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Pond Lily is located on the West River in the Amity neighborhood of New Haven, this preserve contains 14-acres of forest, stream, and wetland. Today, the preserve is animated with the activity of fish, birds, and other animals, as well as trails and benches for human visitors, but it was not always so alive. This land was the site of factories for almost two hundred years – and these factories were not always kind to the land.


In 1794, a dam was placed on the West River at what is now the preserve in order to power a grain grinding mill. This dam created a pond on the site that became the namesake of the preserve. A succession of different factories followed this first mill, and when the last factory finally left the site in the late 1970s, the area was highly polluted.

In 1995, the site was cleaned up and donated to the Land Trust in 1996. In 2014, it was decided that the dam on the nature preserve should be removed to allow for migrating fish to swim up the West River to spawning sites upstream of Pond Lily and in order to reduce the flood hazard caused by a potential failure of the dam. This project was supported by Save the Sound and was completed in February 2016.

Check out the videos on the dam removal project below or click here for a complete analysis of the dam removal.