Old Meriden dam torn down to make way for fish

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A fish tale over a century in the making. For the first time in 150 years water is flowing freely along the Quinnipiac River in Meriden because they tore down the old Carpenter’s Dam to try and get the river healthy again for migrating fish.

“It’s taken 50 years to actually start replacing the lost resources,” said Save the Sound’s John Champion.

He says they’ve cleaned up 50 years of Southington Landfill filth so they could clawed through the old Carpenter’s dam and get the river moving again. They’re finding trinkets in the concrete too.

“You got the feeling the old boys just got together and just built in on a wing and a prayer and we found all sorts of garbage that they threw into the concrete as it was setting up,” said the Supervising Fisheries Biologist Stephen Gephard.

It’s just one part of a four part project costing about $800,000 by Save the Sound and the US Fisheries and Wildlife. It will open up 17 miles of watershed in effort to get canoes on the river paddling and more fish in the river swimming.

Gephard said, “This will result in more fish coming back to the Quinnipiac River and coming back to places they haven’t been in 150 years.”

“With this dam out the fish can now get all the way up to it’s spawning grounds,” said Champion. “Some of the fish will find their way farther up. It’s a process it won’t happen overnight.”

The old dam will be cleared by the end of the day.The earliest they expect the American shad, blueback herring, and trout to be swimming this way would most likely be next spring.

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