In the past, the shallow and stagnant Mill Pond was not a good place for marine life. In 1996-97, the City of Norwalk undertook a $500,000 project to improve the aquatic habitat. Funds for the work came from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Long Island Sound Programs.
At the culvert connecting the pond with the harbor, a new tidal gate was installed to let in a refreshing rush of sea water twice a day.
Dredging helped in several ways:
· First, it removed sediment that had been contaminated by previous industrial discharges.
· Second, the pond is now deeper, especially at high tide. Besides providing more water for fish, this helps keep summer water temperatures from getting too warm.
· And, third, peninsulas were built to encourage a cleansing water-flow pattern within the pond.
Improving the tidal flow did more than bring in fresh sea water. Young crabs, clams, marine worms and other animals in their tiny larval stages are carried into the pond on the incoming tide. They now find a more suitable place here to settle and grow, expanding the pond's biodiversity.