North & South Rivers Watershed Association

Tack Factory Dam Removal Complete

The removal of the Tack Factory Dam is complete, as many people had a chance to see on the New Year’s Day walk, but work at the site is just getting started. In the coming years we will be recording the recovery of the Third Herring Brook through fish and vegetation monitoring. In addition, we are now able to continue our holistic approach to restoring the brook by moving upstream to start looking at Peterson Pond Dam behind the Hanover Mall.

tack-factory-dam-removal-video-still-smClick here to watch a time-lapse video of the removal. (December 8th-28th, 2016)

Many thanks to our numerous partners and funders:

  • Cardinal Cushing Centers
  • Conservation Law Foundation
  • Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership
  • Greater Boston Trout Unlimited
  • Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program
  • Massachusetts Div. of Ecological Restoration
  • Massachusetts Environmental Trust
  • NOAA Restoration Center
  • Private donors
  • Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition
  • Sheehan Family Foundation
  • Town of Hanover
  • Town of Norwell
  • Trout Unlimited of Southeastern Massachusetts
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service

Thanks to the project engineers, Gomez and Sullivan, and the contractor, SumCo.

tack-factory-dam-w-man-rgb-webHistory of the Project
Tack Factory Dam Removal Begins, Will Open 8.4 Miles of Stream Habitat

For 342 years the river herring that are the namesake of the Third Herring Brook, have been unable to reach the majority of the brook to spawn because of dams. By next year’s spring migration they will be able to access 86% of that brook’s habitat again.

The Tack Factory Dam, owned by the Cardinal Cushing Centers, is currently being removed after over a decade of effort by the North and South Rivers Watershed Association (NSRWA) and Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays). