Alewife Cove Conservancy

In The News

Alewife Cove Receives $399,865 grant from Long Island Sound Future Fund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               

December 4, 2023                          

New London’s Alewife Cove Restoration Project Selected For Long Island Sound Futures Fund Grant

$399,865 Grant Will Support Studies Ahead Of Eventual Dredging

Today, the Long Island Sound Futures Fund Grant selected the City of New London to receive a grant valued at $399,865 for the Alewife Cove Restoration Project. Local leaders including State Senator Martha Marx (D-New London) applauded the grant award today, knowing that it will benefit the local community’s support and protection of natural wildlife, which will open new recreational opportunities in the surrounding area. The grant funding will help pay for studies of the Alewife Cove watershed in New London to support plans to eventually dredge the area.

“I’m so proud of our community’s environmental advocates who are fighting to improve our region and support local wildlife,” said Sen. Marx. “This grant funding will play a vital role in supporting local efforts to replenish the Cove with new marine life, which will lead to improved recreational opportunities for residents and provide local resources to bolster the long-term strength of our waterways."

"I'm ecstatic, grateful and very hopeful for the future of Alewife Cove," said Ed Lamoureux, the founder and co-chairman of the Alewife Cove Conservancy. "I want to thank Sen. Marx for all the hard work she did to help us get this as well as Michael Passero, mayor of the City of New London, First Selectman Rob Brule of the Town of Waterford and all of the Alewife Cove Conservancy members and friends who have supported our cause to protect, preserve and enhance Alewife Cove over many years. The grant funding will provide the in-depth studies Alewife Cove watershed needs and deserves to move forward to protect its resiliency and viability."

"This grant will help the partnership between the Town of Waterford, City of New London and the Alewife Cove Conservancy begin to realize their shared dream to revitalize this spectacular natural asset that is so loved by generations of our people," said New London Mayor Michael Passero.


"The Town of Waterford enthusiastically supports these efforts by the Alewife Cove Conservancy and the Long Island Sound Futures Grant Program to make the Alewife Cove Restoration Project possible," said Waterford First Selectman Robert Brule. "Alewife Cove is a precious natural resource which doesn’t separate New London and Waterford…it connects us! Both communities will greatly benefit from this project by affording recreational opportunities and enhanced water quality in the Cove."

The Alewife Cove Restoration Project and Alewife Cove Conservancy are working to restore the cove’s vibrancy, specifically supporting its natural population of alewife fish. The project’s long-term goal is to remove a small dam and dredge the cove, which will bring life back to the region and benefit local beauty as well as local recreation like kayaking and fishing. By studying the area, dredging work will be able to occur in the future, supporting the eventual completion of this work.

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Grants announced to protect, restore Long Island Sound!

December 04, 2023 7:42 pm • Last Updated: December 04, 2023 7:58 pm

By Kimberly Drelich, Day Staff Writer

Federal grants announced Monday to protect Long Island Sound will benefit the restoration of Alewife Cove, the development of an educational display about plastic pollution, a study of flooding at Five Corners in the City of Groton, a project focused on permeable pavement in Groton, and the education of local students.

A total of $12 million from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund program, along with $8 million in matching funds, will benefit 39 projects in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Mark Tedesco, the director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Long Island Sound Office, said during the webinar announcement on Monday that the projects, which incorporate climate resiliency and environmental justice, represent diverse approaches to improve the Sound and communities.

An approximately $399,900 federal grant was announced for the development of a restoration plan for Alewife Cove. Joe Lanzafame, New London’s public utilities director, said the goal is to improve the environmental standing of the cove. New London, Waterford, and the Alewife Cove Conservancy are expected to contribute a total of about $126,700 in matching funds.

Edward Lamoureux, the founder and co-chair of the Alewife Cove Conservancy who grew up in, on and around Alewife Cove, was elated by the news. He said the natural border between New London and Waterford is used for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, science, education and art, and is an estuary where alewife fish return for their natural spawning grounds.

