Thank you to everyone who Joined the Online Public Hearing on September 29th. There were over 70 participants. The final day of evidentiary hearings in the case will be October 19 at 1PM. We will let you know when the DEEP Hearing Officer issues a decision in the case.
Proposed plans to repair and raise the Grupes Reservoir Dam in New Canaan include removing over 400 native trees and shrubs along 1500 feet of riverbank in order to build a series of walls and berms along the eastern riverbank. The First Taxing District of Norwalk water company provides drinking water to Norwalk and a small section of New Canaan from the 4 dams and reservoirs it operates along the Silvermine River. The dams begin at the river’s source in Lewisboro, NY and end at the Grupes Dam along Valley Road, just adjacent to the New Canaan Land Trust’s Browne Wildlife Sanctuary.
NRWA and the New Canaan Land Trust are concerned that the potential negative environmental effects of removing the vegetation from the riverbank and disconnecting the wetlands of Browne Sanctuary from the Silvermine River have not been included for review in the proposed permit application for the work that was submitted to the Dept of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). The dam, built in 1871, is in need of repair. NRWA appreciates the importance of the dam safety issues involved, but argues that a full review of the plan to wall off the eastern bank of the river should be required. We, and many of you, have petitioned to have this public hearing, so that we may make a case for the addition of this review to the application. There are feasible alternative plans that repair the dam, protect the homes below the dam from potential flooding, and spare the riverbank and the beautiful, pristine wetlands that have been protected by the Land Trust since the 1960s.
Pictured here, the banks of the reservoir, an arial view of 1.5 acres of riverbank forest that would be lost under the plan, and one of the native shrubs (wild buttonbush) that will be lost if the current plans are implemented.