American Rivers has announced the inclusion of the Farmington River in its annual list of Most Endangered Rivers. Listed at #6 for 2024, the Farmington River has been designated one of America’s most endangered rivers due to the conditions at Rainbow Dam. Rainbow Dam is managed by the Farmington River Power Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker. 

The Farmington River supports diverse fish and wildlife, is a vital source of clean drinking water for the region, and provides boating and other diverse recreation opportunities. The West Branch of the Farmington is a highly regarded trout fishery and the river provides stretches of whitewater, used by individuals including world-class paddlers, and outfitters, further adding to its cultural value as a coveted recreation destination.

But the Rainbow Dam, an outdated hydropower dam near the mouth of the river, is sapping life from the river, blocking fish migration and spurring outbreaks of toxic algae blooms that are harmful to people, pets, and wildlife. This facility, in operation since 1925, is in need of repair and impairing the Farmington River both upstream and downstream. In 2023, Rainbow Dam fishway was declared a failure and shut down due to its inability to provide safe and meaningful upstream fish passage, after decades of attempts.

The power company has an unprecedented opportunity to tap into federal infrastructure funding to fix Clean Water Act violations, eliminate toxic algae blooms, and allow migratory fish populations to flourish again. The Most Endangered River campaign is bringing awareness and visibility to this issue and asking people to take action and encourage Stanley Black and Decker to fix the problems at their facility. 


Rainbow Dam limits migratory fish from access the Farmington River and its tributaries

The Farmington River is the Connecticut River’s longest tributary, and is a crucial part of life to plants, animals, and people alike, all of which depend on it for survival and wellness. Since there are no dams on the Connecticut River downstream of the Farmington River confluence, experts agree, it is critically important for restoring migratory fish access between Long Island Sound and the Upper Farmington River.  Decades of work and continued success to protect and restore the Farmington River–as a world-class cold-water fishery, recreation destination, and potential home for hundreds of thousands of migratory fish–hinges on threats posed by the Rainbow Dam. The company has had well over a century of largely unrestricted use of the Farmington River–it is time for them to demonstrate that it respects the river that they have been exploiting for over a century.

Join us in urging CT DEEP to continue its leadership in river restoration and convince Stanley Black & Decker to act now to put the Farmington River first, ensuring its health and safety for generations to come.

We are asking our members to take the following three actions:

1. Reach out to Stanley Black & Decker leadership and tell them the time has come to repair the dam and stop holding the Farmington River hostage.  Visit to learn more about the conditions at the dam and take action.

2. Send a letter to Commissioner Dykes supporting her staff to force Stanley Black & Decker to abide by the laws of Connecticut and to hold Stanley Black & Decker accountable to the same laws that other dam owners in the state are required to abide by.

3. Support FRWA’s efforts by renewing your membership and donating to our effort.  Act now and your donation will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by a generous donor up to $25,000.  This offer expires on May 30th, so please help us reach our goal now! Donate here!

FRWA advocates for a river that passes migratory fish, that has consistent flows that are safe for anglers, boaters, and wildlife and that doesn’t lead to harmful algae blooms on the reservoir! You can make that happen!



Stanley Black & Decker:

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection:


[option] Rainbow Dam hurts people and kills fish – that’s a bad deal for our river

[option] We’re definitely over the Rainbow (Dam) – it hurts people and kills fish

[option] Stanley Black & Decker has work to do – and there are tools out there to fix the Farmington River


Dear Commissioner Dykes and CEO Allan,

The Rainbow Dam is screwing up the terrific progress we have made protecting and restoring the Farmington River watershed.  Commissioner Dykes you have demonstrated strong leadership in river restoration and environmental stewardship on behalf of Connecticut.  We want you and Stanley Black & Decker to continue being leaders.

The Rainbow Dam – a small, aging and poorly maintained hydropower dam on the Farmington River –  isn’t needed to meet the clean energy goals of Governor Lamont. The Rainbow Dam kills migratory fish, contributes to the regular creation of toxic algae blooms in the Rainbow Reservoir, and blocks the majority of the watershed’s habitat for migratory fish.  Aging and failing turbines only generate at night to avoid overheating.  This facility violates state and federal environmental laws and that needs to change.

I want to see a Farmington River that doesn’t make people sick if they swim or boat in it. I want to see a Farmington River with hundreds of thousands of migratory fish swimming upstream every spring.  Rivers belong to the public and I want my voice heard.

The Farmington River is a widely sought recreation destination for anglers, kayakers, tubers, and more. It provides drinking water for hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents and supports businesses, industry, and the local economy. It is long past time for Stanley Black & Decker to live up to its ideals. The company states: “We’re making a positive impact in various areas such as the environment, health and safety, innovation, sustainability, and community involvement. However, we acknowledge that there is still more work to be done.”  I am holding CEO David Allan to this commitment to continue doing more for the Farmington River, your employees, shareholders and the people of Connecticut.

There is a historic opportunity for Stanley Black & Decker to take advantage of federal funds to support a permanent solution to righting the wrongs that Rainbow Dam has created for decades.  The time to act is now.

Read more about the Farmington River as one of America's Most Endangered Rivers

Long Island Sound River Restoration Network

Valley Press

Hartford Courant

New Britain Herald

Connecticut News 8 WTNH

CT Insider