"The West River tide gate project in urban New Haven is the longer running of the two projects with a start date of July 2009 and an anticipated end date in the summer of 2010. Originally built to protect upstream infrastructure from flooding, these outdated and degrading colonial-era tide gates now protect Memorial Park for the many residents and park visitors. West River’s gates allow water flow in only one direction which creates marsh stagnation, a thriving habitat for invasive grasses, and poor quality water that cannot readily sustain marine life. The NOAA grant will allow construction workers and scientists to replace the existing gates with self-regulating tide gates that will allow water from Long Island Sound to flush the marsh, freshening the habitat, restoring the original ecosystem balance, and allowing fish easier passage to breeding grounds.
"Bride Brook, the second project, is part of Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme. Despite its small size, Bride Brook is a wholly unique marine system that hosts the second largest migration fish run in the state, bested only by the Connecticut River. The Bride Brook project will restore a salt marsh system and spawning ground for alewives and herring by replacing a collapsing and occluded culvert with an open channel and large box culvert that is more hospitable to fish and marsh wildlife. The Bride Brook project is of a larger scope - in addition to the culvert replacement, over 20 acres of dune habitat will be replanted with native vegetation, and a new pedestrian and emergency vehicle passage will allow access to the eastern part of the park."