Monday, November 27, 2017

Dam Removals This Fall will Help Fish and Restore Rivers

By Rachel Calabro, Narragansett Riverkeeper

Several dam removals are happening this fall across the Narragansett Bay region. The Bradford dam removal and natural fishway project is a continuation of a process to restore historic fish passage to the Pawcatuck River. This project comes on the heels of the removal of the White Rock dam last year, and previous projects at Shannock, Horseshoe Falls and Kenyon Mill. All together these projects are helping fish to access the state’s largest natural body of fresh water, Worden’s Pond.

Save The Bay has assisted with several dam removal projects in the Taunton River watershed, including on the Mill River in Taunton where two dams have already been removed. The third and final dam on this section of river will be coming out this fall. This dam at the former Reed and Barton silver factory is the key to finally getting fish access to Lake Sabbatia and the Canoe River. Other dams being removed this fall are the Cotton Gin Dam on the Satucket River in East Bridgewater, and the Barstowe’s Pond dam on the Cotley River in East Taunton.

Back here in Rhode Island, Save The Bay has been working on a project in North Kingstown to remove the Shady Lea Mill dam. This dam is upstream from one of the state’s largest fish runs at the Gilbert Stuart Museum. This dam removal will restore a sediment filled impoundment to a natural stream, allowing fish and other wildlife to access this new habitat. The project started last week with the removal of a section of the dam, allowing the impoundment to drain. Crews will be back in July to fully remove the dam after a channel has formed in the impoundment and sediment is stable.

Part of the funding for these dam removal projects has come through the Hurricane Sandy relief fund within the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Other funding for the Shady Lea dam removal came through NOAA and the Rhode Island Coastal Habitat Trust Fund.

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