NEW HAVEN, CT—Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) today applauded progress on removal of the Pond Lily Dam. The Department of Interior recently announced they are awarding $661,500 to remove the dam, which has caused regular flooding in Woodbridge’s Village District for decades, causing safety problems and property damage. She was joined at a press conference by representatives from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the City of New Haven, the Town of Woodbridge, Save the Sound and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
“This dam has been a serious safety concern for Woodbridge Village District residents and business owners for decades,” DeLauro said. “Removal of the dam will be good for Woodbridge’s economy, with an estimated economic benefit of $1.3 million. It has been a long time coming. The project will not only provide flood relief, but help efforts to restore the West River’s habitat to a more natural environment and promote recreational use of the Pond Lily Nature Preserve.”
"The Service is thrilled to have received over $100 million of funds in the Northeast region for projects related to building coastal resiliency after the devastating impacts of Hurricane Sandy," said Wendi Weber, Northeast Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "The funding we secured to remove the Pond Lily Dam is an example of the wonderful opportunities we have to work with our partners to support projects that are shovel ready and will restore native fish habitat, as well as protect the local communities from future flooding events."
“The Pond Lily dam removal project is designed to reduce flooding and eliminate the threat of dam failure in a major storm, but its ecological benefits accrue year-round,” said Curt Johnson, executive director of Save the Sound. “Removing the dam is a major step in the ongoing restoration of the West River, and will provide fish critical to the whole Sound’s ecosystem—like river herring—with an open path to swim upstream to great ponds and slow-moving sections of the river where they can spawn and increase their numbers. Habitat restoration projects like this one work hand-in-hand with clean water protection and ecosystem-based fisheries management to rebuild healthy fish populations in our rivers, Long Island Sound, and the Atlantic.”
The funding was part of a $162 million package of grants awarded by the Department of Interior to help with Hurricane Sandy recovery and research to mitigate damage from future storms. Connecticut received almost $23 million from that package.
The removal of Pond Lily Dam will allow fish to migrate an additional 2.6 river miles upstream. It will also give river herring safe passage to a 76 acre pond, which is an ideal nursery habitat for those fish to flourish. The project is expected to create 25 engineering and construction jobs.