Reconnected: Restoring the Rivers of Long Island Sound

Wildman proudly displaying her award at the International Fish Passage Conference

On May 8, Laura Wildman, director of ecological restoration at Save the Sound, for becoming the first woman to receive the Fish Passage Distinguished Career Award at this year’s International Fish Passage Conference in Quebec City. She was chosen for her expertise in removing dams, rather than for researching or designing fishways – another first. The award, which is one of the biggest in the field of river restoration work, was received by many of Wildman’s mentors before her.

“My passion is restoring ecosystems and there is no better place to do so than in my own backyard, here in Connecticut Valley,” says Wildman. “Migratory fish are an amazing species in the Long Island Sound watershed, and we can make a huge difference by freeing rivers that flow to the Sound.” 

Wildman receiving the Fish Passage Distinguished Career Award

Wildman, alongside other members of the Long Island Sound River Restoration Network (RRN), are featured in the RRN’s first short documentary film, Reconnected: Restoring the Rivers of Long Island Sound. Through interviews with environmental experts, community members, and river advocates, Reconnected highlights the importance of stream barrier removal. 

Wildman being interviewed for Reconnected by Reel Quest Films
Wildman walking alongside the Naugatuck River with Reel Quest Films

“Once the camera was rolling, we were invigorated by the stories being told by engineers, fishermen, and community members,” says Melissa Pappas, former ecological communications specialist at Save the Sound, and a key member in the documentary’s production.  

On May 21, The Nature Conservancy of Connecticut, Save the Sound, and the rest of the RRN invite the public to celebrate World Fish Migration Day with a guided river walk, outdoor activities, and the public premiere of Reconnected—and a look at how local rivers affect us all. 

“The Long Island Sound region spanning Connecticut is a gateway to hundreds of miles of critical freshwater habitat across New England,” says Emily Hadzopulos, freshwater restoration manager for The Nature Conservancy’s Connecticut chapter. Hadzopulos is another member of the RRN featured in the documentary.

“That’s why this is such an important place to celebrate World Fish Migration Day and advocate for free-flowing rivers so that our migratory fish friends can live, breed, and thrive,”  Hadzopulos emphasizes.

“World Fish Migration Day: The Migration Celebration” is Tuesday, May 21 from 3:00 – 7:30 p.m. at the Northwest Park Nature Center, 145 Lang Road, Windsor, CT (near the Farmington River).

Guests are asked to register in advance to attend the film screening – offered in person and virtually.

The event is free, open to the public, and a part of World Fish Migration Day, an international movement dedicated to raising awareness of migratory fish and the roles they play in riverine and marine ecosystems.

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Tuesday, May 21, in Windsor, CT
Celebrate World Fish Migration Day! Join us for a river walk, networking, the premiere screening of “Reconnected: Restoring the Rivers of Long Island Sound,” and a panel discussion with experts and advocates.

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