Patrick Administration Celebrates Successful Removal of Bartlett Pond Dam
LANCASTER - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett joined state and local officials today to celebrate the successful removal of Bartlett Pond Dam; an 84-foot long structure that was in disrepair and classified as a “significant hazard” on Wekepeke Brook, a tributary of the North Nashua River.
“To date, over two dozen dams have been removed in Massachusetts to improve habitat and help keep the public safe,” said Secretary Bartlett. “These investments in public safety and environmental improvement reflect the Patrick Administration’s commitment to the Commonwealth’s natural resources.”
The Bartlett Pond dam removal was the first in the state to be completed using funds from the Dam and Seawall Bill, a fund set up by the legislature to remove or repair dams and seawalls. The fund addresses the growing need to repair dams, coastal flood control structures and inland flood control structures that pose a risk to public health, public safety and key economic centers. The Patrick Administration is committed to proactively addressing these risks before disaster strikes, and sees increasing the resiliency of the Commonwealth’s infrastructure as particularly important in the face of increasingly extreme weather as a result of climate change.
The fund enables the Commonwealth to achieve these critical goals, while also supporting the enhancement, preservation, and protection of the natural resources and scenic, historic and aesthetic qualities of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The dam removal restores upstream fish passage to approximately 18-miles of high-quality coldwater habitat and improves the Town of Lancaster’s Frommer Conservation Area.
“This project was a priority of the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration,” said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin. “With the dam’s removal, there has been an immediate return of native brook trout to the restored stretch of the river.”
Project partners included the Town of Lancaster, Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) and Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (FWE), Nashua River Watershed Association, Lancaster Friends of the Nashua River and the Rushing Rivers Institute.
"Removing dams helps restore healthy rivers to provide clean water, reduce risks, enhance recreation opportunities and preserve wildlife habitat,” said Wayne Klockner, State Director of the Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts. We appreciate the support for healthy rivers from the Patrick Administration and the Legislature. We applaud our partners in the broad-based alliance of organizations representing conservationists, municipalities and engineers that advocated for the passage of the Dam Safety Law.”
“Cities and towns across the state are facing significant costs to update their antiquated water infrastructure systems. This Lancaster project demonstrates that, when appropriate, removing a dam can be a very cost-effective way to restore a river and enhance public safety and water quality,” said Geoff Beckwith, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association.
“The Town of Lancaster is very pleased by the environmental, aesthetic and ecological success of the Bartlett Pond Dam Removal,” said Lancaster Town Administrator Orlando Pacheco. “We have saved taxpayers approximately $600,000 by choosing dam removal over dam replacement. Our inter-governmental, inter-agency cooperation on the project with our state counterparts should serve as a model for future projects. We are equally excited to be the first of what will be many dam removal projects completed from the Commonwealth’s Dam and Seawall Fund.”
“The completion of this project will greatly improve the safety conditions of the dam, reduce flood risks, and preserve the natural beauty of the area,” said Senator Jennifer Flanagan. “In Lancaster, the state has taken a critical first step to address dam and seawall safety and these grants will assist cities and towns across the state.”
“The removal of the Bartlett Pond Dam is a successful collaborative effort that will greatly benefit the Lancaster community,” said Representative Hank Naughton. “As Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, I am pleased with the launch of this project as it will enhance infrastructure security and the overall level of public safety in the community. Additionally, the renovation of this antiquated structure will significantly benefit the fishing, hunting and conservation community in our district and surrounding areas.”
The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land protection and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and wildlife species, and ecological restoration of fresh water, salt water, and terrestrial habitats. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth's rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.