East Branch Passumpsic River, Vermont

Purpose of the project:
Removal of this deteriorating dam improves natural flow regimes, free-flowing river conditions, water quality and temperature, sediment release and transport, and connectivity resulting in the restoration of Aquatic Organism Passage for native Brook Trout, sculpin and minnows; opening 99 migratory miles throughout the East Branch of the Passumpsic River sub-watershed. In addition, 3.4 acres of shrub-scrub wetland will be enhanced by removal of the dam and subsequent restoration work.

Human Interest/Community Benefit:
The East Burke dam is the last Aquatic Organism Passage impediment on the East Branch Passumpsic River up to its headwaters, which allows native Brook Trout access to important spawning habitat and thermal refugia. The East Branch Passumpsic River is also a popular fishing destination for Brook Trout anglers who will benefit from a more robust fishery.

Project Timeline:

2016 – Complete engineering design plans, obtain required permits, and hire a contractor for dam removal.

2017 - Facilitate on-site pre-removal meetings between the contractor, regulatory agencies and project partners, including local stakeholders; secure clearances to proceed with dam de-construction; ensure successful completion of dam removal activities as required by design plans and permits; and, implement riparian buffer plantings and other post-dam removal restoration activities in the fall.

2018 – Monitor the Dam Removal Project site on an on-going basis to document river condition changes and restoration survival rates for riparian plantings. Collect data on the population status of Brook Trout and other resident fish species.

Partners: Connecticut River Watershed Council (Project Lead), Passumpsic Valley Land Trust (Dam Owner), Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife (Technical Support), US Fish and Wildlife Service (Technical Support), New Hampshire Charitable Foundation (Funder), Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (Funder), and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (Funder).

Project Submission by:
The Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture

2018 Waters to Watch