MA Announces Funding for Dam, Seawall Projects

Jones River in Kingston, MA
Jones River in Kingston, MA The state of Massachusetts recently announced $10 million in funding to assist communities and groups statewide in addressing deteriorating dams and refurbishing critical coastal infrastructure. The money will support engineering and construction phase work for seven dam repair projects, five dam removal projects and eight coastal protection reconstruction projects.

The program will award $2.91 million to Attleboro, Fall River, Gardner, Gloucester, Holbrook, the Jones River Watershed Association, the Kestrel Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Scituate, the Sherwood Forest Lake District, Westfield and Weymouth for dam projects, and nearly $7.7 million to Marshfield, Plymouth, Quincy, Salem, Scituate and Yarmouth for coastal protection projects.

The following are the dam projects:

Gloucester ($500,000, $500,000 low-interest loan)

The Haskell Pond Dam is owned and managed by the city as part of its water supply network. The dam is a high-hazard structure in poor condition. This 43-foot-high, 480-foot-long structure was built in 1902. This award will provide funding for the construction work necessary to refurbish the structure to ensure compliance with state law. This project was previously funded with $175,000 to support engineering, permitting and the development of construction documents.

The Nature Conservancy ($257,055)

The Carver Cotton Gin Mill Dam in East Bridgewater on the Satucket River, a tributary of the Taunton River, is rated a significant hazard in unsafe condition. The concrete structure is 10 feet high and 44 feet long. It’s the first dam from the ocean without fish passage, and removal is part of a multi-partner effort to connect major tributaries of the Taunton River with the main stem, Narragansett Bay, and the ocean. Removal of this dam will enhance public safety, create a navigable waterway for small boats and re-establish connections to large spawning areas for numerous fish species.

Attleboro ($250,000)

The Dodgeville Pond Dam is a significant-hazard structure in poor condition. This award will support the rehabilitation of the structure. While the structure is privately owned, the city is committed to having this structure refurbished as part of a larger master plan for improvements. The impoundment that it creates and the backwater along the Ten Mile River provide recreational opportunities. The city recently received a state grant from the Gateway Cities Parks Grant program to provide riverside walking and biking paths along the Ten Mile River. Preserving and Dodgeville Dam/Pond is needed to maintain water depths along this section of the Ten Mile River that will be part of the Riverwalk.

Scituate ($225,000)

The Hunters Pond Dam, also known as the Mordecai Lincoln Road Pond Dam, is the first dam on the Bound Brook system and is located at the head of tide in the Gulf River estuary. The dam is in poor condition and rated as a significant hazard. The Hunters Pond Dam is the primary impediment to fish passage on the Bound Brook system and its removal will promote the recovery and increase in diadromous fish populations by restoring access to spawning and rearing habitat.

Jones River Watershed Association ($223,000)

The Elm Street Dam is owned by the town of Kingston, and this project will plan for its removal. The dam is a significant hazard in fair condition. The dam forms the head of tide on the Jones River creating an obstruction to tidal flow into upper reaches of the river. This creates a backwater of tides below the dam resulting in an increase of downstream bank overtopping. The dam contributes to poor water quality and even with a fish ladder, this dam blocks fish from passage upstream to historic spawning grounds. The removal of the dam will improve conditions for river herring, rainbow smelt, eastern brook trout, American shad and American eels.

Kestrel Land Trust ($215,000)

The Lake Warner Dam in Hadley is owned by the land trust. The dam is classified as a significant hazard and is in poor condition. The dam at Lake Warner, also known as North Hadley Pond, has been part of the historic village center of North Hadley for more than 350 years and is greatly valued by local residents. This project will restore the structural integrity of the dam.

Holbrook ($207,750)

The Lake Holbrook Dam is a 300-foot earthen dam with a paved roadway across the crest. The dam is classified as a significant hazard and is in poor condition. The dam has numerous deficiencies that compromise the safety of the roadway and homes and businesses downstream. This project will help bring the dam back into compliance with safety standards.

Westfield ($163,800)

The Tekoa Reservoir Dam, built in 1873, is on Moose Meadow Brook in Montgomery. The dam impounds a reservoir that can provide water for the city of Westfield but hasn’t been used for this purpose for many years. The city has determined that the reservoir is no longer needed as a potential water supply; therefore removal of this 32-foot-tall, 200-foot-wide dam is in the best interests of the city and its residents by reducing the costs of owning and operating unnecessary structures.

Weymouth ($150,000)

The Weymouth Great Pond Dam was built in 1884 and is a key component of the city’s water supply. The structure retains a 450-acre reservoir and is classified as a significant hazard and is in fair to poor condition. This award will support the engineering and design for a series of repairs and improvements.

