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News Release

Pond Lily Dam Removal Begins in New Haven

Dam at Pond Lily

Elected officials, conservationists, and civic groups recently came together in New Haven to celebrate beginning work on the Pond Lily Dam Removal Project along Connecticut’s West River. It was déjà vu for many of them, because 14 years ago they were standing in the same place to celebrate the completion of Pond Lily Fishway – wishing the dam could have been taken out. And on this day, their collective wish has come true.

The $800,000+ project, located in the New Haven Land Trust’s Pond Lily Nature Preserve, will restore migratory fish passage and minimize flooding. The flood risk at Pond Lily has been a safety and economic concern for Westville Village District residents and business owners for many years. Removal of the dam will not only protect nearby urban communities, it will also restore fish passage and habitat on 2.6 stream miles and 76 acres of Konold's Pond habitat for herring, eel, and shad.

The removal of the dam is funded in part, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, which provides federal emergency funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery to strengthen natural defenses that can help protect Atlantic Coast communities against future storms. Additional funding for the project was provided by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The project is administered by Save the Sound, a bi-state program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment.

“This project transforms the landscape to yield a profound and significant benefit to the aquatic resources of the West River,” said NRCS Resource Conservationist Todd Bobowick.  “Not only does it improve the morphological and ecological resiliency of the river, but also is a testament to the resiliency of the partnership made up of federal, state, and local resource entities – all dedicated to the rehabilitation of riverine migratory corridors to improve their ecological function.”

Other partners include the dam owner New Haven Land Trust, City of New Haven, Town of Woodbridge, Restore America's Estuaries, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Solar Youth, Common Ground High School, Trout Unlimited, the Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. These organizations are working together to educate and involve the nearby surrounding communities in the benefits of dam removal.