The Town of Groton received two grants. Megan Granato, the town’s sustainability and resilience manager, said it’s exciting to see the investment in Groton and southeastern Connecticut.

A $190,000 grant will benefit a project to identify the best sites for permeable pavement, which can help reduce runoff and flood risk and improve water quality, and to work on designs for three priority projects, Granato said. That information then will be shared with others in the region.

Granato said the town plans to contribute $56,000 in staff time. In addition, $52,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds will be used to purchase the equipment to maintain permeable pavement. The town will partner with the Center for Land Use Education and Research at the University of Connecticut and hire a consultant.

A $150,000 grant will benefit a partnership between the town and The Nature Conservancy to look at ways to improve a road-stream crossing at Haley Brook in terms of both fish passage and climate resilience, said Granato. A $51,300 match will be evenly split between the town and The Nature Conservancy staff time.

The Nature Conservancy was awarded a $361,100 grant, requested by the City of Groton, to fund a hydrologic assessment of the Five Corners neighborhood, a project identified as the first recommendation of the city’s Community Resilience Plan, said Cierra Patrick, the city’s economic development manager. The $236,600 in matching funds will come from cash donations from The Nature Conservancy and in-kind support from the city.

City of Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick said that during heavy rainstorms, the city gets flooding at the Five Corners area and down to Electric Boat, so the city wants a study of the source and potential solutions, such as rain gardens, bioswales, new stormwater drains, or other measures.

Mystic Aquarium will receive a $118,000 grant, which will require $151,200 in matching funds, to create “an educational display with Public Art for Racial Justice about the problem of plastic pollution,” along with other outreach and education efforts to prevent marine debris, according to the Long Island Sound Futures Fund project document.

A $59,500 grant, plus $15,500 in matching funds, will benefit the Connecticut Invention Convention’s educational program for 750 students in grades 5 through 9 to develop solutions to improve Long Island Sound in under-served communities, including Norwich, New London and Groton, the document states.

A $198,700 grant, which will require a $49,700 match, was awarded for the University of Connecticut to work with the community on plans to restore habitat at Bluff Point State Park in Groton and develop “citizen science and education” strategies, according to LISFF.

The grants include $214,600 for the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, which will require a $90,000 match, to make improvements to a livestock farm in Salem to prevent nitrogen and phosphorous runoff, and $1.3 million for the the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, which will require a $1.06 million match, for the management of waste at Valley View Farm in North Stonington to reduce nitrogen in the Sound, according to LISFF.

Grants were awarded to the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County to locate lobster traps in New York and Connecticut and to the American Farmland Trust for soil health management plans for farms in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, according to a project list.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said the funding for Long Island Sound has grown over the years and pointed out that if investments aren’t made now, projects will only become much more difficult and expensive in the future. He said one of “the big unsolved projects” is improving access to the Sound, which he called a crisis in Connecticut.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, co-chair of the Long Island Sound Caucus, complimented the Long Island Sound Futures Fund’s vision in recognizing not only the many coastal projects that need to be consistently funded, but also the importance of bringing in the agriculture sector as a partner.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation manages the Long Island Sound Futures Fund and collaborates with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Long Island Sound Study, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative, according to the foundation.

The Zoetis Foundation contributed additional funding.

What's Going On:  Alewife Cove getting a lot of love thanks to Lamoureux, Perch

From left, New London Mayor Michael Passero, Alewife Cove Conservancy board Co-Chairman Chris Clouet, Jack Perch, with mother Anna Perch, and conservancy co-founder Edward Lamoureux react to a standing ovation from a crowd of more than 400 at the Port N’ Starboard restaurant at Ocean Beach Park on Nov. 11. Jack Perch received the conservancy’s Outstanding Citizen Award for inspiring a vigil at Ocean Beach after teenagers there attacked a snowy egret. Photo by Lee Howard

November 16, 2023 8:46 pm • Last Updated: November 16, 2023 8:46 pm

By Lee Howard

Business Editor - The Day

The most touching moment in a fantastic fundraiser last weekend at Ocean Beach Park for the Alewife Cove Conservancy occurred when co-founder Ed Lamoureux presented young Jack Perch with the group’s first-ever Outstanding Citizen Award.

