Groups ready to use state grant to dredge Gorham's Pond
Published 4:57 pm, Thursday, January 6, 2011
After receiving a State grant at the end of September, the Friends of Goodwives River and the Friends of Gorham's Pond would like to begin the process of removing thousands of cubic yards of road sand from Gorham's Pond.
The Gorham's Pond dredging project, as proposed in the $150,000 grant the town received, would include removing sediment and restoring aquatic habitats, Kilduff told the Darien News. The project would restore 2.5 acres of aquatic habitat and remove nearly 8,000 cubic yards of sediment that is blocking spawning access for anadramous fish.
The proposal stated that if the contaminated sediment was not removed, it would flow into Darien Harbor and negatively impact the water quality of the Long Island Sound. Another benefit of removing sediment from the mouth of Stony Brook is the lower risk of flooding in areas between the pond and Town Hall and as far north as Cherry Street and Hecker Avenue.
Kilduff said the town planned to match the state grant with $1,081,300; the nearly $1.6 million would be used for the dredging and other projects in town.
Friends of Goodwives River President Richard Windels said the process of dredging a pond of Gorham's size can be a challenge but there was money available for towns willing to pursue it.
"There are funds available for damage that is done by I-95," Windels said. "We have a very good Republican in Terrie Wood who will fight for it."
Windels said the proposal for dredging Gorham's Pond had been considered for awhile but one of the issues for the delay was finding the space to set up the necessary equipment. Windels explained that there is equipment available that can sort and dry material by grain size as it is brought out of the pond.
Using proper equipment has several benefits including the ability to sell some of the material that is clean and dry. Also, the more material that is designated as not being an environmental hazard means fewer truck loads of material that would have to be disposed of at another location. Windels estimated that having to dispose of less material could save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Dredging Gorham's Pond also presents additional environmental benefits in the form of increased wildlife in the area.
"I was told that there are about 10 times the number of fish in the pond," Windels said. "People have also seen river otters which hadn't been seen before in almost 40 years."
If Gorham's Pond is dredged to remove any remaining road sand and sediment, Windels said that Noroton Harbor would require fewer dredgings in the future as a result.
Windels, who has personally dredged about 60 ponds, said he estimates that every pond needs to be dredged every eight to 10 years in order to remove sediment that has built up in the water.