Town officials, Friends of Gorham’s Pond celebrate completion of dredging project
Published 12:00 am, Friday, October 28, 2016
DARIEN — A year-long transformation of a portion of Gorham’s Pond is now complete.
State and local officials gathered on a damp morning last Friday to cut the ribbon, signifying the end of the Goodwives River Dam Project, begun in October 2015. Over the past year, Candide Contractor Landscaping of Norwalk removed 800 tons of sediment from a 5,000-square-foot area on the property of Goodwives Road resident Carol Smith.
“I’ve been waiting for this to happen since 1983, when I moved here,” said Tom McGrath, who lives nearby and attended the ribbon-cutting.
According to Lucia Zachowski, vice-president of the Friends of Gorham’s Pond, the buildup of sediment was precipitated by the building of Interstate 95.
“People had been trying to get it done for 40 years,” Zachowski said about the project. “It’s 80 to 87 percent sand from I-95. What would naturally occur with this kind of debris was accelerated enormously by all the runoff from I-95.”
Now with the section of the pond dredged and — because sand is no longer used for snow mitigation — Zachowski said the problem could be fully rectified. The clean up, however, included more than just the removal of sediment.
“The area was completely overgrown with invasive species, Japanese Knotweed and phragmites,” Zachowski said. Zachowski personally got into the pond, donning a backpack full of Department of Energy and Environmental Protection-approved pesticide, to eradicate the knotweed.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson — who was on hand for the cutting with fellow Selectman Marc Thorne, state Sen. Carlo Leone and state Rep. Terrie Wood — took time to thank Zachowski and Friends of Gorham’s Pond President John Lundeen.
“Lucia and John have been the tireless drivers, for years, behind getting this project going. The credit really goes to Lucia and John and then my public works staff to bring it all to fruition,” Stevenson said. “It was a big team effort.”
“They’re a huge part of the reason why we’ve had such a collegial and productive project here,” Zachowski said.
The celebration wrapped with Stevenson, Leone and Wood each planting a bush donated by Nielsen’s Florist and with Zachowski looking toward the future.
“I’m looking forward to getting started on the other side of the bridge. I’m going to spend the winter sending grants into the state and to the feds,” Zachowski said. “Everyone is very happy with how this all went; I’m hopeful that this will set a precedent going forward.”