Connecticut River Flow Restoration Study STUDY OVERVIEW

TitleConnecticut River Flow Restoration Study STUDY OVERVIEW
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKennedy, Katie, Lutz Kim, Hatfield Christopher, Martin Leanna, Townsend Barker, K Kennedy, Palmer Richard N., Detwiler Luke, Anleitner Jocelyn, and J Hickey
Date Published06/2018
Institutionthe Nature Conservancy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and University of Massachusetts Amherst.
CityNorthampton, MA. ​
KeywordsConnecticut River, dam removal, flow, restoration

The Connecticut River begins in silence, unseen—in a tiny beaver pond, just yards from the Canadian border. Here among the moss and sedges, water bubbles from the earth, cool and clear, gathering strength, building momentum, winding south for 410 miles before it spills into Long Island Sound. Along the way, the Connecticut more than lives up to its Native American name. It is, in fact, “a long tidal river,” and it weaves a pulsing watery network across four states and 7.2 million acres—the largest freshwater ecosystem in New England.

From its headwater streams, through field and forest, city and village, to the tidal marshes at the end of its journey, the Connecticut River has long been a source of sustenance for both people and nature, a complex system facing competing demands and a host of challenges. The sweeping watershed supplies drinking water for 2.3 million people, including residents of major cities like Springfield, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut, and it fills reservoirs that provide water to another 2.5 million people in the Boston area. The watershed is also home to a rich mix of species that depend on the river for survival. American shad, alewife, and other migratory fish return to these waters to spawn. Native species like brook trout, longnose dace, fallfish, and tessellated darter thrive here. And along the banks of the river, countless species of mammals and reptiles, raptors and songbirds take refuge in the floodplain forests.