This webpage features documentation of the Hopewell Mills Dam Removal project in Taunton, MA.
A partnership of nonprofit groups and state and federal agencies has brought about the Mill River Restoration, a project that will involve the removal or retrofit of several dams on this important Taunton River tributary, allowing migratory species like river herring and American eel to access an additional 30 miles of river habitat, as well as upstream lakes and ponds. Hopewell Mills Dam is first barrier that herring encounter as they’re traveling upstream from the sea, via the Taunton River and is the first dam to be removed from the Mill River. To get more information about the Mill River project please visit the Mill River Blog Spot.
Excavation of the Hopewell Mills Dam spillway
Local people, too, will benefit from the Mill River Restoration. Hopewell Mills Dam was built in 1818, and like many of the more than 3,000 dams on Massachusetts rivers, it was constructed to power mills that no longer exist. "The Hopewell Dam Removal project is the product of an outstanding local, regional, state and federal partnership. The project not only addresses ecological restoration and overall environmental health, but the public safety issues associated with obsolete, deteriorating dams. Moreover, with a local contractor winning the bid to do the work, the Greater Taunton Area will receive an economic boost as well,” said Bill Napolitano, environmental program director at the SRPEDD.
By next spring, river herring will make their run upstream, and the Mill River will be able to ebb and flow, naturally moderating water levels and protecting nearby homes and businesses. The five-acre impoundment behind the Hopewell Mills Dam will be an open, meadow-like floodplain where such species as painted turtle, cedar waxwing and kingfisher will likely live. And perhaps, Taunton will again be known as “herring town.”
To read the full Mill River Restoration Partnership press release from August 9, 2012, please click here.
The view downstream through the former spillway site
The Mill River Restoration Partnership includes dam owners, SRPEDD, MA Division of Ecological Restoration, NOAA-Restoration Center, The Nature Conservancy, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Save the Bay, American Rivers, US Fish and Wildlife Service, MA Division of Marine Fisheries, MA Department of Transportation, Mass Audubon, Taunton River Watershed Alliance and the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.
Hopewell Mills Dam in the News:
Barney Frank praises Mill River restoration project
The Taunton Gazette Article (10.19.12 click here)
The New Bedford Standard Times Article (10.20.12 click here)
Picassa Photo Albumn of 10.19.12 event (Courtesy of Russ Cohen, click here)
WBZ Article and Video (08.09.12 click here)
Time-lapse video of work (click here)
Mass Audubon Society brochure (click here)
Photo presentation (08.12.12; click here)
Photo presentation (08.25.12; click here)
Mill River Restoration Partnership press release (August 9, 2012; click here)
Mill River Dam Documents