River Restoration Projects, Connecticut
Settlements at two different Superfund sites in Connecticut allowed the Department to initiate multiple restoration projects that have led to improvements in fish habitats, streamside habitats, and greater public access. In one case, contaminants from the Yaworski Lagoon Superfund Site near Plainfield, CT, had adversely affected riverine habitat downstream from the Moosup River. At this site, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working with local partners, utilized a $40,000 settlement to remove an antiquated cast iron pipe that crossed the stream, forming a small dam that blocked upstream and downstream fish passage. The removal of the pipe reconnects more than 5 miles of riverine habitat, benefiting resident fish and other aquatic organisms.
Trustees from the Fish and Wildlife Service also worked with State and local governments and organizations in Connecticut to utilize funds from a settlement with the General Electric Company. The settlement compensates the public for injuries stemming from PCB contamination generated upstream in the Housatonic River watershed near Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The first acquisition, in New Milford, CT, is a 25-acre parcel with over a quarter mile of river frontage. The property will be cleared of invasive plants and become a town park, managed primarily for wildlife habitat and wildlife viewing, as well as flood control. The property contains a floodplain forest and intermittently flooded grasslands, which will also serve as an outdoor classroom for schools and Scout groups. The second acquisition area encompasses 3.5 acres along the banks of the Naugatuck River, a tributary to the Housatonic. Residents of the town of Harwinton overwhelmingly supported the purchase of this riverfront property that was the historic site of early water-powered business development in the region. The property will be managed locally for public fishing access.