Perch, you may remember, was the 8-year-old kid who inspired a vigil at Ocean Beach last summer after two teens from Glastonbury attacked a snowy egret near Alewife Cove, most likely killing it, though the bird was never recovered. The young men were accused of throwing rocks at the endangered species, tackling it and holding it by the neck.

Jack couldn’t abide the violence, telling his mother Annah Perch, who once led the New London Main Street organization and now is the development manager for the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, that he believed the principle of treating others the way you want to be treated should apply to animals, too.

“Those animals are like friends. The Golden Rule is for nature, too,” he said.

Lamoureux said those words should be taken seriously, and he wanted to honor Jack Perch’s kindness and consideration for nature. Not only did Jack receive a framed certificate honoring his work on the vigil, but Perkins & Murphy College Admissions Consultants run by Betsy and Tim Murphy in New London gave him a new laptop.

Thanks to Lamoureux’s good energy, the all-volunteer Alewife Cove Conservancy has been making headway in raising awareness of and funding for this beautiful waterway that once was teeming with alewife, a small fish that grows only a bit more than a foot long. The goal is to remove a small dam and dredge the cove, which divides New London and Waterford, to allow the waterway to return to its previous vibrancy, enhancing an area long known for kayaking and fishing.

The more than 400 people who showed up Nov. 11 for the conservancy’s annual fundraiser at Ocean Beach’s Port ‘N Starboard sure helped the cause, though it will take government funding and approval to get the work done. But if anyone can push it through, Lamoureux would be the guy to do it.

“In government, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and there's no more squeaky a wheel than Ed Lamoureux,“ New London Mayor Mike Passero told the crowd. ”We need grants. Our cove has to be dredged. We’ve got to take care of our greatest asset.”

But both Lamoureux and Passero admitted Waterford and New London are reliant on government action.

“We will not get it done unless we work together and we get the political powers that be in Hartford to get DEEP to know that this estuary is incredibly, incredibly important to preserve,” Passero said. “And we'll get there, we'll get it done, I promise you, we will.”

Passero pointed to the many former lifeguards and captains of the lifeguards in the crowd last weekend, and he recalled the time when they all referred to Alewife Cove as “the creek.”

“It's just great to join partnership with the town of Waterford on a matter like this,” he said, pointing out that Waterford First Selectman Rob Brule had planned to be at the fundraiser as well until a family emergency arose.

Alewife Cove includes a tidal creek and marshland habitat where kids love to wade in the summer, marveling at hermit crabs, soaring birds and small fish. To one side is busy Ocean Beach, with a wide range of activities from volleyball courts to restaurants and bars to a waterslide, and on the other is Waterford Town Beach, where swimming, sunbathing and fishing is the norm.

The cove area is home to great blue herons, ospreys, striped bass and the occasional eagle. I once spotted a horseshoe crab there, but haven’t seen one in years now.

The alewife fish live in ocean waters until spring, when they return to spawn in freshwater habitats like our local cove. Alewife used to be plentiful in the cove, but in recent years, particularly after Hurricane Sandy, their numbers were been cut drastically as shallow water and obstructions along the way made spawning more difficult.

Recognizing the problem, Alewife Cove Conservancy got its start as a nonprofit just seven years ago with hopes of making the restoration of alewife a priority for local politicians, and a lot of them attended last weekend’s event. The nonprofit will hear in the next few days about a key grant it hopes to receive from the Long Island Futures Fund that will pay for studies required of the watershed to support plans for dredging.

The conservancy also supports school and community programs that use the cove for scientific research, and next spring it is planning a plein air art event to invite accomplished artists to paint the cove.

In addition, Lamoureux told me Thursday that the event, which raised about $15,000, will help fund two scholarships a year, one for Waterford and one for New London, to help budding environmental scientists to further their education.

“People love the cove,” he said. “We have great momentum, we’re really taking off.”

