The purpose of the fishway is to provide access to the 45-acre headpond above the dam for migratory fish such as blueback herring and alewife, sea lamprey and American eel. These fish, whose populations have been impacted by lack of access to critical spawning habitat above the state’s many dams, are important forage fish, including commercially important species in Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.
The 160 ft. long fishway rises 14.5 ft and consists of concrete entrance structure, resting pools, turning pool, concrete column support, and exit structure, as well as 105 ft. of aluminum steeppass fishway and an eel-pass. A custom designed aluminum bend suspended in mid-air makes the final turn for fish on their journey up the ladder as they enter the exit structure at the dam crest. An underwater window was incorporated into the turning pool, with appropriate grading outside the structure, to permit visitors a chance to observe fish species as they make their way up the ladder.
The fishway was the 8th fishway designed and inspected by Nathan L. Jacobson & Associates, Inc. It was constructed in the fall of 2019 by Schumack Engineered Construction Co., Inc. for approximately $210,000, with permission from the land owner Centerbrook Architects and Planners, LLP, with technical and administrative oversight and guidance from the CTDEEP Fisheries Division and The Nature Conservancy of Connecticut, as well as a generous donation from John T. and Jane A. Weiderhold.
Video, courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners, LLP summarizes the construction process.