White Rock dam removal improves fish habitat and reduces flood risk in Connecticut and Rhode Island

Last edited 09/05/2019
Contact Information

Contact: Margie Brenner (USFWS), Margie_Brenner@fws.gov, (413) 992-8132

A $794,000 dam removal project has restored natural river flow in Stonington, Conn. and Westerly, R.I., improving flood control, restoring habitat for fish and wildlife and opening up several dozen miles of  fish passage in the Pawcatuck River for the first time in nearly 250 years.

A $794,000 project to remove White Rock dam on the lower Pawcatuck River on the border of  Stonington, Conn. and Westerly, R.I. has allowed the river to run free for the first time in nearly 250 years. The dam removal, part of a larger $2.3 million project supported by federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery, reduces elevated water levels upstream, protecting nearby communities and wildlife from future storms. Combined with the Bradford Dam removal planned next year, this project opens up nearly 25 miles of the Pawcatuck River and associated wetlands - restoring fish passage for migrating American shad, alewife, blueback herring, American eel, and sea-run trout. Seeding and planting along the restored river channel is a next step this fall, with final restoration and completion expected April 2016.

Hurricane Sandy Recovery website

Photo gallery: Flickr website

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