As part of an ongoing effort, federal money is now funding almost a dozen dam removal projects around New England.
New England has 200,000 of what Cathy Bozak calls "barriers to water flow" – they're dams that no longer serve a purpose. Bozak is with U.S. Fish and Wildlife in the Northeast. The agency has just released $1 million to fund 25 projects from Maine to West Virginia. One is in Vermont: $50,000 will remove the East Burke Dam on a tributary to the Connecticut River.
Bozak says it's in bad shape. "Opening up this river by removing the dam will not only remove the liability to the owner, and this safety hazard, but it’s also restoring Great Brook Trout habitat. And we not only fund dam removals, but we do a lot of culvert replacements" – those corrugated metal pipes that carry streams under roadways. Bozak says many are too small, and they're causing floods and hampering aquatic life.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife also awarded funding for repairs and dam removal for projects in Maine and New Hampshire.
This report comes from the New England News Collaborative, eight public media companies coming together to tell the story of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.