Lee Howard is The Day’s business editor. Reach him with story ideas and comments at

By By CHRIS ALLAN, Special to the Times

Benefit bash Nov. 11 at Ocean Beach supports the cause

Alewife Cove is a naturally shallow estuary on Long Island Sound between Waterford and New London. It contains a tidal creek and marsh habitats separated from Long Island Sound by a barrier beach and dunes associated with Waterford Town Beach.

It is home to a great variety of wildlife such as ospreys, egrets, eagles, great blue herons and striped bass. The cove is a popular destination for fishing, kayaking, bird-watching, hiking, plein-air painting and photography.

The cove gets its name from the Alewife herring. As adults, these fish reside in the ocean waters, until springtime when they return to their native freshwater and estuarine environments to spawn.

Historically they were a plentiful food source in the cove for humans, other predatory fish, and several bird species. Their populations all over the Northeast have plummeted in recent decades due loss of habitat and obstructions, such as dams, to upstream spawning areas.

The Alewife Cove Conservancy, established in 2016, is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to the conservation, preservation and restoration of Alewife Cove. The conservancy promotes and supports citizen-science and youth and community actions to understand and design solutions for the complex challenges facing Alewife Cove.

The conservancy supports educational opportunities for regional students to understand and appreciate the cove and its interrelated ecosystems. As an example, New England Science and Sailing and Waterford High School regularly bring local students from public schools to participate in educational and recreational activities. NESS is particularly proud of their efforts to provide access to the waterway for underserved students.

The upper portions of the cove are impacted by accumulation of sediments and organic matter. Impacts to tidal flow and decreased water depths in the lower portion of the cove have resulted from deposition of sand within the tidal creek from large storms, especially Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Shallow water conditions within the cove interfere with and restrict recreational kayaking.

The accumulation of organic material, shallow waters, coupled with poor tidal exchange results in the release of nitrogen, increased algae growth, reduction of dissolved oxygen, obnoxious odors and elimination of bottom dwelling organisms such as clams and oysters.

In 1987, the Town of Waterford was granted permission by the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the lower portion of the cove and to construct a jetty at the cove entrance to improve the exchange of tidal waters and improve habitat conditions. Post-dredge studies conducted in 1989 and 1991 by the University of New Haven and UCONN’s Avery Point Department of Marine Sciences showed improved habitat conditions for bottom dwelling organisms.

It is the hope of the Alewife Cove Conservancy that similar restoration efforts can be accomplished in the near future, dependent on additional field research and the availability of grant moneys.

The Alewife Cove Conservancy is actively seeking grant moneys to perform detailed studies of the cove to evaluate options to improve habitat and to restore tidal flow in the cove. Details studies, including water depth surveys, tidal flow and sediment transport studies, identification of organisms living in or on cove sediments, and sediment sampling and characterization are needed to evaluate available options. These include dredging to improve habitat conditions and to support applications to regulatory agencies for permitted activities.

As conservancy co-chairman, Ed Lamoureux recently had the opportunity to assist “Explore New England,” along with kayaking guru and The Day’s outdoor columnist Steve Fagin in an exploration and filming of Alewife Cove for an upcoming television episode.

Coming up on Nov. 11 is the 3rd annual ACC Benefit Bash. The event will be held at Port ‘N Starboard on the beautiful Ocean Beach boardwalk. The event includes live music, food, auctions, raffles and a cash bar. Tickets are available on the Alewife Conservancy website, or at the door.

Chris Allan is a board member of the Alewife Conservancy. Your Turn is a chance for readers to share stories, opinions and photos. To contribute, email

November 02, 2023:  The Hidden Splendor of Alewife Cove

November 02, 2023 10:11 pm • Last Updated: November 02, 2023 10:11 pm

By Richard Kaufman

Nature Blogger - The Day

A brisk, south breeze swept the shoreline as Tom Richardson and I paddled kayaks up a secluded cove one sunny morning last week.

A few yards ahead, a lone egret, gleaming white against an azure sky, sprang from a rock and winged away noiselessly. Maples, just turning crimson in autumn amid amber oaks and golden birches, crowned a distant hill.

