Schumack Construction in the News
Barrier removed from Quinnipiac River in Meriden in last phase of restoration project
By Mary Ellen Godin , Record-Journal staff, Meriden Record Journal
April 2019
Workers removed an obsolete 30-inch water main running across the upper Quinnipiac River Friday, the final phase in a barrier removal project along the river.

The pipe removal followed the demolition of two dams, the Clark Dam in Southington and the Carpenter Dam in Meriden, in 2016. The project is expected to finish in two to three weeks, and will allow migrating fish an unobstructed pathway to return to their historic habitats, and barrier-free boating to kayakers and canoeists.

"It's an inactive water main," said Anna Marshall, an ecological project manager for the Connecticut Fund for the Environment. "For 100 years, it's been blocking flow and sediment and fish migrating upstream. They spawn in freshwater and go out to Long Island Sound."

But the fish couldn't get farther than the base of the dam, or the pipe to access their habitat, thus reducing the variety of wildlife in the area. CLICK TO READ FULL STORY »
Middletown's State-of-the-Art Senior Center Eyes November Opening
By Cassandra Day, Middletown Press, November 2014

Work on the city's new senior and community center transforming the Eckersley Hall building on Durant Terrace into a state-of-the art facility has passed the midway point, with a grand opening slated for Nov. 1.

It's been a years-long effort to move seniors from their cramped location on William Street, abutting senior housing at Sbona Towers. The facility, originally intended as a temporary space 42 years ago, has become restrictive, undersized and inefficient. Its cafeteria doubles as a space for line dancing, bingo, card games, Wii bowling and meetings. Nearby is a small computer room with eight work stations which is also used for storage.

The city's purchase of the St. Sebastian School from the Norwich Diocese in early 2011 for $800,000 set the project in motion. CLICK TO READ FULL STORY »
State Legislators Applaud Ribbon Cutting for Durham's Pickett Lane Culvert
By Jaimie Cura, Durham-Middlefield Patch, November 2014

State senators Len Fasano (R-34) and Ed Meyer (D-12), along with representatives Vincent Candelora (R-86) and Noreen Kokoruda (R-101), applauded the completion of an infrastructure improvement project that will mitigate the flooding of Allyn Brook in Durham. The legislators attended the ceremonial ribbon cutting on Pickett Lane on Thursday, Nov. 20, to celebrate the accomplishment.

The town of Durham was awarded a $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant from the state of Connecticut to repair and expand a culvert at Pickett Lane in July 2013. This is an especially important project to the town because Pickett Lane is the access road serving Coginchaug Regional High School (CRHS) and the Francis Korn Elementary School. CRHS is used for the town's emergency shelter which has been activated several times in recent years servicing hundreds of people from the towns of Durham and Middlefield.

"I am very excited to see this much needed project come to fruition thanks to the hard work of many town officials and First Selectwoman Laura Francis. It's crucial that we protect our local roads from flooding, especially the roads that lead to our schools and emergency shelters. This is a very happy day for Durham," said Sen. Len Fasano (R-34).

"The Pickett Lane Culvert Project has been an ongoing issue for area residents, serving as the main access road to parks, fields, schools and emergency shelter," Rep. Noreen Kokoruda (R-101) said. "I'm pleased at the completion of this project; but also that the state directed this competitive grant funding to our community to improve the public safety of such a highly utilized road."

The total project cost approximately $980,000. The Town of Durham received two other STEAP awards for this project: $200,000 in fiscal year 2010 and $150,000 in fiscal year 2011.

"Thanks to this funding, the Pickett Lane Culvert Project is now complete. Without these grants our small towns would be unable to improve so many important aspects of their communities," Rep. Vincent Candelora (R- 86) said.

"The culvert at Picket Lane is a vital piece of infrastructure that is important to the everyday commute of local schoolchildren, and is even more important in the event of a weather event that would cause Durham to open its emergency shelter at CRHS," said Sen. Ed Meyer (R-12). "With the multiple destructive weather events that have impacted Connecticut in recent years, it has become increasingly critical that roads to the emergency shelter be able to meet the needs of the people of Durham and Middlefield should they be in need of shelter. I am very grateful for the state funding that made this possible, and the people whose hard work completed this project in a timely manner."

The replacement and expansion of the Pickett Lane culvert was recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after significant flooding occurred in 2008, but requests for additional funding made by the town of Durham and its legislative delegation were rejected in 2011 and 2012.

In 2013, redistricting brought a new legislative delegation to Durham that advocated for the much anticipated project. Along with First Selectwoman Francis and the governor's office, the legislators secured the STEAP grant needed to allow CTDEEP and the Army Corps of Engineers finish the project.

