first grant was an $8,500 award through the Trout Unlimited national Embrace A Stream grant program; that was matched by a $10,000 grant provided by Patagonia in Westport and another $2,500 through the Orvis retail store in Darien.

“We’re thrilled to be able to do more great work restoring and improving the Norwalk River, one of the few streams in our area that still supports wild spawning trout, thanks to this Embrace A Stream grant,” says Jim Glowienka, Mianus Chapter president. “With this grant, we will engage volunteers from our local community to work on a river we all know and love as residents and anglers.”

But additional funds are still accessible–if local supporters do their part. The Mianus Chapter now will also be entered in the Embrace A Stream Challenge, a week-long online fundraising contest running Nov. 6-12 and sponsored by Orvis and Trout Unlimited to provide an additional $50,000 in cash prizes to these important conservation and education projects. To help the Mianus Chapter win additional funds for the Schenck’s Island Habitat Improvement Project visit the Embrace a Stream Challenge website from Nov. 6-12 and make a donation of as little as $10 to help unlock prizes ranging from $250 to $5,000.

The Schenck’s Island Habitat Improvement Project will address issues of erosion and stream channel widening due to flood events along nearly a half-mile of the Norwalk River in Schenck’s Island. The project will also increase and improve in-stream habitat for trout and other aquatic life in the river through the creation of deep pools and natural stone and wood structures. Additionally, thousands of native trees and shrubs will be planted along the river in the park to improve the riparian buffer that helps stabilize the streambanks to prevent erosion, filters stormwater runoff from polluting the waters and creates shade and canopy to keep the river cool.

In addition to the crucial improvements to the stream, the chapter will also leverage the high public use at the park with informational and educational kiosk, angler and park user access points along the river and other features designed to enhance the park user experience and improve community awareness of the importance of protecting the Norwalk River.

“Schenck’s Island and the Norwalk River, which literally runs through the heart of Wilton, are significant assets for our community. Both are something we all care about protecting and preserving,” says Lynne Vanderslice, Wilton’s first selectman. “For the past 20 years, the Mianus Chapter has been working with the town and many other partners to improve the Norwalk River and we are thrilled to be working with them on this ambitious effort at Schenck’s Island.”

Embrace A Stream is a matching grant program administered by Trout Unlimited that provides funds to local chapters and councils for coldwater fisheries conservation. Since its inception in 1975, the grant program has funded more than 1,000 individual projects for a total of $4.4 million in direct cash grants. Local chapters and councils contributed an additional $13 million in cash and in-kind services to EAS funded projects, for a total investment of more than $17 million.

“We’re thrilled to support the Mianus Chapter in its efforts to improve such an important local stream,” says Russ Meyer, of Nevada, chair of the Embrace A Stream grants committee, a group of Trout Unlimited volunteer leaders from across the country. “This year’s grant applications were extremely competitive, but the proposal for the Norwalk River stood out in our committee.”

The Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited serves more than 600 members in southwestern Connecticut. The chapter works with partners to restore local rivers, engage area youth in outdoor education, and promote coldwater conservation. Trout Unlimited is the nation’s largest coldwater conservation organization, with more than 300,000 members and supporters dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. Learn more online at