Aside from rustling reeds and gurgling currents swirled by the tide, silence reigned.

“Hard to believe we’re only a few miles from a busy city,” I remarked.

“That’s what makes this so special. A beautiful place,” Tom agreed.

We were kayaking up Alewife Cove, a Long Island Sound estuary that forms a border between New London and Waterford.

Tom – executive producer and host of Explore New England, a Boston-based multi-media company – was making his first foray up the narrow, serpentine waterway. He was in New London last week to prepare a show about the Whaling City that will air next month, and he invited me to accompany him on a kayak voyage on the cove.

The program will showcase other city attractions, including the Connecticut College Arboretum, Waterfront Park, Ledge Light, fishing on the sound, and the Black Heritage Trail, which highlights 15 sites of local and national historic significance.

“It will be a cool way to look at New London,” said Rich Martin, chairman of the New London Cultural District Commission and owner of Telegraph Records. Rich, a former manager of Hygienic Art, has long been involved with the city’s art scene.

The Cultural District Commission contracted with Explore New England to produce the program, tentatively scheduled for broadcast several times on the New England Sports Network (NESN), beginning in mid-December. The show also will be posted on YouTube and available on Explore New England’s website,

No one is more thrilled about the upcoming program than Ed Lamoureux, founder and co-chairman of the Alewife Cove Conservancy, a volunteer organization that has been working for a decade to restore, protect and improve the waterway.

“It’s been a labor of love,” he told me. Ed, who supplied a tandem kayak for use by the film crew last week, also was interviewed for the program.

The conservancy has long been involved with a project by Save the Sound to remove a dam on Fenger Brook, which forms the headwaters of Alewife Cove. The privately owned dam is located near condominiums on Niles Hill Road in Waterford. Dismantling it would enable alewife, a type of herring that is an important food source for larger fish, to return to breeding waters farther upstream.

“Before the dam was built, you could walk across the cove on their backs,” Ed said.

The conservancy also is hoping to arrange for renewed dredging of the cove, which was heavily silted by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Tom and I were on a tight schedule because much of Alewife Cove is too shallow to navigate at low tide. Therefore, we launched shortly after high tide, just west of the pavilion at Ocean Beach Park, and began paddling north.

“Beautiful!” Tom exclaimed, gazing at pristine marshes surrounding the cove’s crystal-clear water. We pushed against a tidal current for half a mile or so – the cove extends less than a mile – before turning around and returning to the beach access, so videographer Halsey Fulton could record additional video using a drone.

Halsey, whose company, Fish Hawk Films, is based in Newport, maneuvered the airborne camera remotely from shore, letting it hover high overhead as well as bringing it only a few feet above the water.

After paddling up the cove against the tidal current, Tom and I then turned around and rocketed with the ebb, through the narrow, riprap-lined mouth at Long Island Sound.

“Wow!” Tom shouted, as we shot through the gap and gazed at the resplendent view of Ledge Light, Fishers Island and Orient Point. It was a Chamber of Commerce-type day, the water sparkling in bright sunshine.

The breeze and tide kicked up chop as we paddled around a trio of rocky islands known locally as The Three Sisters. From this vantage point a few hundred yards offshore, we could see Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, as well as the gently curved arc of Ocean Beach in New London.

“Doesn’t get any better than this,” I said.

“Look! ‘Albies are jumping!’” Tom exclaimed, referring to a school of false albacore fish.

All in all, it was a spectacular morning on the water. As its name suggests, Alewife Cove is a protected inlet, making it ideal for family outings and school groups, including the Stonington-based New England Science & Sailing Foundation, which organizes summer programs for youngsters on its water and along the shore. Venturing out into the sound is a bonus.

There also is a well-marked nature trail and viewing platform overlooking the cove, easily accessible from the southwest end of the Ocean Beach parking lot, near the water slide.

The conservancy, which for years has staged a Fourth of July kayak regatta on the cove, also is hosting its annual Benefit Bash,” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Ocean Beach’s Port N Starboard Banquet & Conference Center.

