December 08. 2020

Ledyard — The design stage for a new migratory fishway on Whitford Brook will begin early next year, thanks to an award from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund.The $172,000 grant was awarded to Save the Sound for the project, along with additional funds for the Hutchinson River watershed in New York. It will support the design of a nature-like fishway to assist alewife and other migratory fish in bypassing Long Pond Dam, which prevents the fish from continuing their passage upstream from Long Island Sound.In a release from Save the Sound, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Inland Fisheries Division estimates that, once accessible, habitat in Long Pond and its tributaries could support an annual migration of more than 250,000 alewife, which are an important food source for larger fish, birds of prey and marine mammals.The fishway project is part of a series of restoration programs on Whitford Brook, which is the main tributary for the Mystic River. Previous projects include the removal of Hyde Pond Dam and the installation of a fishway at Lantern Hill Pond, upstream from Long Pond.
“With this design funding, we’ve moved one step closer to a connected river system on Whitford Brook,” Gwen Macdonald, director of ecological restoration at Save the Sound, said in the release. “The restoration of our rivers and the fish runs that bring them so much vitality each spring must remain a top priority across the Long Island Sound region. We’re thrilled to have the support of the Long Island Sound Study to continue our work on Whitford Brook by designing a nature-like fishway at Long Pond Dam.”