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Seymour's Fish Story

Seymour Falls
Seymour Falls
Janet Serra

Seymour Connecticut stretches out along the banks of the Naugatuck River and is known for its' industrial history. Originally, Seymour was part of Derby, which was the first inland settlement along the Naugatuck River. The great falls of Seymour provided industrial power for one of the countries finest woolen mills started by General David Humphrey’s a friend and aide-de-camp of General George Washington. Seymour was also home to the Waterman Pen Company that eventually became the Bic Pen Company as well as to the New Haven Copper Company that set up a factory in town.

Seymour’s history has always been based on the power of the Naugatuck River and the falls that provided so much power to the early industries of the town. On Sunday, February 2 at 2 p.m., the Seymour Historical Society located on 59 West Street in Seymour is hosting a lecture by Steve Gephard, the supervisor of Inland Fisheries for the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). The topic of discussion is the importance of the Tingue Dam on the Naugatuck River and the fish by pass. Gephard’s goal is to restore migratory runs of fish prior to industrial development along the river without impacting the Tingue Dam.

Today, the Tingue Dam built by General Humphreys is a barrier for fish trying to make their way up the Naugatuck River to spawn; so the State is building a “fish ladder” to help the fish get to prime spawning grounds. The Seymour Historical Society is hosting this program with DEEP on Feb. 2 (snow day Feb. 9) to inform the public of how the fish ladder will work. The ladder or by-pass channel around the Tingue Dam will allow migration of alewives, shad, salmon, blueback herring and brown trout to prime spawning areas on the Naugatuck River in Beacon Falls and Naugatuck to the north of Seymour. It is expected that this bypass will attract more than 20,000 adult shad and more than 30,000 river herring.

The DEEP was awarded with $2.5 million dollars in a competitive NOAA Coastal and Marine Restoration Project Fund to construct the Tingue Fish Bypass on the Naugatuck River.

In addition to the discussion about the fish ladder the new park that is proposed for Seymour will also be discussed. There will be an area that is open to the public that will have kiosks explaining this project, how it works, the habitat of the river and the fish this project helps.