Ticket information is posted on the organization’s website,

August 11, 2023:  5 Nonprofits To Get Behind In The New London Area

August 11, 2023 9:03 am 

By Richard Kaufman

Patch Staff

NEW LONDON, CT — Nonprofit groups are keystone community organizations in the New London area. Fortunately, there is no shortage of organizations to volunteer or get behind financially, and that need your help.

Here are five outstanding nonprofit groups you should know about in the New London area:

August 04, 2023:  Judge appoints animal advocate in case of abused egret in New London

August 04, 2023 7:06 pm • Last Updated: August 04, 2023 7:39 pm

By Greg Smith

Day Staff Writer

New London ― The animal cruelty case against two Glastonbury teens charged with maiming a federally-protected species of egret at Ocean Beach Park is getting increased scrutiny in the form of court-appointed animal advocates.

New London Superior Court Judge Patrick Caruso last week approved the appointment of legal advocates from the University of Connecticut School of Law who are expected to observe and make recommendations on the outcome of the case.

UConn School of Law professor Jessica Rubin said with the historically high rate of animal cruelty cases dismissed or not prosecuted, advocates will give the case the attention it deserves.

“Sometimes that’s what it takes to shine a light on how a case is progressing,” Rubin said.

Rubin, an expert in animal law, was instrumental in the creation of what is known as Desmond’s Law, a statute passed by the state legislature in 2016 in light of the low conviction rates in animal cruelty cases. Between 2006 and 2016, 80% of the 3,723 animal cruelty cases were either dismissed or not prosecuted.

The state statute, named after an abused dog who was killed in 2012 and whose killer was able to avoid any prison time, was the first of its kind in the country at the time. It passed with the advocacy from former state representative Diana Urban, who represented Stonington and North Stonington, and pointed to the strong link between those who abuse animals and commit domestic violence.

Since its passage, supervised law students or lawyers working for free have been showing up at a host of animal cruelty cases, most involving cats and dogs. Advocates can provide legal research and recommendations on use of diversionary programs.

Rubin said this case was interesting because it raises issues at the intersection of criminal law and environmental protection. It should prove to be a good learning tool for UConn’s Animal Law Clinic students, she said.

“It will be interesting to see how the state proceeds,” she said.

The two 18-year-old men are charged in the July 3 attack, Parker Wallace and Benjamin Pavano of Glastonbury, each made initial court appearances but have yet to enter pleas. They are charged with felony animal cruelty, or the malicious maiming, torturing or killing of an animal, a class D felony.

A police report obtained this week through a Freedom of Information request by The Day, shows the two were identified as the suspects who threw rocks at and attacked an egret near Alewife Cove at Ocean Beach Park.

Police said witnesses identified two men, one in red shorts and another in pink shorts, who were among a group of five “sitting on the New London side of the creek shouting and drinking alcohol,” police said.

One witness told police he saw the two men throw rocks at an egret. Both the snowy egret and great egret - it is unclear which species the injured bird was - are listed as a threatened species by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

“One of the suspects then grabbed the bird and the other boy joined ‘rough housing’ it. (The witness) then stated that one of the boys grabbed the bird by its neck and could hear them shout ‘get it, get it,” the police report states.

When a witness ran towards the two men, police said the two men started to walk away and said “we just wanted to pet the bird.” The two men then started to run and the witnessed informed the Ocean Beach lifeguards, who contacted police and sought out the men to kick them off the beach.

One witness joined lifeguards to chase one of men into the parking lot.

Police said lifeguards found the injured bird which was attempting to flap its wings and stand up but kept “flopping over,” and could not straighten its neck.

“I also observed it attempt to stand up, then fall down. The egret was able to hop onto the marsh, but fell several more times,” New London Police Officer Christina Nocita wrote in her report.

Police, at an unidentified home near Ocean Beach Park, were speaking with Pavano and another man identifeid as “suspect #2” in police reports. Wallace told officers it was him and not the man identified as “suspect #2” who had injured the bird. Wallace told officers he had switched shorts with “suspect #2.”

