This from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy:
“Roughly a year after Storm Sandy hit Connecticut’s coastline, Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that federal funding has been obtained to better protect communities along Long Island Sound by restoring natural features – such as marshes, wetlands, beaches, and the flow of rivers – that can help reduce damage from severe storms in the future.
“Residents and communities that suffered damage as a result of Storm Sandy will benefit from new U.S. Department of the Interior funding that will improve the resiliency of coastal and riparian areas by providing effective buffers to better protect us from powerful storm surges and damaging flood waters,” Governor Malloy said. “This is part of our effort to aggressively pursue all available federal funds to help our state rebuild and to better prepare for the future – an effort that has resulted in nearly half a billion in aid for Connecticut and its citizens.”
The U.S. Interior Department (DOI) recently announced $162 million for 45 protects designed to better protect Atlantic Coast communities from Virginia to Maine. Under this program, Connecticut will benefit from $5.2 million for five state-specific projects to improve water flows and reduce the risk of flooding by removing dams and restoring natural habitats.
The dams to be removed are:
- Pond Lily Dam, West River, New Haven. Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound will be managing this project.
- Flock Process Dam, Norwalk River, Norwalk. The City of Norwalk will be managing this project.
- Norton Mill Dam, Jeremy River, Colchester. The Nature Conservancy will be managing this project.
- Hype Pond Dan, Whitford Brook, Mystic. Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound will be managing this project.
- Series of dams on the Pawcatuck River in Rhode Island that will impact Connecticut waters.
Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “By preserving and restoring natural resources – like beaches and marshes – we can better prepare and protect against flooding. Removing man-made, misplaced dams allows nature to better protect us and communities to prepare. Connecticut residents who suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to their homes, businesses, and communities were rightly frustrated by the slow release of financial assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and today’s announcement is welcome news. As these communities continue to rebuild, I will fight to ensure all Connecticut families still struggling to recover from Sandy receive support in a timely manner.”
“The Pond Lilly Dam has been a serious safety concern for Woodbridge Village District residents and business owners for decades,” Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said. “Removal of the dam will be good for Woodbridge’s economy, with an estimated economic benefit of $1.3 million. It has been a long time coming. The project will not only provide flood relief, but help efforts to restore the West River’s habitat to a more natural environment and promote recreational use of the Pond Lily Nature Preserve.
“Hurricane Sandy was a devastating storm for Atlantic Coast towns, including those in Connecticut,” she continued. “A year later people are still rebuilding their lives and these funds will help enormously in that process. But we can never be prepared enough. The projects funded by the grants will be critical to ensuring we can deal with catastrophic storms in the future.”
Under the DOI program Connecticut will also benefit from its share of $18.8 million for 10-multi-state projects focused on improved capabilities to predict, assess and prevent storm damage by strengthening data gathering, monitoring, and forecasting along sensitive coastal areas.
“This funding will help protect our coastal landscape against future storms by removing aging dams that pose flood risks and increasing our scientific knowledge of storm impacts,” Congressman Joe Courtney said. “Hurricane Sandy caused widespread damage along the eastern seaboard, and we must act to replenish the coastal wetlands, rivers, and other natural features that protect our homes and businesses from future storms. This package of grants announced by Secretary Jewell demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to repairing our community from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Sandy, but also is a significant down payment toward protecting our coastline for the future.”
Funding for work on the removal of dams and construction of fishways will go to non-government entities, such as The Nature Conservancy, that will be responsible for the projects. DEEP will provide technical assistance and support for them.
Funding for the various studies and assessments will be directed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Service, who will enter into agreements with universities, state government agencies, and non-government entities for this work.
“In addition to mitigating flooding, removal of these dams brings a variety of other benefits,” said state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. “The projects will allow important fish species to migrate further upstream, restore critical habit areas and create new opportunities for outdoor recreation. These projects will create a variety of much-needed jobs in our communities.”
The awards are part of a $300 million two tier competitive grant process initiated by DOI. This first round was largely intended for work on federal lands, but Connecticut received funding for several projects because of the positive impact they will have on federally protected species. DOI is expected to seek Requests for Proposals for a second round of projects that will be open to work outside of federal lands. Connecticut will submit several project proposals and DOI is expected to award another $100 million in that round of funding.