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News DER and Partners Celebrate Barstowe’s Pond Dam Removal (Taunton)

Following an 8-year effort by DER and partners, the Barstowe's Pond Dam was successfully removed.
  • Division of Ecological Restoration
Cotley River after Barstowe’s Pond Dam removed.

The Cotley River is an 8-mile long tributary to the Wild and Scenic portion of the Taunton River. Since the 1800’s the Barstowe’s Pond Dam blocked the natural movement of water, sediment, and fish on the Cotley, but following an 8-year effort by DER and partners, the dam was successfully removed just before the 2018 herring migration. Project partners included the Taunton Development Corporation, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, NOAA, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Save the Bay.

The dam was listed as a Significant Hazard by the Office of Dam Safety and concerns over its condition led the previous owner, the Taunton Development Corporation, to seek removal. Over the design and permitting phases of the project, ownership transferred to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe which value restoring the river to its natural state. Over the course of the project, DER worked closely with the Tribe, the Taunton Conservation Commission, and MassDOT, which recently stabilized an upstream rail bridge so that it would not be affected by the dam removal.

Substantial funding for the implementation was provided through the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief-Coastal Resiliency Grants funds and NOAA. The removal work was completed in less than one month by the firm RC&D, overseen by the engineers at Inter-Fluve. Native plantings will be installed this spring and monitoring of the river’s response to the removal will continue.

Division of Ecological Restoration 

DER restores and protects rivers, wetlands, and watersheds in Massachusetts for the benefit of people and the environment.