This page, Jones River Flow Restoration, is offered by

Jones River Flow Restoration

The Jones River frequently experience low and no flow conditions due to water management in its headwaters.

Jones River, Kingston, Halifax, Pembroke, and Brockton, MA

River with low flows
Low flow in the Jones River downstream of the Lake St. dam, August 2014.

The Jones River is the largest river draining to Cape Cod Bay. The river historically supported prolific runs of diadromous fish, which spawned in Silver Lake, at the river’s headwaters. Today, Silver Lake is the City of Brockton’s main water supply reservoir. The Jones River is dammed several hundred feet downstream of where it originally flowed from Silver Lake; this created what is now known as Forge Pond. Brockton regularly diverts water from Monponsett Pond (in the Taunton River Watershed) and Furnace Pond (in the North River Watershed) to Silver Lake. Flow through Forge Pond and into the Jones varies depending on these diversions and on Brockton’s intake for water supply. This water management, along with cranberry bogs and other forces, impacts water quality and streamflow in the Jones River. 

DER’s River Instream Flow Stewards have monitored streamflow at several sites, including just downstream of Forge Pond Dam, since 2003. In 2011, DER helped the Jones River Watershed Association and partners to remove the Wapping Road Dam, significantly improving the opportunities for fish passage in the Jones. Restoration of more natural streamflows in the watershed became a DER Priority Project in 2012.

Flow restoration efforts since 2012 have included the following:

  • DER partnered with the Division of Marine Fisheries, the Jones River Watershed Association, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Brockton to study the feasibility of providing fish passage to Silver Lake. Each evaluated approach, from a fish ladder to dam removal, would involve some change in Brockton’s water management that allows additional flow to the Jones.
  • The Division of Marine Fisheries released a habitat assessment report which concluded that Silver Lake would generally support river herring and that “the most significant impairment for the goal of restoring river herring to Silver Lake was fish passage obstruction at Forge Pond Dam and reduced stream flow that could prevent juvenile herring emigration during summer and early fall.” 
  • The Massachusetts Environmental Trust has funded preliminary fish passage design work as well as a study of the economic impacts of different water management approaches. 
  • Town of Halifax was given a grant under EEA's Sustainable Water Management Initiative to examine water management changes that could improve streamflow both in the Jones and in Stump Brook (downstream of Monponsett Pond).
  • DER upgraded the RIFLS gage on the Jones downstream of Silver Lake to enable partners to track streamflow in real time on the web.

Vital Statistics

Towns: Brockton, Halifax, Kingston, Pembroke
Major Watersheds: Jones River, Taunton River, North River
Partners: Towns of Brockton and Halifax, Jones River Watershed Association, Monponsett Watershed Association, Taunton River Watershed Alliance, NOAA Restoration Center, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, MassAudubon, Massachusetts Bays Program