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Removal of the Pequabuck River Middle Street Dam is Long Overdue

Pequabuck River Middle Street Dam

The Pequabuck River Middle Street Dam?

The dam was built in the late 1960s by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, replacing a granite dam used to divert water to the Bristol Brass Company. The dam is located at the southwest corner of the junction of Routes 72 and 229 in Bristol. It no longer serves any function and offers no historic nor aesthetic value.

Removing the dam will not impact flooding because it is not a flood control dam.

The removal will restore fish access to 8.5 miles of in-stream habitat and remove contaminated sediment that has built up behind the dam over time. The Middle Street dam is the first full barrier to migratory fish swimming upstream from Long Island Sound said the now-defunct Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency.

The removal will enhance the river’s ecosystem, improve opportunities for anglers in Bristol, and provide an impetus for the development of an adjacent City park which will offer pedestrians and cyclists a safe greenway through the area.

The project had the support of the City of Bristol, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Pequabuck River Watershed Association, the Farmington River Watershed Association, American Rivers, the Farmington Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Lower Farmington River & Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic Study Committee, and the North Central Conservation District.

Back in 2013 then-Mayor Art Ward said “The City of Bristol has partnered with the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency for over 15 years to remove the Middle Street Dam. Once complete, the project will restore fish passage from Long Island Sound to the Pequabuck River and will benefit the adjacent Veterans’ Memorial Boulevard and Park.”

“On behalf of all Bristol residents, I congratulate CCRPA and wish to thank all agencies involved with the Long Island Sound Futures Fund for helping to complete this project.”

That never happened.

Back in 2013 efforts to remove the Bristol Brass dam from the Pequabuck River received a boost. The former Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency received a $100,000 Long Island Sound Futures Fund grant to cover the remaining funds needed to complete the project.

That also never happened.

Removal of the Pequabuck River Middle Street Dam is long overdue.

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