- Division of Ecological Restoration
The South River originates in the red maple swamps of Duxbury and flows to Massachusetts Bay in Marshfield. In 2016, DER awarded Priority Project status to the restoration of the South River. The project involves restoration actions in both Marshfield and Duxbury. Partners on the project include the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, Mass Bays and the towns of Duxbury and Marshfield. The River is home to alewife, blueback herring, American eel, and sea lamprey. American shad spawn at the head of tide and its tributaries have isolated populations of wild eastern brook trout. The mainstem of the South River has three dams and multiple cranberry bogs.
This spring, important advancements were made at two sites. First, in Marshfield, DER worked with town officials, the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, and the Marshfield Veterans of Foreign Wars to develop a concept for removing the Veterans Memorial Park Dam. This dam impairs fish passage and affects the hydrology of the river at the head of tide. The Town and the Veterans who maintain the park were interested in making improvements to the amenities there. With help from DER and consultants Fuss & O’Neil, Inc. the project partners developed a concept plan that would enhance the park and restore the river’s ecological functions by removing the dam. In the coming year the project team will collaborate to develop engineering design plans to further hone the project details.
Upstream in Duxbury, DER supported the Town with a grant to investigate potential hydraulic changes that might result from removing the Temple Street Dam. This small dam blocks all fish migration upstream and is a maintenance burden for the Town. Removal of the dam would benefit wild brook trout populations and allow migratory species to move further up into the watershed. The hydraulic analysis was also supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust. In the coming year, the engineering analysis will continue and those results will be shared with the community.
Photo - Impounded waters behind the Temple Street Dam in Duxbury.