“Suspect #2,” despite initially being identified by a witness as one of the culprits, was eventually released after Wallace provided a statement confessing that he and Pavano “chased some seagulls into the water” until they were yelled at by a witness.

The egret was never found despite a search by neighbors, lifeguards and DEEP representatives.

Last week’s court appearances were attended by UConn teaching fellow Tara Cooley and Alewife Cove Conservancy founder and co-chairman Edward Lamoureux.

Lamoureux said he was at court to represent the non-profit group which is “dedicated to the protection, preservation and enhancement of Alewife Cove and all the wildlife in and around it.“

“Everybody in the Alewife Cove Conservancy and the community was extremely disturbed and distraught over this very unfortunate incident,” he said. ”It really touched a lot of people’s heartstrings.“

Updated: Feb 10, 2023 at 05:42 PM

State legislation introduced in January proposes providing a grant to the Alewife cove Conservancy to restore and dredge the cove after it was damaged from Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

January 14, 2022:  The Nature Conservancy celebrates the establishment of Connecticut’s first National Estuarine Research Reserve

Published January 14. 2022 7:24PM | Updated January 14. 2022 7:36PM

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Friday announced the establishment of a new National Estuarine Research Reserve along the southeastern coast, the first in Connecticut.

The program is designed to protect and study estuaries and their surrounding wetlands — unique ecosystems that exist in the places where rivers meet the sea. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a partnership between NOAA and coastal states. NOAA provides guidance and funding, while state departments or universities work with local partners to manage the sites.

Located along the southeastern coast of the state, the newly announced reserve spans the lower Connecticut River, the lower Thames River, most of the Connecticut waters of eastern Long Island Sound and western Fishers Island Sound. It also encompasses state-owned land in Groton, Lyme and Old Lyme. The boundaries of the Connecticut NERR also include traditional lands of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Mohegan Tribe, Western Nehântick Tribal Nation, Hammonasset Tribe, Wappinger Tribe and Wangunks Tribe.

The Connecticut NERR encompasses a total of 52,160 acres and a range of ecosystems, including coastal forests and grasslands, intertidal marshes, beaches and bluffs, rocky reefs and seagrass meadows, including 36% of the vitally important but imperiled Long Island Sound eelgrass ecosystem.

The new reserve is the 30th in the national reserve system.

“Establishing the Connecticut NERR is a critical step toward enhancing the preservation of Connecticut’s coastal and marine habitats, wildlife and heritage,” said Chantal Collier, director of marine systems conservation at The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “The Nature Conservancy is proud to have worked closely with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the University of Connecticut, NOAA and other partners to bring this new level of protection to the Sound that will help us address the challenges facing our estuary and sustain its benefits for local communities.”

“Now, we are turning our attention to supporting effective implementation of the Connecticut NERR Management Plan that was developed by state and local partners," Collier said. "Successful implementation will help ensure that this reserve realizes its environmental, research, and educational potential.”

November 10, 2019:   Waterford group to remove dam to allow alewives to spawn

Published by The Day, November 10, 2019 6:35PM 

By Sten Spinella   Day staff writer

 email:   Twitter: SSpinella927

Waterford — Alewife Cove has been difficult on its namesake fish for decades.

A dam installed in the 1970s that blocks the cove just north of Niles Hill Road prevented access to alewife herring spawning waters. So Edward Lamoureux, co-chairman of the Alewife Cove Conservancy, likes to tell a joke.

"They go out to sea for four years, they return to where they would spawn, they get up there, and the first one up says, 'Dam!'"

The Alewife Cove Conservancy is on the precipice of killing that joke, as it received a $187,282 grant this November from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund to remove the dam.

A news release from the Long Island Sound Study indicates that $2.6 million in grants were awarded to a number of local groups to help improve the health of Long Island Sound. This includes a $50,000-plus grant to the City of Groton to study risks and vulnerabilities to coastal resilience and develop a plan of action for sea-level rise.

