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3 Dams Removed in 2017, restoring more than 120 miles of stream habitat

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3 Dams Removed in 2017, restoring more than 120 miles of stream habitat

December 31st, 2017|

The Connecticut River Conservancy continued our dam removal work in 2017, removing 3 old dams that no logner served a useful purpose.  These removals opened 120 miles of stream from aquatic organism passage, reduced flood elevation levels, and improved water quality.

CRC partnered with the Passumpsic Valley Land Trust to remove the East Burke dam on the East Branch of the Passumpsic River in East Burke, VT. The concrete dam was built in 1931 at the same location as previous timber crib dams (the first was built in 1825). A total of 623 truckloads (or nearly 9,500 cubic yards) of sediment were removed from upstream of the dam, which lowered the flood elevation level in town by 4 feet. With the dam gone, native Brook trout and other aquatic organisms can freely move throughout the entire river system (99 miles). CRC and our project partners will return to East Burke in spring 2018 to plant 2,500 trees and shrubs along the newly shaped riverbank to add additional wildlife habitat and reduce erosion.

East Burke, VT pre and post dam removal

CRC worked with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to remove a small, privately owned dam located on a unnamed tributary to the West River in Dummerston, VT. The dam, built in 1939 to create a swimming hole as part of the estate, blocked fish passage and sediment transport in this small Brook trout stream. Funding for this project was provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, a Watershed grant from Vermont Fish & Wildlife, and a grant from Patagonia.

CRC worked with another private landowner to remove a former small hydro dam on the Ompompanoosuc River in West Fairlee, VT. This dam was originally built in 1983 to generate hydro-electric power for the farm, but only produced electricity for 10 years. Since then, the dam functioned as a blockage to both upstream aquatic organism passage and downstream movement of sediment. By removing the dam we opened 17 miles of habitat, improved water quality and reduced water temperatures.  Funding for this project came from the Upper Connecticut Mitigation and Enhancement Fund, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and a grant from the Conservation Alliance.

In 2018, CRC will continue our restoration work with 3 or 4 more dam removals in both Vermont and New Hampshire.