The Board of Selectmen gave authorization April 16 to sign permit applications for removal of the Merwin Meadows dam on the Norwalk River, also known as the Dana Dam.

The dam was built by Charles Dana so his children could have a skating pond at Merwin Meadows in the winter, according to First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice. Then the property was gifted to the town, which now uses Merwin Meadows as a park.

Removing the dam will allow various species of freshwater fish to spawn, according to Mike Conklin, the town’s environmental director. The pond is now full of sediment and opening it will allow for natural sediment transport, he said.

The Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited is fully supportive of the project, Conklin said. It ties in with a project in Norwalk to remove the Flock Process Dam, also on the Norwalk River.  

The plan is to do the work over the summer, with giant pumps that will divert the water, then other machinery that will scoop out the sediment. Once the Dana Dam is gone, there will be an unimpeded 14-mile stretch of the Norwalk River from Long Island Sound to Georgetown.