"I appreciate the assistance of our entire state delegation for their support of our application," said First Selectwoman Francis. "The STEAP program gives small towns such as Durham the ability to fund improvements to critical infrastructure such as the Pickett Lane culvert."

The Connecticut Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) provides financial assistance for projects that encourage economic development and preserve the character of the state's less populated towns.
The Nature Conservancy Begins Fish Passage Project on Aspetuck River in Westport
By James Miller, Nature Conservancy, September 2014
Work is getting underway on a fish passage project in Westport that will provide access to more than a mile of the Aspetuck River and associated wetlands for migrating alewife, blueback herring and American eel.

A pool-and-weir fishway will be constructed to allow fish to bypass the dam, sometimes called the Newman dam. The fishway, which also will benefit non-migrating resident fish, will incorporate field stone and wooden weirs to create the pools.

"Dam removal and fishway construction allow fish and other aquatic species use of more and better habitat in Connecticut's rivers," said Sally Harold, director of river restoration and fish passage for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

The Aspetuck river dam is jointly owned by Joanne and Melissa Newman and Raphael Elkind.

The Newman family, long known for its support of conservation initiatives in the watershed, is a partner in the project. The fishway construction also is supported by a Newman's Own Foundation grant that supports a larger, multi-project river restoration initiative. In its entirety, the grant-supported initiative also includes work completed this summer by the Conservancy at the Tiley-Pratt dam in Essex and planning work at the Beaver Lake dam in Mill Neck, Long Island.

The three projects additionally are supported by an $85,000 grant award from The National Fish and Wildlife Foundations' Long Island Sound Futures Fund. The Long Island Sound Futures Fund grant required a Conservancy match of almost $60,000, secured through donor support and in-kind contributions.

"Through this work, we are helping rebuild these species' communities and strengthen aquatic food chains. Brook trout and other resident species need cold water, and these projects will provide crucial access to habitat with colder water, even as our climate changes," Harold said.

The Connecticut Department of Energy& Environmental Protection is assisting with the Newman dam fishway.

In addition, the Conservancy is working with the Aspetuck Land Trust to develop and install on the land trust's adjacent Newman Poses Preserve an educational sign describing fish passage and river restoration strategies.

This fishway project builds upon earlier work by The Nature Conservancy in the Aspetuck River.

In 2007, the Conservancy constructed a fishway at a privately-owned dam a short distance downstream of the Newman dam. In 2011, it removed two dams a short distance upstream. The Conservancy also previously worked on fishways on the Saugatuck River downstream from where the Aspetuck River flows into it.

Through those prior projects and the Newman dam fishway, the total amount of reconnected habitat for fish migrating up the Saugatuck and Aspetuck rivers from Long Island Sound will be 9.2 miles.
Plainville Parking Lot To Help Clean Quinnipiac River
Biill Leukhardt, Hartford Courant , August 2014

Porous pavement and other materials added to a new parking lot at Trumbull Park will help keep the nearby Quinnpiac River clean.

The 4,000 square feet of special pavement and two underlayers of crushed rock are expected to help clean 400,000 gallons of storm run-off each year, said Kendall Barbery, green projects coordinator for the Save The Sound program of the Connecticut Fund For The Environment.

"It helps in two ways. It allows runoff from 66,000 square feet of pavement to seep into the ground instead of going directly into the Quinnipiac," she said Monday. "The water is cleaned — we call it "polished" — by passing through the layers of crushed stone. It also helps by getting water into the underground aquifer that otherwise would run into the river without seeping into the ground."

The town council approved the project In March. Town Planner Mark Devoe said the town adopted a low-impact development policy a few years ago that requires runoff filtering systems. "The ground and vegetation take up hydrocarbons and heavy metals. We think it's a good way to go," DeVoe said in March.

The permeable parking lot sections are near the Trumbull Park ballfields. The parking lot work is part of a multistage process by the Connecticut Fund For The Environment to reduce run-off and capture rainwater, clean it and return it to underground water supplies.

Similar work will be done this summer in Wallingford's Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park.

Other work in the project was the installation of nine rain gardens that will capture runoff from a building roof and sink it in the earth to be cleansed and returned to the aquifer.

Money for the work is coming from a settlement in the long-runnig case of groundwater contamination at the Old Southington Landfill during the 1970s. That contaminated area was one of two toxic waste sites in Southington that the federal government designated as Superfund sites; the other was the site of the former Solvents Recovery industrial waste recycling plant.
Fishway at Wallingford dam may be named for early QRWA backer
Russell Blair, Record Journal
February 27, 2012

Harry Olav Haakonsen dedicated his life to fish restoration along Connecticut's many rivers and streams, so former students and colleagues say it's only fitting that the Wallace Dam Fishway be named in honor of the late environmentalist.

