Trout Unlimited Seeks Support for Mill River Restoration Project

Helping to restore the Mill River to its former beauty and improve fish habitat.—Ed Grzeda Photo

The Nutmeg Chapter of Trout Unlimited seeks support in helping to restore the Mill River to its former beauty and improve fish habitat. Just 60 minutes from New York City, near Exit 46 of the Merritt Parkway, the Mill River offers one of the best native brook and wild brown trout rivers in the Northeast.

Running along the Easton-Fairfield border, the Mill River offers recreation to residents of both towns. It’s also popular with anglers who want to simply exit the Merritt Parkway, park, and have a line in the water in minutes in a Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) designated Class 1 Wild Trout Management Area.

The problem is that this stretch of the Mill River, once a meandering stream, was straightened when the Merritt Parkway was completed in 1938. Over time, the banks have eroded, invasive plants have taken over and low water has made this area impassable, especially during the summer months.

The section of the Mill River that starts at Exit 46 of the Merritt Parkway and ends where the river crosses under the highway has been a focus for the Nutmeg TU for more than five years through a previous Embrace a Stream grant program. Removing invasive species, planting native trees, and improving the bank structure is only the beginning.

A new Embrace a Stream grant and fundraising will enable Nutmeg TU to attempt to bring this section of the river back to its original structure, providing a vital link between Lake Mohegan downstream and the tailwater flowing out of the Easton Reservoir. The grant and the funds raised will allow Nutmeg TU to create a roadmap for implementing this important work.

“Now we are going to take the next step and provide shelter for the trout by increasing sinuosity and creating deeper holes,” said Rich Rosen, Nutmeg TU president. “The current funding will be used to develop a professional plan so that Trout Unlimited and local community volunteers can make the plan a reality. Community support is critical to earning Embrace a Stream prizes. Any size donation is appreciated.”

Find out more about the Mill River restoration and learn how you can help and make a donation at embraceastream.org.

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