Briggsville Dam Breached, Removal Underway
Dam removal to preserve jobs, help restore North Branch of Hoosic RiverNovember 4th, 2010
Contact: Brian Graber, Director, River Restoration Program 413-585-5896
Clarksburg, MA – American Rivers is proud to announce the breaching of the 15 foot high and 200 foot long Briggsville Dam in the town of Clarksburg, Massachusetts. American Rivers has contributed vital financial and technical support to this project.
Removing the dam will help its owner, Cascade School Supplies, avoid abandoning the facility, laying off employees, and leaving the community without one of its largest employers. Cascade School Supplies has been in business for 78 years and seasonally employs more than 150 people in Berkshire County, including their facility in Clarksburg, a small rural town in northwestern Massachusetts.
A diverse group of public/private partners are working together to remove the Briggsville Dam and restore the North Branch of the Hoosic River. In addition to American Rivers and Cascade, project partners include USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, (NRCS) the Town of Clarksburg, the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, the Wildlife Conservation Society, through its Wildlife Action Opportunities Fund with support provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Trout Unlimited, Congressman Olver and the Hoosic River Watershed Association.
“The breaching of the Briggsville dam is an important step for the town of Clarksburg. American Rivers has been involved in the removal of hundreds of dams around the country, but the opportunity to restore the Hoosic River and create and preserve jobs in Clarksburg makes this project really special,” said Rebecca Wodder, President of American Rivers. “We are thrilled that by the leadership of Cascade School Supplies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Congressman Olver, we are able to take this step together to create a healthier economy and environment.”
“I am pleased to see this important project moving forward. The bottom line here is that we’re saving jobs. The dam’s presence was putting Cascade School Supplies in jeopardy—an important employer in the region. Through a strong public-private partnership, we have now begun to remove the dam and the trouble it is causing Cascade School Supplies,” said Congressman Olver.
The project involves removing the dam, stabilizing the banks and planting trees, protecting an upstream bridge, and restoring river habitat. The restoration is expected to be completed by mid-December and will improve over 30 miles of high quality headwater streams and exemplary trout habitat.
More than 830 dam removals have been recorded nationwide. While motivation for removing dams may vary, these communities show us that restoration projects provide a multitude of benefits and often breathe new life into river communities and a renewed appreciation for free-flowing, healthy streams. American Rivers helps communities remove unneeded dams by providing educational, technical, and financial assistance.