Connecticut River Coordinator's Office
Northeast Region
Photo of a marsh - Photo credit:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Ryan Hagerty
Photo of a marsh. Credit: Ryan Hagerty, USFWS

Habitat Restoration

Aquatic habitat loss and degradation is one of the key factors contributing to the growing number of threatened and endangered fish and freshwater mussels. Seventy percent of the Nation’s rivers have altered flows, and 50 percent of the waterways fail to meet minimum biological criteria. Fifty-three percent of the Nation’s wetlands are gone. Nationally, 115 species of fish are listed as endangered, including the Connecticut River’s shortnose sturgeon. Almost 72 percent of the freshwater mussels in the United States are endangered, threatened or of special concern. This includes the watershed’s dwarf wedge mussel. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior. Conserving America’s Fisheries: Fisheries Program Vision for the Future. December 2002).

There are environmental and economic benefits to restoring rivers. Wetlands provide a variety of benefits to humans like flood control, pollution reduction and water supply recharge. Recreation on the West Branch of the Farmington River in Connecticut, for example, increases property values and diversifies the local economy. Recreational use generates a $3.63 million annual economic benefit (American Rivers) on that 14 mile stretch of river.

For these reasons, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and many other groups and agencies, are actively working to identify and address obstructions to fish passage, deal with issues and threats related to hydropower relicensing and development of wetlands, and conserve and restore the quantity and quality of aquatic and riparian habitat.

See the Dams Over Time page for a historical demonstration of Connecticut River fragmentation by dams, past to present.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s New England Field Office has experts on staff who work with dam owners to relicense hydropower dams and ensure compliance with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) environmental requirements.


Grants for habitat restoration projects can be obtained from a variety of sources including:



Last updated: February 23, 2016
Connecticut River Coordinator's Office
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