With new grant, removal of another useless dam in Massachusetts moves forward to restore river herring & Eastern brook trout

On May 13, 2020, thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (the Trust), the dam removal process on the Third Herring Brook is moving forward. This funding will help enable the North and South Rivers Watershed Association (NSRWA), which was founded in 1969, to remove the Peterson’s Pond dam on the Third Herring Brook in Norwell.

The Third Herring Brook is a 5-mile tributary to the North River that forms the town border between Norwell and Hanover. Historically, like almost every coastal stream in the area, this brook supported a large population of river herring – hence the name.

The Third Herring Brook Restoration Project focuses on improving the continuity and stream flow of the Third Herring Brook. The goal is to restore fish passage for river herring and Eastern brook trout by removing the 3 of the 4 dams on the stream and then putting a fish ladder under Rt 123 for fish to access Jacobs Pond. Completing the Third Herring Brook restoration to its headwaters at Jacobs Pond would result in 4 miles of the mainstem opened (9.7 miles including tributaries) and access to 59 acres of spawning habitat at Jacobs Pond.

NSRWA Executive Director Samantha Woods said, “The grant funding from the sale of the license plates is helping to restore herring to the Third Herring Brook by enabling the removal of the dam owned by the Hanover Mall. This is the third and last dam to be removed on this brook and will enable river herring, a species whose populations have been in serious decline and are part of the base of the ocean food chain, to spawn in their historic spawning areas. Ultimately, the NSRWA and its partners are working to restore access for the river herring all the way into Jacobs Pond in Norwell.

She continued, “Third Herring Brook marks the boundary line between Norwell and Hanover, and flows through the Hanover Mall property. As the Mall begins a massive reconstruction project, we are progressing steadily with the removal of the Peterson Pond Dam, also on site. Recently we signed a contract with an engineering firm, to complete the construction bid documents , final permitting and design. If our grant applications for funding construction are successful, we anticipate that dam removal will take place this winter. Funds from U.S. Fish & Wildlife, the Massachusetts Department of Ecological Restoration, and from the Mall itself will help to ensure that our project remains on track and doesn’t interfere with construction.

Every driver in the state can help protect and restore water resources and the environment by purchasing a Massachusetts Environmental Trust license plate.

According to Trust Program Director Kim Tilas, the Trust provided over $471,512.00 in grants to 18 organizations last year, thanks to motorists who choose to purchase one of the Trust’s specialty license plates. “Trust plates, including our signature Whale Plate, are the only specialty plates that exclusively fund environmental initiatives,” said Tilas. “When you purchase a specialty plate for $100.00 from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, the $40 specialty plate fee goes directly to the Trust to fund water-focused environmental programs,” she explained.

Images courtesy of NSRWA.

See NSRWA website.

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