Partners celebrate restoration of New Hampshire’s Gale River

Dam removal benefits river health, brook trout in White Mountain National Forest

Media Advisory: Journalists are invited to join project partners on October 28 starting at 11AM to view and discuss the completed project. A brief program will include partner remarks and site viewing. RSVP: Amy Singler, asingler@americanrivers.org.

Contact: Amy Singler, American Rivers, 617-448-3219

October 26, 2020

American Rivers and its partners have completed the removal of a dam on the South Branch Gale River in White Mountain National Forest, to restore habitat for fish and wildlife. It is one of the first dam removal projects in northern New Hampshire.

The dam, owned by Littleton Water and Light was built as part of the water supply system in the 1950s, no longer served a purpose or provided benefits. Removal eliminated a safety and maintenance burden and improves recreational fishing opportunities and access to high quality aquatic habitat.

“This was an outdated, obsolete structure, degrading our public lands and harming river health. Tearing down the dam and restoring the river revitalizes the entire ecosystem, including brook trout and other wildlife,” said Amy Singler with American Rivers.

Littleton Water and Light managed the project with American Rivers, with support from NH Department of Environmental Services, NH Fish and Game Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Forest Service, and funding from the NH Charitable Foundation’s Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund and The Bingham Trust. Earlier project design phases were funded by NH Charitable Foundation’s Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy. Project engineering design by Stantec Consulting Services, Inc, and construction by C & C Bunnell Excavating LLC.

“This project is the culmination of several years of hard work by our team.  Without great partners, projects like this would not be possible.  This year’s drought conditions, throughout the State, highlights that we must continue to support projects like this that restore and protect our most valuable resource,” said Bill Thomas with NH Department of Environmental Services.

“We are thankful to the many partners involved in creating the largest stream connectivity for habitat on the White Mountain National Forest”, said Pemigewasset District Ranger, Brooke Brown, of the White Mountain National Forest. 

“The removal of this dam reconnects important habitats for wild brook trout and other aquatic animals in the Gale River watershed,” said Dianne Timmins from NH Fish and Game Department. “We have found brook trout throughout the watershed. Reconnecting those populations is vital for genetic diversity and sustainability.”

Dam removal is increasing nationwide, as communities grapple with the environmental, economic and safety challenges of aging dams. More than 1,700 dams have been removed in the U.S. Removing a dam can restore river health and water quality, bring back fish and wildlife, eliminate public safety and flooding hazards, and create new recreation opportunities. American Rivers’ report, Rivers as Economic Engines, details the jobs and other economic and community benefits that come from dam removal and watershed restoration.

The Gale River is a tributary of the Ammonoosuc River, which flows into the Connecticut River.

About American Rivers

American Rivers believes a future of clean water and healthy rivers for everyone, everywhere is essential. Since 1973, we have protected wild rivers, restored damaged rivers and conserved clean water for people and nature. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., and 300,000 supporters, members and volunteers across the country, we are the most trusted and influential river conservation organization in the United States, delivering solutions for a better future. Because life needs rivers.  www.AmericanRivers.org