Mirror Lake restoration project reduced due to budget constraints

Sunset over Mirror Lake. UConn is currently changing its plans for the lake’s improvement project. Photo by Ryan Glista/UConn Photo

The University of Connecticut is redesigning its project to improve Mirror Lake after budget constraints. 

The original plan was to dredge Mirror Lake; instead, the new plan will only address the immediate flooding and stormwater runoff concerns, according to the University planning, design and construction website.  

A UConn Today article explained the redesigned plan will focus on repairs to the lake’s dam and spillway, which creates flooding hazards during heavy rain, with water occasionally flowing over the banks of the brook. 

In addition, the plan will look at improving stormwater control and water quality associated with nearby South Campus Residence Hall construction and other related infrastructure work, according to UConn Today. 

Stephanie Reitz, university spokesperson, said the lake will only undergo specific flooding repairs due to budget constraints. 

“UConn originally anticipated a comprehensive restoration process, but fiscal constraints required the University to scale it back and focus specifically on repairs and restoration of the dam and floodway,” Reitz said. 

In May, the Board of Trustees approved funding for the redesigned plan, according to UConn Today. 

UConn is working in consultation with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to adhere to Connecticut dam safety regulations. UConn Today said after its 2019 assessment, Mirror Lake was deemed a higher safety hazard than before due to built up sediment, which has reduced the lake’s capacity. Additionally, the lake is visibly murky and shallow due to sediment and stormwater runoff, which impacts water quality. 

Mirror Lake, located across from South campus, is not a natural water body and was turned from a marshy meadow to a human-made lake around 1922. UConn conducts regular maintenance programs to the lake each year, including treatments to combat algae growth, according to UPDC. 

The lake also has two fountains; however, they are currently inoperable because their electrical connection is sourced near the fire-damaged Whitney House, according to UConn Today. 

UPDC said the redesigned project which will help to resolve immediate flooding issues is expected to begin in August 2024 and plan to conclude in about a year. 

The original proposed plan, which included dredging and improvements to aquatic systems and landscape improvements that would improve access to the water’s edge, will be revisited once budget funding is available. 

More information about the Mirror Lake improvements and the restoration project can be found on the UPDC website. 


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