Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound was recently awarded a $475,000 grant that will fund dam removal and a habitat restoration project at the Dana Dam in Wilton’s Merwin Meadows.

The grant comes in the form of two amounts–$75,000 awarded from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF), administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and a $400,000 Long Island Sound Study Enhancement Grant, administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).

Both grants are made possible by the Clean Water Act and funding made available by the EPA through the Long Island Sound Study, one of 28 National Estuary Programs in the country. Since the removal of Flock Process Dam and the breach of Cannondale Dam in 2018, Dana Dam is one of the final barriers on the Norwalk River, and its removal would re-open 10 miles of river habitat to migratory fish such as Alewife, Blueback Herring, and American Shad.

“In terms of ecosystem health and habitat restoration, the removal of Dana Dam is a really significant project,” said Gwen Macdonald, director of ecological restoration at CFE/Save the Sound. “Its removal will mean that there is only one more barrier to fish passage on the entire length of the Norwalk River. This project builds on the immense efforts of Trout Unlimited and our other partners in the Norwalk River watershed. Thanks to them, the Norwalk River will provide healthy, diverse habitat for the migratory and resident fish alike. That’s a big deal, and we are all very excited to see another Connecticut river running free.”

CFE/Save the Sound leadership joined Trout Unlimited and Sen. Richard Blumenthal for the LISFF awards in Bridgeport on Nov. 4.

Planning for removal at Merwin Meadows is slated to begin in 2020.