Londonderry, VT – To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) is pleased to announce it will remove an old dam on Thompsonburg Brook in Londonderry, VT this summer. The dam removal will open five miles of stream habitat for native brook trout and other aquatic species. The project is a joint effort between CRC, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department (VFWD), the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), and Magic Mountain (dam owner). CRC recently received a $9,500 grant from VFWD to help fund the removal.
Local economies and local rivers benefit from removing old dams that no longer serve a useful purpose – also known as deadbeat dams. “We’re thrilled that our river restoration work can help boost the local economy during these difficult times,” says Ron Rhodes, CRC’s project manager for this dam removal. CRC hired Vermont engineering firm Dubois & King for project design plans, funded by VFWD & USFWS. Removing dams helps restore natural stream flows, allows sediment to move downstream, reduces water temperatures, improves clean water, and allows for aquatic organism passage. In this case, brook trout that live in the West River can seek refuge in Thompsonburg Brook during warm summer months and use the re-opened habitat for spawning in the fall.
This dam on Thompsonburg Brook appears to have been built in the 1980’s and is about 2.5 miles upstream from the confluence with the West River. The site of this river restoration project is owned by Magic Mountain, just off Route 11 in Londonderry. “Magic Mountain is proud to partner with CRC, USFWS and State of Vermont to enhance the tributary system feeding into the West River which is a great natural resource here in southern Vermont,” noted Geoff Hatheway, President, SKI MAGIC LLC.
Rhodes praised the team effort in making this project happen. “This will be our 13th dam removal since Tropical Storm Irene and every single project requires a willing dam owner and a long list of dedicated partners and contractors to ensure a successful outcome. We are proud of the partnerships we have been able to forge over the past decade that have resulted in nearly 350 miles of stream being restored and opened to fish passage.”
“The VFWD is excited to be part of the team supporting the CRC’s efforts to remove this non-functioning dam on Thompsonburg Brook. This dam blocks upstream access to great habitat for cold-water fish like brook trout,” said Will Eldridge, Aquatic Habitat Biologist, VFWD. Restoring access to this habitat will allow fish and other aquatic organisms to move freely throughout the brook.”
“Each time we remove an old dam, replace a bridge or culvert in the Connecticut River watershed, it has far-reaching benefits to the wildlife and people that depend on it. We are pleased to be a part of the team helping to remove this dam,” according to David Sagan, Private Lands Biologist, USFWS.
The Connecticut River Conservancy collaborates with partners across four states to protect and advocate for your rivers, to educate and engage communities. CRC brings people together to prevent pollution, improve habitat, and promote enjoyment of your river and its tributary streams. Healthy rivers support healthy economies. To learn more about CRC, or to join the effort and help protect our rivers, visit ctriver.org.