Smelt Brook Restoration Pays Dividends

A recent project to uncover a section of Smelt Brook in Weymouth, MA, is already being hailed as an environmental success, according to the Patriot Ledger.

The brook flows from Pond Meadow Park in Braintree all the way to its mouth at the Fore River Channel. For decades, the brook flowed through a culvert under the now-defunct Olde Brick Grille at Weymouth Landing. Weymouth was required to uncover a section of the brook as part of an agreement with the MBTA to encourage anadromous fish to migrate upstream during the spring spawn.

Over the winter, roughly 150 feet of the brook was uncovered. The project was completed just before the smelt returned to spawn in late February.

Biologists with the MA Division of Marine Fisheries have already discovered an increased number of rainbow smelt eggs in the brook’s newly re-exposed section. Prior to the restoration project, smelt would only spawn within the first 10 feet of the culvert, where daylight could still reach. However, the tightly clustered eggs and fry had a poor survival rate.

Funding for the project came from a $1.6 million state infrastructure grant awarded to Weymouth in 2016.

Read more about the restoration of Weymouth’s Smelt Brook.