$6.3 million for dam bypass that migrating fish aren’t using. Experts are trying to fix it.

When state and federal officials unveiled the $6.3 million Tingue Dam fish bypass in 2014, they heralded it as the fish maker. The bypass was designed to enable migratory fish to climb the nearby Kinneytown Dam fish ladder built in 1998 and swim along the 32 miles of the Naugatuck River to spawn. But Zak, who heads the Naugatuck River Revival Group, has seen nowhere near the predicted passage of the 20,000 shad or the 30,000 river herring during his years filming fish migration in the area. The coalition, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have filed paperwork with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C., seeking action. FERC has opened a docket on the matter. The hope is FERC will convince Enel Greenpower, a multi-national energy supplier based in Italy that owns the Kinneytown Dam and the two power plants it services, to comply with orders to ensure the ladder is operable, coalition members said. In a letter to FERC, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claims the inoperable Ansonia power station causes the dam to spill frequently and as a result, attracts fish to the base of the dam, limiting the ladder’s effectiveness. John Waldman, a SUNY biology professor, said deterioration of the dam — which he described as “a tired-looking cement monolith with giant horizontal cracks, numerous leaks and bent rebar sticking out of it” — also has contributed in big part to the problem.


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