Pomfret, Vermont – The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) has received a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to help fund 7 dam removal projects that will open 140 miles of cold water tributaries of the Connecticut River. The dam removal projects are focused on restoring river habitats for Eastern brook trout, the state fish in both New Hampshire and Vermont.
“Our river restoration work in Vermont and New Hampshire has focused on fish passage projects that benefit Brook trout and other aquatic species,” notes CRWC Executive Director, Andrew Fisk. “We believe removing old dams that are no longer serving a useful purpose is the best and most cost-effective way to restore the cold water tributaries of the Connecticut River.” CRWC has completed several dam removals in recent years, including two projects on the Wells River in Groton, VT.
“In addition to improving habitat for Brook trout, these dam removal projects have many other benefits for the dam owners, the towns where they are located and for recreational river users,” notes CRWC’s North Country River Steward, Ron Rhodes. “Any time we can remove an old dam, we also lower the flood elevation level and help protect infrastructure from future flooding damage” says Rhodes.
CRWC is working with numerous partners on these 7 dam removals, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, state of Vermont and New Hampshire fisheries and dam safety agencies, local towns, conservation commissions, Trout Unlimited chapters, and of course the dam owners who have given CRWC permission to pursue the projects.
In addition to the $199,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, CRWC also has received grants from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Conservation Alliance, American Rivers, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and local sources of funding to help pay for assessments, engineering design plans, state historic preservation work, and ultimately removal/construction services.
The Connecticut River Watershed Council – which is headquartered in Greenfield, MA and has staff working in all four states (NH, VT, MA & CT) – works to protect and restore our rivers from the source in Pittsburg, NH to the mouth of the Long Island Sound. To learn more about CRWC, or to join the effort and help protect our rivers, visit www.ctriver.org or call 413-772-2020, ext. 201