Motorists in the Calverton area can expect road closures near the Peconic Lake starting Monday due to planned installation of a new fish passage near Peconic Lake.
The roadway, which connects Forge Road and South River Road, will be closed Monday, Nov. 21 through Wednesday, Nov. 23 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to a press release issued by the Riverhead Town Police Department.
Once completed, the fish passage will connect Peconic Lake to the Peconic River.
The project was identified as a top priority in a 2020 habitat restoration plan published by the Peconic Estuary Partnership. It was also included in a similar plan released in 2009.
“A permanent fish passage structure at the Forge Road Dam will re-open the expansive Peconic Lake to diadromous fish species, restoring 107 acres of critical spawning and maturation habitat,” the report states.
The project is part of an ongoing effort to restore more than 300 acres of habitat in the Peconic estuary to promote habitat, river and stream connectivity and improve biodiversity. Fish passages are being installed in areas that have historically been blocked by the construction of dams that prevented fish from migrating up and downstream, thus preventing access to hundreds of acres of freshwater habitat and spawning areas.
According to the report, the Forge Road dam is located approximately 4.3 miles from the mouth of the Peconic River in Flanders Bay. After installation, the Peconic Estuary Partnership plan notes that it is essential to monitor and count how many fish move up or down stream.
The dam and spillway is owned and operated by the Town of Brookhaven, which has proposed installing an underwater video camera within the fish passage to record and analyze migration data and also install four educational signs at the passage to inform the public about species found in the estuary, what fish passages are and the importance of diadromous species (that migrate between salt and fresh water) in the estuary.
Riverhead Town police officials noted that additional future closures may be necessary.
Questions or concerns may be directed to Brookhaven Town department of planning, environmental protection and land management at 631-451-6400.