‘No Fishing’: Gorham’s has new dam and sign Written by Austin Amoroso

Monday, July 14, 2008 The Gorham’s Pond Dam has been a fishing spot in Darien for years. No more. With dam repairs complete, the area around the dam has reopened. But with the reopening has come “No fishing” signs posted by the state.

“The dam has no trespassing for fishing,” Karl Kilduff, town administrative officer, told The Darien Times on Monday.
The state Department of Environmental Protection, according to Kilduff, has stepped in and put a fishing ban within 100 feet of the dam, which includes a newly installed fish ladder.

“The fish ladder was a requirement of the DEP in order to get the permits to repair the tide gates,” Bob Steeger, town Public Works director, said at Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting. “The DEP did not say anything about no fishing when we got the permits.”

But under state statute, when any of the dams that are regulated by the state undergoes repair, the DEP can require a fish ladder on the project.
“We all know the environmental benefits that a fish ladder brings,” First Selectman Evonne Klein said on Monday. “This is a state regulation, not a town regulation.”
The fish ladder allows migrating fish, primarily herring and alewives, to make it upstream to their original breeding grounds.

“It’s to give the fish half a chance,” Kilduff said. “They’re all cued up on a two-foot wide pipe.”
“It is their policy to provide a balance between nature protection and sport fishing,” Kilduff said of the DEP, whose ban only pertains to fishing and crabbing.
Kilduff also said that the state has less of a concern with fishing on the Gorham’s Pond side of the dam.
The problem with the dam first surfaced several years ago when it was found that the dam was leaking, allowing it to pass excessive amounts of water.

In the spring of 2004, residents along the pond noticed that it was losing too much water at low tide.
A diver hired by the town to investigate discovered that the walls of the dam’s sluiceway (the section of the dam where the tide gates are located) had shifted and were leaking badly.

The main problem is its stone walls and flooring, which house the tide gates, are falling apart, causing the dam to leak.
It caused the tidal pond’s water level to be lower than normal, sometimes revealing mud flats.