Current Status of the Efforts of the Friends of Gorham’s Pond
Congratulations to all FOGP volunteers and donors, the Town of Darien and the State of CT!!
It is with great pleasure that we unveil the newly restored Upper Pond. This first section of the Gorham’s Pond watershed had slowly filled in over 50 years with road sand from I95. This sand had filled in this beautiful pond, a key fish and bird habitat. The road sand mixed with organic matter to create a viscous sludge that trapped garbage and other detrius, creating islands fit only for invasives to grow.
The Upper Pond project is an excellent example of a public/private partnership – through efforts of the Town, we received a $550,000 STEAP grant from the State of Connecticut. Combined with Town of Darien funds, FOGP and private donations we were able to accomplish this restoration. In 2016, Candide contractors, Darien public works and FOGP volunteers executed the restoration plan and, benefiting from a warm winter, were able to complete the project in under a year!
A new dam was poured, 800 tons of sediment removed and a DEEP-mandated fish ladder, critical to the migration to andronomous fish was installed. Since the completion of this project, the bird population has soared. Three pairs of bald eagles have taken up residence along with ospreys, kestrels, Great Blue Herons and other unusual bird life.
Now that this first stage of our long-term plan has been completed, we turn to the area immediately below the Goodwives River bridge, where huge sandbars have formed, impeding the flow of water run-off from over half of the land mass of Darien to LI Sound. This Fall and Winter, grant applications will be submitted to various State and other entities, in the hope that we can receive funds with which to continue our historic river restoration.
Throughout 2017-19 concerted efforts by FOGP and our engineers, shepherded our plans and applications through 6 governmental agencies. Finally in the Summer of 2019, those efforts rewarded us with all the necessary local, State and Federal permits required to restore this section of Gorham’s Pond. Our important environmental restoration project is “shovel ready”—now we need the funds to accomplish this very important task.
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