The Connecticut River watershed is the largest in New England, flowing through the states of New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The main stem and its tributaries have been heavily modified over the decades in this cradle of the American industrial revolution for power generation, flood control, water withdrawal and other purposes. While these uses of the river are important, the changes in flow that they bring about often have detrimental effects on the natural environment. The negative impacts associated with these human uses may be ameliorated through better management. Hydropower generation, flood control, recreational opportunities, water supply and so on can be continued, but in ways that reduce or minimize the impacts to traditional species and habitats.
In order to better understand the Connecticuts flow regime and identify ways to better manage human uses, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and their partners are developing a basin-wide hydrologic model and decision support tool. The modeling tool will help decision makers and other stakeholders comprehensively understand the positive and negative environmental, economic and social consequences of various management options.
The Connecticut River Ecosystem Restoration Study began in 2008. In 2009, the USACE, TNC, and partners developed the project plan, initiated modeling efforts, and consulted with stakeholders on the current state of the river and how people use it. Efforts in 2010 have focused primarily on developing the operation and optimization models for the watershed.
The study is investigating alternatives to managing flow for the 70 largest dams in the basin with the goal of improving aquatic habitat while maintaining human uses such as flood control, hydropower, water supply and recreation. Operation and optimization models of the basin have been developed. The alternatives analysis will be conducted in 2012.
For more information, please contact the Project Manager, by e-mail or by calling 978-318-8520.
Updated: June 12, 2018