For nearly two centuries, migratory fish have been blocked from most of the Naugatuck River by Kinneytown Dam in Seymour. That continues today, with the facility no longer producing electricity and serving no useful purpose. Now, a project is underway led by NVCOG in partnership with Save the Sound to remove Kinneytown Dam. Removal will open miles of restored habitat to shad, alewife, lamprey, river herring and other anadromous fish, and will also reduce flood risk, remove a safety concern and eyesore, and reconnect communities to recreational opportunities along the Naugatuck River.
After the longstanding failure of a fish ladder at Kinneytown Dam came to light in 2019, the Naugatuck River Restoration Coalition was formed to advocate for the restoration of fish passage on the Naugatuck River. Consisting of NVCOG, the Naugatuck River Revival Group, and Save the Sound, the Coalition has worked with state and federal regulatory agencies to shed light on the failure to pass fish as required by Kinneytown Dam’s federal license exemption and encouraging the dam owner to remedy the situation.
It has become clear that restoring hydroelectric generation while providing safe, timely and effective fish passage at Kinneytown Dam is not economical, and removal of the dam is the only way to fully restore fish passage at the site. In partnership with Save the Sound, NVCOG applied for and received funding through the NOAA Restoring Fish Passage Through Barrier Removal grant program in 2022 for the acquisition and decommissioning of the facility, and for the design and construction work leading to the dam’s removal. The project is supported by municipal leaders, state and federal regulatory agencies, the CT federal delegation, environmental advocates, and the current dam owner.
The Coalition has developed an Interactive Story Map to explain the issue. Project details are forthcoming, so please check back soon!
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.
Environmental Planning Director