"He died before it happened, but this was always his goal," said Mary Mushinsky, executive director of the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association. Haakonsen died in 1995 at the age of 53 after a long battle with cancer. Mushinsky was a student of Haakonsen's when he was a professor of chemistry and director of the Center for the Environment at Southern Connecticut State University, where he taught for 26 years. "He was a very positive guy. He had a very upbeat personality," she said. "Whenever there was an obstacle, he always had a way around it."

The fishway, or fish ladder, consists of several steps that fish can swim and leap up to get past a barrier, in this case the Wallace Dam, on the Quinnipiac River off Quinnipiac Street. For years, volunteers lifted the struggling fish over the dam with nets and buckets so they could go upstream and spawn.

Haakonsen was heavily involved with environmental issues on a local level. He worked with the QRWA during its early years and was a member of the Conservation Commission and the Wallingford Land Trust. "He was very committed to Wallingford," said Steve Gephard, supervising fisheries biologist at the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Gephard worked with Haakonsen in a professional capacity and said he and Haakonsen had collaborated on studies of Atlantic salmon. "I appreciated his assistance to the department," Gephard said. Gephard also praised Haakonsen's ability as a teacher. "There are a number of people who are working for DEEP who are students of his," he said. "There's an unusual success rate among his students in the environmental field." Mushinsky called Haakonsen a "town environmental leader."

"Naming the fishway comes from his long interest in restoring fish," she said. "Unfortunately his illness did not allow him to see his dream come true, but now it's coming true."

Construction of the fishway, which began last October at a cost of about $400,000, is being paid for through grant money. The project should be completed by April.

The Wallace Dam has obstructed diadromous fish passage on the Quinnipiac River for well over 100 years. A fishway has recently been constructed there allowing river herring, shad and other types of fish to pass freely over the dam and reach their native spawning grounds. This video shows the beginnings of the final stage - removing the coffer dam and allowing water to pass through the fishway.

Wallace Dam Fishway partners include Save the Sound, Quinnipiac River Watershed Association, Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, NOAA Restoration Center, Restore America's Estuaries, the Town of Wallingford, Milone & MacBroom, and Schumack Engineered Construction.
Bride Brook Restoration Project
Long Island Sound Study

Bride Brook Restoration Project
Niantic, CT, April 19, 2010 — Today, Congressman Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, joined representatives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Restoration Center (NOAA), U.S. Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, FishAmerica Foundation, Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE), the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and Connecticut Fund for the Environment (CFE) at the dedication of the Bride Brook restoration project at Rocky Neck State Park.

Don Strait, executive director of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, said, “Our partners and the state’s Congressional delegation are truly remarkable. Not only do they recognize that the benefits of a strong and healthy Long Island Sound are vitally important to both the environment and the regional economy, they bring a unique passion and level of education to this community that is inspirational. Finishing this one restoration project is an essential part of reviving a much bigger system, but it also demonstrates what can happen when citizens and government unite for a common purpose, a lesson well timed for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.”

“The completion of the Bride Brook restoration project is a great example of the power that partnerships can have. Agencies and organizations, working together, have accomplished a major victory for restoring this critical habitat,” said Jeff Benoit, president and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries, a national alliance of coastal conservation organizations.

In June 2009, NOAA awarded Save the Sound, a program of CFE, $1.5 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support two marsh restoration projects—the Bride Brook culvert replacement at Rocky Neck and the West River tide gate replacement in New Haven. The NOAA funding, in conjunction with funding already in place from NRCS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, FishAmerica Foundation, CT DEP and RAE, made the Rocky Neck project a reality. Click to read full story >
Work Continues on Senior Center, Ambulance Building, Bradley Corners Bridge
By Jen Matteis
Shore Publishing

Senior Center, Ambulance Building, Bradley Corners Bridge
11/11/2010 - How do you save money working on two different construction sites? One answer is to work on both of them at once. That's the philosophy behind the simultaneous construction of Madison's new senior center and ambulance facility, undertaken as an effort to save money when the project's bids failed to match its estimates.

"When the bids came back, early June, they were all over the board. Some were below what we thought, some were significantly above, which was a surprise," remarked former first selectman Tom Scarpati, the chairman of the senior center building committee. "Since the package of bids came in well above our $5.515 million budget, we had to regroup and make certain modifications.

"We knew we had to eliminate a third of the months of construction in order to be able to put that money back into the design," he said.

The original plan was to complete the senior center before beginning construction on the ambulance facility. However, despite the fact that construction on the senior center began much later than anticipated, both projects should meet their initial completion date of August 2011. The Depot closed early last month to accommodate work on the ambulance facility at the corner of Route 79 and Old Route 79.

"That will permit us to finish both buildings at the same time and within the original schedule," said Scarpati.
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