NOAA 2007-R113
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Monica Allen
5/31/07
NOAA News Releases 2007
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HISTORIC CONNECTICUT FISH RUN RESTORED

NOAA Fisheries, and a group of state and local partners teamed up to install a fishway in Waterford, Conn., that allows fish to bypass a dam and reach more than 4 miles of stream that have not been used by alewives and other fish species for 150 years.

Alewives that have swum in from Long Island Sound in the spring and gathered at the base of the Jordan Mill Pond dam will now be able to reach their historic freshwater spawning habitat in Jordan Brook and its upland streams.

NOAA’s partners in constructing the fishway include the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, the town of Waterford, Save the Sound and the Connecticut Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership.

Federal, state, local and community leaders will gather at Jordan Mill Park in Waterford, Conn., June 2 at 11 a.m. to dedicate the new 65-foot fishway and celebrate the habitat restoration.

“It’s very exciting to see the Jordan Mill Pond fishway installed and functioning after so many years of planning and effort by the project partners,” said Perry F. Gayaldo, the deputy chief of NOAA’s Restoration Center. “This project will compensate the public for damages caused by the Long Island Sound oil spill over 15 years ago. I am grateful to the local, state and federal partners who have worked so diligently this past decade to ensure its completion.”

The project will help restore fish populations that were harmed when 27,000 gallons of No. 2 fuel oil spilled accidentally from the Reinauer Transportation Company barge that grounded in Fishers Island Sound Dec. 21, 1992. A settlement reached with Reinauer by NOAA Fisheries and the state of Connecticut resulted in damages amounting to $100,000. The state of Connecticut directed a portion of these funds designated for coastal restoration to the Jordan Mill Pond project.

By restoring this historic fish run, federal, state and local partners are helping more than the river herring and sea-run brown trout that now have access to eight acres of freshwater spawning and nursing areas. This newly accessible habitat will stimulate increases in both forage and predator fish populations. The alewife provides important food for striped bass, bluefish and other fish. Commercial and recreational fishermen will benefit from more available fish and more places to find fish, as the fishway strengthens the coastal ecosystem.

The project cost an estimated $170,000. In addition to money from the settlement, funding was available through a NOAA Community-based Restoration Program partnership with Save the Sound, a program of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and the Connecticut Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership.

The project would not have been possible without the leadership and services, such as permitting, construction and oversight, of the town of Waterford, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Inland Fisheries Division and the Office of Long Island Sound Programs. OLISP services were funded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Long Island Sound Study.

The project also features an educational component in the adjacent park for the public. Interpretive signs at the fishway will explain the importance of river herring to the Long Island Sound ecosystem. The public will be able to view the fishway and the spring herring migration from the pedestrian bridge over the dam near the exit to the fishway.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public. To learn more about NOAA Fisheries Service, please visit: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov.

On the Web:

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov

NOAA Fisheries: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov