For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Pomfret, Vermont – The Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC), formerly Connecticut River Watershed Council, today announced that they have received $150,000 from the State of Vermont’s Ecosystem Restoration Grant to help fund the removal of the old dam on the Passumpsic River in East Burke, VT.
This funding, which is part of Vermont’s new Clean Water Initiative Program, will serve to re-establish the natural conditions of the East Branch of the Passumpsic River, serving the dual purpose of protecting the State’s water quality and supporting the goal to protect and restore the Passumpsic River and its tributaries.
CRC is working with the dam owner (the Passumpsic Valley Land Trust), the Burke Conservation Commission, Vermont DEC, Vermont ANR, Vermont Fish & Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northwoods Stewardship Center, the MadDog chapter of Trout Unlimited, and other project partners. “This grant will help pay for removal of the old dam, opening 99 miles of stream for trout and other aquatic organisms,” said Ron Rhodes, the project manager and CRC River Steward. “Removing the old dam also will lower flood elevations in downtown East Burke, improve water quality and sediment transport downstream, and improve recreational access for swimmers, boaters and fishers.”
CRC and partners held several informational meetings with local business owners and residents, gathering input on the proposed project. Several of the suggestions made during these discussions ave helped shape the final engineering design plans from Milone and MacBroom of Waterbury, VT.
“The East Burke Dam, similar to other old dams, causes significant impacts to riverine health, is subject to ice jams and heightens flood hazards,” adds Marli Rupe, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Clean Water Initiative Program Assistant Manager. “The East Burke Dam has deteriorated to a point where these impacts now outweigh its usefulness. Removal of the East Burke dam has been identified as a high priority project in basin and river corridor plans. We are happy to support the community and partners in restoring this portion of the Passumpsic River.”
CRC has received additional funding for this project from the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. CRC, which issued a RFP to local contractors for bids, has set a tentative start date of October 10, 2017 in order to avoid any conflicts with summer recreational activities in town.
Since 1952, the Connecticut River Conservancy has been the voice for the Connecticut River watershed, from source to sea. We collaborate with partners across four states to protect and advocate for your rivers and educate and engage communities. We bring 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, visit www.ctriver.org.
Ron Rhodes, River Steward
Connecticut River Conservancy, formerly Connecticut River Watershed Council
P.O. Box 94, South Pomfret, VT 05067 (802) 457-6114