Small Dam Removal Program

Eastern brook trout benefit from the colder, more highly oxygenated, cleaner water that results from removing dams from waterways.

Eastern brook trout benefit from the colder, more highly oxygenated, cleaner water resulting from removing dams. Photo: USFWS.

The Watershed Association has embarked on a program to remove small dams from streams around the watershed, to re-connect and restore the function and health of our river system.

By removing small dams (over 115 exist in our watershed!), we:

  • Restore opportunities for fish and other aquatic wildlife to travel longer stream lengths; to pass between streams and the river; and to access habitat, mates, and shelter
  • Improve water quality—reducing pollutant levels, cooling water temperatures, and increasing dissolved oxygen levels
  • Restore natural stream processes, like the distribution of sediments and nutrients along streambeds
  • Restore biodiversity to our streams (let’s support more brook trout!)
  • Reduce the risk of flooding, injury, and property damage

Initially, we are focusing on the potential removal of a couple of small dams on two streams – Ponkapoag Brook in Canton and Mill Brook in Westwood.

We view these potential dam removal projects both as stream restoration opportunities and as experience-builders. The projects will improve fish passage, stream connectivity, and aquatic habitat along these brooks while also enabling us and the communities in which we’ll be working to gain dam removal experience, helping to facilitate future dam removals.

For more information, contact NepRWA Executive Director, Ian Cooke at 781-575-0354 x305 and

June 27, 2013.

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