Fall River ($119,853)

The Rattlesnake Brook Dam is owned by the Fall River Water Department and is located in Freetown. The dam doesn’t provide benefits for water supply and is now a liability for the city. The dam is in unsafe condition and has created a downstream situation where there are multiple unmanaged stream channels. There is currently no operational way to control water level. A partial breach has also been reported. Removal of this dam will create a more stable downstream channel configuration and protect Narrows Road 500 feet below the dam. The project will also naturalize stream processes and open the brook to migration to trout from Assonet Bay for miles upstream to cold-water habitat in the upper watershed.

Gardner ($67,400)

The Wrights Reservoir Dam impounds Mahoney Brook to form Wrights Reservoir. The dam is classified as a high hazard. The structure is part of the Gardner Local Protection Project flood-management system built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1960s for flood protection of important industrial properties along the Mahoney and Greenwood brooks. The project will repair the dam and bring the structure into compliance.

Sherwood Forest Lake District ($52,500)

The Lancelot Lake Dam in Becket is classified as high hazard and is in poor condition. This award will support the planning and engineering phase of the project to return the dam to safety standards.

The following are the coastal protection projects:

Marshfield ($2,500,000, $500,000 low-interest loan)

The money will be used for Phase II of a seawall repair project along the shoreline of Massachusetts Bay in the Fieldston section of Marshfield. Phase I of the project, completed in 2015 and funded through a prior grant, included design and permitting for the entire Foster Avenue Seawall and implemented the replacement of the existing seawall between Old Beach Road and 9th Road. The Phase II project includes updating the existing design package, bidding and replacing the existing concrete seawall along Foster Avenue between 9th Road and 3rd Road. The structure is deteriorated and this section of the Foster Avenue Seawall is assigned a condition rating of poor and a high priority. This project addresses the last remaining portion of the original 1931 structure and will complete the reconstruction of the seawalls protecting this densely populated area.

Marshfield ($139,000)

The money will be used to design and obtain regulatory approvals for the reconstruction and improvements to an approximately 600-foot-long section of deteriorated seawall on Ocean Street near Brant Rock. The structure protects Ocean Street, adjacent residential areas and associated utilities from storm damage. The existing structure has become increasingly deteriorated. Ocean Street is the primary access through the area connecting the communities of Brant Rock and Ocean Bluff with major state highways and is also an evacuation route during storms.

Scituate ($2,500,000, $500,000 loan-interest loan)

The money will support the construction phase of a 640-linear-foot section of the seawall and revetment. During major storm events, this area of Oceanside Drive is heavily flooded and inundated with overwash consisting of large cobbles and sand, which in turn results in compromised public access and safety and the temporary closure of the roadway and cross streets. In recent years, there have been occurrences where first responders have been unable to respond to house fires and other emergencies in the area bevcause of extreme flooding.

Plymouth ($810,993)

The money will repair and reconstruct portions of the 720 linear feet of retaining wall fronting a vertical concrete seawall about 2.5 miles southeast of Plymouth Center. A series of severe northeast storms caused continued lowering of the fronting beach and moderate damage to the revetment. Although the seawall and retaining wall have remained intact, previous repairs didn’t return the structure to its “as-built” condition. More recent work re-established the retaining wall to design conditions; however, portions of the revetment have settled over the past 10-plus years as the beach continues to lower, allowing wave action to destabilize portions of the revetment.

Plymouth ($93,563)

The grant will support design and environmental permitting services for the reconstruction/upgrading of about 900 linear feet of retaining wall primarily fronting the Plymouth Long Beach parking lot and Route 3A. The existing vertical concrete seawall has failed at several locations and doesn’t provide an appropriate design for the lowered condition of the beach.

Quincy ($441,000)

The grant will support the final design and permitting costs for repairs and improvements to about 6,000 linear feet of seawall along the northern shore of Adams Shore and Houghs Neck. These structures protect the shoreline, residential homes, public utilities, and critical transportation and evacuation routes. The seawalls will be repaired and raised to accommodate future sea-level rise and impacts from the changing climate, including increased frequency and intensity of storms.

Salem ($143,625)

The grant will support the design and permitting for the repair/replacement of an approximately 60-year-old deteriorating, concrete seawall at the eastern boundary of Forest River Park. The existing seawall is part of the city’s Canal Street Flood Mitigation Project. The Canal Street Flood Mitigation Project is a $20 million project that has received funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency with a goal of reducing flooding in the Canal Street and Salem State University O’Keefe Parking Lot.

Yarmouth ($77,500)

The grant will support the design and permitting for an approximately 500 linear foot section of deteriorating revetment at Bass River Beach. The structure protects the adjacent dunes and provides public access via a parking lot, boat ramp, and fishing pier.  The structure also protects the western shore of the river from the Bass River Beach as well as the eastern edge of the Bass River entrance channel.