Pomfret, Vermont – The Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) has been notified by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NH DES) that on April 2nd an inspection of Murphy Dam in Pittsburg, NH will result in zero water flow for part of the day. Residents and river users are likely to see a substantial change in the upper river as a result, but dam operations and normal flows should return within the same day. According to New Hampshire Fish & Game (NH F&G) biologists, the overall impact on the river should be slight and negative effects on aquatic organisms are not anticipated.
NH DES will have a dive team inspecting the large gate at the bottom of the dam, and flow thru the gate must be shut off ensure the safety of the divers. The inspection is expected to take less than eight hours, so normal river flows (typically about 200 cubic feet per second this time of year) should resume before the end of Tuesday, April 2. Those interested can watch flows on-line via two websites at http://www.h2oline.com/default.aspx?pg=si&op=335123 (at Murphy Dam) and further downstream at Indian Stream via https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nh/nwis/uv?site_no=01129200.
CRC, NH DES, NH F&G, Great River Hydro, the Connecticut River Joint Commission, and local fishing guides/lodges have been meeting on a regular basis for several years about the dam and its operations. Murphy dam, which impounds the Connecticut River to form Lake Francis, was built in 1940. It is owned and managed by NH DES, which coordinates operations with Great River Hydro in support of the company’s energy generation at six downstream hydroelectric stations.
CRC River Stewards Ron Rhodes and Kathy Urffer will continue their work on this issue, and CRC will publish additional updates on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/connecticutriver/. CRC is a membership based nonprofit working to protect the Connecticut River from source to sea through on-the-ground projects, public education and advocacy. To learn more or to support your rivers visit ctriver.org.