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Improved Fish Passage at Tingue Dam in Connecticut

Tingue Dam Bypass. Photo credit:  NOAA Fisheries

Tingue Dam Bypass Celebration.  October 30, 2014.  Photo Credit:  NOAA Fisheries

Fishway and public path.  Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries

Local Community Celebrates Completion of Fishway on Naugatuck River

By James Turek, NOAA Restoration Center, Northeast Region


An enthusiastic crowd of more than 200 people attended the press event for the completion of a $6.3 million nature-like fishway on the Naugatuck River. The Naugatuck River is a tributary to the Housatonic River, in Seymour, Connecticut.

NOAA awarded $2.5 million to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, with another $672,000 provided by Trustee agencies including NOAA, CT DEEP, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for the Housatonic River PCB-contaminant settlement funds. 

"Over the years, through our combined contributions, we have made real progress improving fish passage and water quality on the Naugatuck River. It’s exciting to see this obsolete dam and former manufacturing site made passable to migrating fish species. The restoration of this river ecosystem will have ecological and socio-economic benefits for all the communities that border this river."

John Bullard, regional administrator, NOAA Fisheries

Bullard was joined U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, CT DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee, First Selectman of the Town of Seymour Kurt Miller and CT DEEP Supervising Biologist Steve Gephard for the celebration. The fishway was dedicated to Paul Pawlak, a long-time local resident and staunch environmental advocate. Pawlak family members also participated in the event.

The nature-like bypass fishway and town park uses large boulders and stone to create a 500-foot long river channel with series of chutes and pools. The innovative design allows American shad, river herring, sea lamprey, American eel, trout and other resident species to pass around the Tingue dam located immediately downstream of the Route 8 bridge crossing. The chutes and deeper pools were designed by Milone & MacBroom, Inc. based on natural river features. They will allow migratory and resident fishes to rest and pass through the channel to upstream spawning grounds and other habitats. The project contractor was Mastrobattisto Construction.

The public park includes a concrete pathway along the bypass channel with a circular promenade, where the bypass channel enters into the Naugatuck River. Benches and educational signage were also been installed for the public to enjoy this scenic spot and learn about the diadromous fish restoration on river.