Removing the Briggsville Dam: A win-win-win for dam owner, community, and the river.


briggsvill dam removalWe’ve been talking quite a bit about how dam removals continue across every region of the country. Today is another milestone for our rivers as we celebrate the removal of the Briggsville Dam in Clarksburg, MA.

The Briggsville Dam had been a challenge for the community and a threat to the rural local economy. Cascade School Supplies, a local business and important employer in the region, purchased a property and a dam happened to come along with it. The dam wasn’t being used and had fallen into poor condition.

When the state inspected the dam a few years ago, they reported that it needed significant repairs. Because it fell to Cascade to pay for those updates, the company faced the prospect of abandoning the facility and laying off employees if they had to fund dam repairs. So, they made a financially sound choice to work with a project team led by the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration and American Rivers to remove the obsolete dam and restore the North Branch Hoosic River.

American Rivers is proud to have been part of a diverse public-private partnership who collaborated to complete the project. Removing the dam will now help Cascade School Supplies retain jobs in the community. The removal also comes with the added benefits of clean water, improved cold water habitat for fish, and river recreation now that the dam is torn down. Among the species helped by the project is the slimy sculpin – a fairly rare fish that we think is marginalized by its name. I mean, who could love something that’s called “slimy”?

We’re excited to see another river running free again. And it’s one of a number of river restoration efforts across the country that are making 2011 the Year of the River.