Case Study

Wilton, CT

Strong Pond Dam Removal at Merwin Meadows

Dana Dam (aka Strong Pond Dam) at Merwin Meadows Park in Wilton, CT was the first barrier to upstream fish migration from Long Island Sound on the Norwalk River. A series of dams along the Norwalk River (historically, and presently) prevented fish from reaching their historic spawning grounds, have posed safety risks, and disconnected the river from its natural floodplain. On September 11, 2023, demolition of this dam began! In addition to restoring habitat and allowing fish passage, the removal restored natural floodplain connectivity, realigned 200 feet of river channel away from an active railroad embankment, and removed a known safety hazard.


  • Save the Sound, CT DEEP, Trout Unlimited, Town of Wilton

A low dam on a water body surrounded by fall foliage.
Before dam removal. Credit: Alex Krofta
Dam deconstruction. Credit: Melissa Pappas
After dam removal. Credit: Alex Krofta
Study Type: Project
Impact Information:
The project was designed to restore aquatic connectivity on the Norwalk River, particularly for diadromous fish species (such as river herring, American eel, and sea lamprey) that migrate upstream from Long Island Sound. Nearly 10 upstream miles have been reopened for aquatic organism passage, creating a 20+ mile stretch of free-flowing river from Long Island Sound. The project restored 1,400 feet of natural flow, reconstructed 800 feet of pool-riffle channel, and restored 1 acre of riparian floodplains, wetlands, and vegetated upland. The project improved habitat for riverine fish including brook trout, as well as birds, mammals, amphibians and other wildlife. Removal of Dana Dam improves water quality (primarily temperature and dissolved oxygen), protects 200-foot section of railroad embankment, and eliminates a public safety hazard.
Period of Completion: 2018-present
Total Cost: $3.9M (Design, Permitting, Implementation, Monitoring/Adaptive Management)
Funding Sources: CT DEEP, EPA (LISS Enhancement Grant, LISS BIL funding, and Congressionally-Directed Spending via Rep. Jim Hines), Anne S. Richardson Fund, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and many generous private donations
Permits Needed: US Army Corps of Engineers General Permit #10, CT DEEP Dam Safety Individual Permit, MetroNorth Railroad Entry Permit, Town of Wilton Erosion & Sediment Control Permit
Contact Info:

Alex Krofta,

Aquatic Resources
Open Resource

Resilience Steps


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