Aug 29, 2023

Here's why parts of Connecticut River may turn bright red

Parts of the Connecticut River may soon be turning bright red, but the New England District for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the unusual sight won’t be any cause for concern.

The Engineer Research and Development Center will be applying a tracer dye known as rhodamine WT starting Monday and through Sept. 15, and will monitor the red dye over the next few months “to better understand water exchange dynamics as part of a research project,” the USACE said in a statement.

The dye — which officials said has been safely used for decades and has no significant effects on aquatic organisms — will help researchers better understand and control the invasive aquatic plant hydrilla that is spreading throughout the lower Connecticut River and its tributaries. The project is being done in collaboration with the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

The four sites where the dye will be applied include Keeney Cove in Glastonbury; Chapman Pond in East Haddam; Chester Boat Basin in Chester; and Selden Cove in Lyme. Alternate sites that may be used include the Mattabesset River in Middletown; Portland Boat Works in Portland; and a site in Deep River.

The research gathered over the next few months is expected to contribute to a plan by the USACE and ERDC for treatments in the Connecticut River next summer to control and eradicate hydrilla.

Sign up for email newsletters