River Steward Ron Rhodes is the CRWC project manager for this potential dam removal project on the Wells River. Photo Connecticut River Watershed Council

River Steward Ron Rhodes is the CRWC project manager for this potential dam removal project on the Wells River. Photo/Connecticut River Watershed Council

The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) recently released a progress report on some of its projects aimed at restoring the Connecticut River and its tributaries by removing dams, adding fish ladders and improving riparian habitat.

Currently, the CRWC is working to remove a dam on the Wells River in Groton, Vermont. Removing the partially breached dam will restore the natural river habitat to free-flowing conditions, improve water_quality and sediment transport, restore the river channel, increase and improve fish and wildlife access to habitat for resident and migratory species such as Eastern brook trout and Atlantic salmon. Removal of this dam in 2014 will open a total of 22.31 miles of stream — 6.4 miles of which is cold-water habitat upstream from the dam.

Another CRWC project is the Green River Ecosystem Restoration Project in Greenfield, Massachusetts. This project, when completed, will remove the Wiley & Russell dam and install fish passage at the Mill Street dam and 2 other dams located upstream. Work on the dam removal is expected to be completed in 2014 and installation of fish passage at a future date pending rehabilitation of the Mill Street dam.

Once fully completed, this project will open 94 miles of habitat for a wide range of species in the Green River including sea lamprey, American eel, American shad, blueback herring, and Atlantic salmon as the chief beneficiaries but amphibians, turtles and invertebrates will also take advantage of restoration work on the Green River. CRWC is working with American Rivers and the Town of Greenfield as project partners with funding from the Fish America Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Open Rivers Initiative.

Learn more about the efforts to restore the Connecticut River.