Another $15,000 was awarded to the Niantic River Watershed Committee for a social marketing program aimed at reducing or eliminating the use of fertilizer on lawns in the Niantic River watershed in East Lyme and Waterford.

The $187,282 grant awarded to the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and Save the Sound, the two organizations working closely with the  the Alewife Cove Conservancy, requires $128,280 in matching funds from the three groups for a total of $315,562.

"The project will remove a barrier to fish passage, educating and engaging the community and students in project implementation and monitoring at Alewife Cove, New London, Connecticut," the release reads. "It will restore three miles of riverine migratory corridor benefiting alewife, sea lamprey and American eel that migrate between rivers and Long Island Sound." 

In 2018, the LISFF also awarded a $99,987 grant that required matching funds of $100,000 to the three groups to do the planning for the removal of the dam.

At the time, a LISS said the project would provide access to spawning, rearing and refuge habitat for alewife herring, as well as other species.

Lamoureux said the disruption of the alewife herring's ecosystem in the cove was unintentional but damaging. The dam was installed in Fenger Brook at the headwaters to Alewife Cove in the 1970s to create a pond near an apartment complex.

"What it did was, is it stopped the alewife fish migration back up into the freshwater watershed where they come from the ocean to go back to where they spawn," Lamoureux said.

An October column in The Day titled "Bringing alewives back into Alewife Cove" described the issue facing the fish — alewives, once abundant in North America, "are now greatly reduced in number, largely because of habitat loss and extensive dam construction that interfered with spawning migration."

Alewives have historically been consumed by other marine life, birds of prey and human beings. There are still alewives in the cove, but not like they used to be. Lore has it "that during the spawning season, one could walk across streams on the backs of the fish," the ACC's website notes.

Lamoureux hopes the dam removal will revitalize the cove's complex ecosystems. He recalls a time from his youth when alewives, along with blue shell crabs and other animals, were plentiful in the cove.

"I live in Waterford now, but I was born and bred in New London, and I was down in that cove every day as a kid," Lamoureux said. "I was pulling out bushels of blue shell crabs there, I was fishing and swimming, and we all grew up in, on and around the cove."

Lamoureux thinks support from the Town of Waterford and City of New London stems from those memories. An Oct. 12 event organized by the ACC raised $12,000 and was attended by about 325 people, many of whom grew up together and hadn't seen one another in decades.

"This Alewife Cove Conservancy has touched a nerve," Lamoureux said. "We're reaching across the cove and shaking hands and we're coming together."

On the Air

Hear Edward Lamoureux, ACC founder and co-chairman interviewed on the Lee Elci Show regarding ACC's recent Benefit Bash.

The renowned artist returns to New London to paint a new mural of life-sized whales, 30 years after his first New London mural.

View News story on NBC CT30

Connecticut REALTORS® (CTR) is Connecticut's largest professional trade Association.

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from Friday, October 4th discussing our First Annual Endless Summer FUNdraiser!

The 1st Annual Alewife Cove Conservancy Endless Summer FUNdraiser is a huge success!

Published by The Day, October 24. 2019 12:16PM 

The Alewife Cove Conservancy raised about $12,000 on Oct. 12 at Ocean Beach Park as it works to increase awareness about the body of water that runs through New London and Waterford.

The event, co-chaired by Edward Lamoureux and former New London Schools Superintendent Chris Clouet and featuring a performance by the Rivergods, brought about 325 people together to hear about issues involving the cove, including the need to work with state and federal agencies to have the cove studied and dredged.

Money raised will be used for outreach programs, citizen scientists programs, cove clean-up days, mailings, website management, state and federal filing fees, grant writing and other needs.

The newly formed conservancy aims at preserving and revitalizing Alewife Cove by working with Save the Sound to remove the dam on Fenger Brook at the headwaters of the cove on Niles Hill Road. This would, the group says, allow the alewife herring to migrate back into the fresh water to spawn.

The first Alewife Cove Endless Summer Fundraiser was a way to introduce the public to the Alewife Cove Conservancy. Another event is set for Sept. 19, 2020 at Ocean Beach Park.

For more information, visit