DEEP: DEEP Joins Eastern Connecticut Conservation District for a Dedication Ceremony of Hallville Fishway, Preston

May 2, 2013
   
DEEP Joins Eastern Connecticut Conservation District for a Dedication Ceremony of Hallville Fishway, Preston
 
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Deputy Commissioner Macky McCleary joined representatives of the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District (ECCD) and other partners today dedicating the new Hallville Fishway – which will allow alewife and other migratory fish to access the 11-acre Hallville Pond within Poquetanuck Brook. 
 
Other partners included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Fishers Island Ferry District, the Andrew Tate Memorial Fund and the Piela family.
 
In 2010, the DEEP’s Long Island Sound Fund awarded the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, Inc. a grant of $283,000 to construct a fishway with a fish counter around the 15-foot high dam located at 16 Halls Mill Road in the Hallville section of Preston to provide fish passage to the 11 acre Hallville Pond within Poquetanuck Brook.  As part of the project, ECCD has installed a video camera with a live feed to the internet to allow for real-time remote monitoring of the fish passage by scientists, students and the public.  Installation of an interpretive kiosk style educational sign at the site will also provide information to passers-by.
 
In addition to the funding provided by the DEEP, this important project has benefitted from a strong partnership of local, private and federal sources.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided a grant in the amount of $74,000 for the project, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service provided wildlife program funding in the amount of $48,000.  The Fishers Island Ferry District provided $100,000 in matching costs.  The Andrew Tate Memorial Fund contributed several thousand dollars.  Andrew Tate was a local young man who loved fishing and nature and ECCD was asked to set up the fund in his memory.
 
“The project has benefited from a strong partnership of funders and others who recognize the importance of Connecticut’s natural resources.  Poquetanuck Brook supports one of the largest alewife runs in New London County and this fishway will reconnect the run with excellent spawning habitat for the first time in probably 150 years,” said Macky McCleary, Deputy Commissioner of the DEEP. “The fishway will have an enormous environmental impact through the restoration of access to fish habitat that is home to bird and fish species critical to the Long Island Sound ecosystem, and will enhance the eight billion dollar Sound economy by providing better water quality for the traditional industries reliant upon it.
 
Scott Gravatt, Executive Director of the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, and the project manager commented, “Since day one our partners and the state’s DEEP have been truly remarkable. They recognized that the benefits of a strong and healthy Long Island Sound are enormous. The cooperation of the Piela family who owns the property was just fantastic, along with so many other partners that helped to make this project happen.”
 
“The Hallville Fishway is an excellent example of the ecosystem services that can be restored when state, federal, and local entities work together. Through the tremendous efforts of the conservation partnership, good things are happening to protect the state’s valuable aquatic resources, said Lisa Coverdale, NRCS State Conservationist.  “NRCS is proud to be a part of this group, having provided financial and technical support through the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. The newly-completed fishway will now serve as a springboard for further restoration efforts.”
 
The Restoration Project
 
The project restores migratory fish passage to the 11-acre pond, but also sets the stage for future projects that have the potential for reconnecting an additional 8.5 miles of upstream historical fish habitat, including two lakes totaling 158 acres.  Fish that will benefit from this project include alewife, sea-run trout and American eel, as well as other resident species.
 
The engineering design was done by local engineer, Karl Acimovic. The project went through several construction phases that began with building three separate concrete structures.  These structures were then connected to each other with sloped aluminum channels designed to slow the flow of water so fish can swim up and over the dam.  Schumack Engineered Construction put their best people on the job and the result is a smoothly operating fishway.
 
Fish have already begun to ascend the fishway.  For more information about the project, please contact ECCD at (860) 887-4163, extension 400, or by email at kate.johnson@comcast.net