North Branch of the Hoosic River Restoration through Dam Removal
Project #: 1754 – Updated: January 17, 2011
American Rivers and a diversity of committed partners seek to restore multiple aquatic species, including two state listed species in the North Branch of the Hoosic River's headwaters through removal of the Briggsville Dam in Clarksburg, Massachusetts. The project directly supports the state's Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy.view full description
Location (by county):
Berkshire County (MA)
MA District 01
Bird Conservation Regions:
Atlantic Northern Forest
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Full Project Description
American Rivers and a diversity of committed partners seek to restore multiple aquatic species, including two state listed species in the North Branch of the Hoosic River's headwaters through removal of the Briggsville Dam in Clarksburg, Massachusetts. The project directly supports the state's Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy.
Project Assistance & Partnership Opportunities
Permitting is currently in process.
We are revising the final design now. When completed, we will know our specific dollar need for construction.
Goals and Targets
- Public Benefit
- Conservation Mission
- Complete dam removal in a timely manner.
We are on schedule to construct the Briggsville Dam removal in late summer 2009. Our engineering consultant, Fuss & O’Neill, is currently completing final design plans based on extensive review by the project partners. We have begun the permitting process based on their preliminary design plans for a number of required permits, including the MA Environmental Policy Act review, MA Endangered Species Act review, and MA Chapter 91 Public Waterfront Act review. Once the final design is completed, we will submit the remaining permit applications for the MA Wetlands Protection Act, Dam Safety permit, and federal Army Corps permit.
- Provide education and outreach throughout the project.
The project has continued to receive positive press. In addition, we are planning a final public hearing on the project this Spring, once the final design is completed.
- Protect surrounding infrastructure.
Because of concerns about stability of an upstream bridge, we have been deliberate in our design process. In January 2009, we completed a peer review assessment of our engineer’s bridge stabilization measures and have agreed upon an effective bridge protection approach as a result of that process. The dam removal itself is already designed, and completing a final design for the bridge protection is the final component of the overall design.
- Restore habitat for species of concern.
Our final engineering design plan provides ecosystem-based habitat for species of concern in the North Branch of the Hoosic River: longnose sucker, Eastern brook trout, slimy sculpin, and ocellated darner. Our pre-monitoring fish survey identified a range of coldwater species in the surrounding river, including significant numbers of the state-listed longnose sucker, which will benefit by restoring the free-flowing river and natural streambed substrate.
- Create a regional precedent for dam removal.
Along with establishing a big picture precedent for dam removals helping state-listed species, the project is also establishing a precedent for appropriate techniques for infrastructure protection. Our final bridge protection approach will fully protect the bridge while also allowing for habitat improvements. Our engineer’s initial plan was to put a wall under the stream directly downstream of the bridge to prevent streambed changes from affecting the bridge abutments. However, that wall could have become a new fish passage barrier over time. Our new approach, that we hope will be precedent-setting, is to focus the bridge protection measures on the bridge itself, rather than on the streambed.
Consistent with plans:
- State Wildlife Action Plan
- Rivers and Streams
- Human Habitats
- Urban and Residential
- Rural Residential (Low Intensity Developed)
- Urban and Residential
Targeted species were not provided for this project.
Is the success of this project's actions being monitored? Yes
Please describe your monitoring activity.
The project is being monitored through pre and post fish species surveys.