Green River, MA
The Green River, the Deerfield River’s second largest tributary, drains over 88.9 square miles. It begins its journey in Vermont, twisting southeast into Massachusetts. The Green River is fairly steep gradient bedrock and cobble bottom stream through Vermont and the towns of Colrain and Leyden before reaching the Town of Greenfield where the gradient becomes less steep. The river meanders through an area of open fields and agriculture and continues on its sinuous course through downtown Greenfield, Massachusetts.
The Green River is a high-quality cold-water stream, and like many rivers throughout New England, was once home to several thriving mills that helped drive this nation’s Industrial Revolution. Today, the Green River remains fragmented by four dams in Greenfield. This outdated infrastructure blocks passage for migratory fish like American eel, blueback herring, sea lamprey, and Atlantic salmon. Two of the dams need significant repair and maintenance.
The project will remove the first dam on the river, the Wiley & Russell Dam. The dam is a timber crib and concrete dam that is 14-feet high and 165 feet long. The Town is also considering fish passage at the second dam, the Mill Street Dam, and partners will investigate additional options for the two upstream dams once passage is achieved at the lower dams.
In addition to restoring the ecological integrity of the stream, removal of the lowest dam will also eliminate a public safety concern, as the Wiley & Russell Dam is classified as a significant hazard dam in poor condition. The Town is planning a river walk along the river upstream of the dam removal, with plans to include interpretive signs about the industrial history of the river.
American Rivers is partnering on this project with the Town of Greenfield, Connecticut River Watershed Council, Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration, NOAA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy and the Deerfield Watershed Association. For more information, contact Amy Singler, American Rivers, 413-584-2183.