$128k State Grant Gets Dam Project Going
The removal of the Off Billington Street Dam should begin this summer, construction of a new bridge and repairs to the stream channel are part of the $1.4 million project.
A $128,200 grant from the state caps the funding to remove the Off Billington Street Dam, improve water quality, and the fish passage on Town Brook.
The project, which has been in the planning stages for a few years, should begin this summer, according to Plymouth's Director Marine and Environmental Affairs David Gould. The project involves the removal of the dam, which is in poor condition, installation of a new arch bridge to provide residential access, and reconstruction of the stream channel, removing impoundments and contaminated sediment and providing herring a better passage to Billington Sea.
The grant program is funded by contributions developers working in coastal areas provide to the Massachusetts’ Marine Mammals and Fisheries Research and Conservation Trust, in lieu of providing on-site mitigation, according to a release from the state's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
"Restoration of coastal wetlands and tidal rivers is critical for anadromous fish such as river herring, American eel, and American shad, and also provides important habitat for breeding and migratory waterfowl, shore birds, and many other wildlife species," said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Mary Griffin, whose agency includes the Department of Marine Fisheries.
Gould said that studies have shown that only 6 percent of herring making their way up Town Brook manage to get through the old pool and weir fishway at the dam. Reconstructing the channel should increase the numbers significantly.
In Plymouth, $128,200 was provided for a portion of the Town Brook Dam Removal Project, submitted by the Town of Plymouth’s Department of Marine and Environmental Affairs. The goal of this project is to remove the Off Billington Street Dam and replace it with an arch bridge in order to improve water quality, remove contaminated sediment, and provide unimpeded fish passage for alewife, blueback herring, and American eel.
In addition to the funds provided by the Department of Marine Fisheries, the town has collaborated with the state Division of Ecological Restoration, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, American Rivers, Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment, and Billington Sea/Town Brook Association for funding to complete the project. The on the ground work for this project is expected to begin in spring 2013.
"We have a great project partner team from the state Division of Ecological Restoration, Division of Marine Fisheries and federal partners including NOAA and US Fish and Wildlife Service," Gould said.
"We hope to put the project out to bid in the next month or so for a summer construction. We have approximately $1,400,000 in funding. $200,000 of that is from the town and the rest is grant funding that we received."
For more information, see DMF's In-lieu Fee Program.