The Department of Fish and Game, through its Division of Ecological Restoration is leading the effort to restore habitat and connectivity for cold water fish species on Town Brook in Plymouth. This phased project is a partnership between the Town of Plymouth, NOAA, the Division of Marine Fisheries, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, and American Rivers. The current phase of the project calls for developing engineering designs and restoration plans for removal of two obsolete dams: the Off Billington Street Dam, a town owned structure, and the Plymco (a.k.a. Standish Mill Pond Dam), a privately owned structure. The project will also involve daylighting a portion of the brook that flows through a culvert between the two dams. The current work will open an additional 1.5 miles for herring access to spawning in Billington Sea and will restore habitat and connectivity for resident cold water species. Previous work on Town Brook involved the lowering of the weir at Water Street to allow for greater tidal flushing and smelt spawning, and creation of a natural stream bank and gravel bar. Upstream, an Alaskan Steep-Pass fish ladder was installed at the Newfield Street Dam, and the Billington Street Dam was removed.
Rivers and streams are especially susceptible to climate change impacts from increased water temperatures and flow variability due to extreme floods and extended periods of drought. Dam removal in places such as Town Brook, opens up rivers, allowing fish to seek refuge from warming temperatures and fluctations in flow. Once restored, Town Brook will be a healthier watershed better able to withstand the impacts of climate change.
The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is working closely with the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences and The Nature Conservancy to better understand which habitats are most vulnerable to climate change. Addressing climate change requires multiple strategies. Please visit our Adapting to Climate Change webpage for a more detailed view of climate change intiatives undertaken by the Department of Fish and Game.