East Burke Dam Removal
After many years, the old mill dam in East Burke is being removed. We are so thankful for the work of Ron Rhodes and the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC), a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and protecting the Connecticut River watershed. CRC received $150,000 from the state of Vermont’s Ecosystem Restoration Grant to help fund the removal of the old dam on the Passumpsic River.
This funding, which is part of the state’s new Clean Water Initiative Program, will serve to re-establish the natural conditions of the East Branch of the Passumpsic River, serving the dual purpose of protecting Vermont's water quality and supporting the goal to protect and restore the Passumpsic River and its tributaries.
PVLT is working with CRC, the Burke Conservation Commission, Vermont DEC/ANR/F&W, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northwoods Stewardship Center, the MadDog chapter of Trout Unlimited, and other project partners. “This grant from the state will help pay for removal of the old dam, opening 99 miles of stream for trout and other aquatic organisms,” said Ron Rhodes, the project manager and River Steward for CRC. “Removing the old dam also will lower flood elevations in downtown East Burke, improve water quality and sediment transport downstream, and improve recreational access for swimmers, boaters, and fishers.”
We held several informational meetings with local business owners and residents, gathering input on the proposed project. Several of the suggestions made during these discussions have helped shape the final engineering design plans from Milone and MacBroom of Waterbuy, VT.
“The East Burke Dam, similar to other old dams, causes significant impacts to riverine health, is subject to ice jams, and heightens flood hazards,” adds Marli Rupe, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Clean Water Initiative Program Assistant Manager. “The East Burke Dam has deteriorated to a point where these impacts now outweigh its usefulness. Removal of the East Burke dam has been identified as a high priority project in basin and river corridor plans. We are happy to support the community and partners in restoring this portion of the Passumpsic River.”
We received additional funding for this project from the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. CRC, which issued an RFP to local contractors for bids, set a tentative start date of October 10, 2017 in order to avoid any conflicts with summer recreational activities in town.
Since 1952, CRC has been the voice for the Connecticut River watershed, from source to sea. They collaborate with partners across four states to protect and advocate for your rivers as well as educate and engage communities. They bring people together to prevent pollution, improve habitat, and promote enjoyment of your rivers and their tributary streams. Healthy rivers support healthy economies.
- Construction Observation Reports with images of the removal to this point:
River Corridor Protection Project
With funding from the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund, PVLT has protected roughly 323 acres with close to 22,000 feet of frontage on rivers and lakes in the Passumpsic Watershed. Properties this funding helped PVLT buy outright include: Burdick (16 acres), Confluence (26.5 acres with 0.8 mile of Passumpsic River frontage), Dwyer (110 acres with half a mile frontage on the mainstem of Passumpsic River), Joe’s Pond Inlet (12 acres with over a half mile of Joe’s Brook frontage), Towns (21.5 acres with half mile on the Passumpsic River), Mayhew (94 acres with 3,000 feet of frontage on Joe’s Brook and 1,800 feet of frontage on Joe’s Pond). Properties for which easements were bought using this funding include Langmaid (4.1 acres with 1,200 feet of frontage on the East Branch of the Passumpsic). In addition, funding from this project helped Vermont Fish and Wildlife procure 39 acres and the remaining undeveloped frontage on Keiser Pond for a total of 3,800 feet of frontage on the pond and Joe's Brook.
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