Dams of Middletown — Past & Present

A Jonah Center tour of local dams included the remains of Middletown’s first dam on Pameacha Brook near Sumner Brook. Photo credit: Trevor Davis

MIddletown’s First Dam (Stroud’s Dam) at an earlier, unknown date.

Recently, discussions about the removal of several dams from Middletown waterways have arisen. The primary reasons for dam removal are 1) to allow fish migration 2) to prevent flooding upstream from the dams, and 3) because several dams are in danger of failing.  The dams in question now are along the Sumner Brook watershed and Sawmill Brook (west of Route 91).

Back in 2013, Wesleyan Professor Elise Springer (then a Jonah Center board member) developed a survey and map of Middletown’s dams and their history. A significant factor in Middletown’s development in the 17th and 18th centuries was the availability of water power for grist mills, saw mills, and manufacturing.  View Professor Springer’s website Dams of Middletown, Connecticut — Past and Present Dams.

5 Climate Bills Pass

After several years of virtually no progress on climate-related legislation in the Connecticut General Assembly, we finally have some good news. As of May 2, five bills have passed in the Senate and the House of Representatives and have been signed into law by Governor Lamont.

  • SB 176 doubles the caps on commercial and industrial solar, allowing more rapid deployment of renewable energy. Of all the bills under consideration, SB 176 was the primary focus of the Jonah Center and Ecoin’s Citizen Advocacy program. It supports the goal of decarbonized electricity sector by 2040, a goal included in the state’s Comprehensive Energy Plan and the Integrated Resource Plan. Thank you and congratulations to everyone who sent emails to your legislators. It clearly made a positive difference. SB 176 passed with broad bipartisan support.
  • SB 10 establishes in state law the commitment to achieve a fully decarbonized electrical grid by 2040. This  bill also passed with broad bipartisan support.
  • SB 4 strengthens the Clear Air Act to add incentives and deploy electric vehicles such as school buses and other government vehicles; tightens emission standards for medium and heavy duty trucks that are a major source of air pollution; and adds charging stations to encourage EV deployment. SB 4 was passed by Democrats, along a strict party line vote.
  • HB 5327 authorizes measures for electric distribution companies to deploy electricity storage to support more use of renewables and to increase resiliency of the electrical grid.
  • SB 5200 authorizes a study and pilot project on the generation and use of hydrogen in the state’s energy system.

Here’s how our local State Senators and Representatives voted on these bills.

 

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Paddling Season Approaches

The Jonah Center is looking for paddlers to help save the Floating Meadows (Mattabessset River) in Middletown from invasive water chestnut. This is a fun, satisfying activity — combining paddling, teamwork, enjoying beautiful scenery and wildlife. We are looking for 20-30 volunteer paddlers on each of the 4 Saturday mornings, 9-11 a.m. We launch from and return to the canoe and kayak launch near the Middletown transfer station. (Navigate to 185 Johnson Street.) It’s an activity everyone seems to enjoy! Continue reading

Our Black Bear Neighbors

Bears are a wonderful part of the earth’s community, and they can coexist with humans very nicely. But it is critical that we do not become a source of food for bears. Birdfeeders and unsecured trash containers are tempting to bears and can lead to bears’ presence becoming problematic. Having said that, enjoy this video captured by Tom Humphreys in Portland.