O’Sullivan’s Island Fishing and Viewing Platform

A view of O'Sullivan's Island in Derby looking toward the Route 8 bridge.

O’Sullivan’s Island is a peninsula at the confluence of the Housatonic and Naugatuck Rivers under the Route 8 bridge that connects Derby and Shelton. NVCOG has assisted with several projects that make the site an asset for the region. 

Even with vehicles going over the peninsula on Route 8 and trains passing nearby, the site offers a peaceful spot for people to enjoy the riverfront. O’Sullivan’s Island is one of the most interesting and naturally beautiful pieces of land in the lower Naugatuck Valley. It is also one of the most challenging brownfield locations NVCOG has had the opportunity to improve. 

Most recently, NVCOG has helped the City of Derby plan and secure funding for the Handicapped Accessible Fishing & Viewing Pier Project on O’Sullivan’s Island. The platform will be 80 feet across, 16 feet wide and extend out 30 feet into the river. Four benches will be included. Bids for building the platform were accepted recently and work is expected to start during 2023. 

Funding for the fishing pier is coming from state and federal agencies. That includes a $325,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Money for that grant came from the $15 million settlement that the General Electric company paid for polluting the Housatonic River. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has also provided a grant of $204,252, with the funding coming from the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Program. 

NVCOG is managing those grant funds and working with the City of Derby and HRP Associates to see the project to completion. 

Work to make O’Sullivan’s Island got started well before the fishing pier project. NVCOG Executive Director Rick Dunne Environmental Planner Arthur Bogen, and Brownfields Manager Ricardo Rodriguez orchestrated funding and helped the City of Derby with work that transformed the site. That included getting a $200,000 grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development for Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments. Those assessments are complete, and monitoring of the site is ongoing. 

O’Sullivan’s Island Recreation Park reopened to the public in 2009 after being closed for more than twenty years. In 2013, the City of Derby completed its portion of the Naugatuck River Greenway trail that runs across the site’s northern edge. 

HydroLand Kinneytown Dam Fish Passage

An ineffective fish ladder at Kinneytown Dam in Seymour, owned by HydroLand, is currently preventing migratory fish from accessing miles of restored habitat upstream. NVCOG has joined the Naugatuck River Restoration Coalition with the goal of returning migratory fish to the Naugatuck River by ensuring that safe, timely and effective fish passage is established at Kinneytown Dam. The Coalition has developed an Interactive Story Map to explain the issue. 

Kinneytown Dam and Fish Ladder
Kinneytown Dam and Fish Ladder, Seymour, CT

As a hydroelectric generating facility, Kinneytown Dam is regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  As part of the facility’s license exemption, Hydroland must provide for safe, timely and effective fish passage at the dam.  FERC opened a docket in Fall of 2020 in response to a letter from the US Fish and Wildlife Service documenting inadequate fish passage at the facility.  NVCOG is participating in the docket to ensure that regional and municipal voices are heard by regulators. 

**Update** On December 14, 2022, the US Department of Commerce announced that NVCOG has been recommended for funding for a project intended to lead to the removal of Kinneytown Dam. The funding is being made available through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Restoring Fish Passage through Barrier Removal grant program.  The Naugatuck River Restoration Coalition issued a press release in response. 

Hydroland, HydroLand, HydroLand Omega, Hydroland Inc, Hydroland Corp, Hydroland Corporation, 

Explore the Issue:

This interactive storymap details the effort to restore migratory fish to the Naugatuck River, and the current issues at Kinneytown Dam keeping fish from miles of restored habitat upstream.

More Information:

Let the Naugatuck River Run Silver Again Op-Ed by John Waldman published in Hearst Media publications 12/4/2020


Staff Contact:

Aaron Budris
Senior Regional Planner

Route 34 Main Street Derby Reconstruction

Project StatusCars driving on Route 34 in Derby

A bid opening for the construction of the Main Street/Route 34 Project was held on November 3, 2021. The project was awarded to C.J. Fucci Inc. of New Haven, CT. The project is currently under construction. The work will be done in multiple stages and will continue for 3 years due to the extensive amount of roadway and utility work that needs to be accomplished while still maintaining traffic throughout the project corridor. A pre-construction meeting was held on February 17, 2022. Meeting minutes can be viewed here.

Construction Photos

Staff Contact:

Karen Svetz, P.E.
Regional Transportation Engineer

Route 34 Preliminary Design Rendering

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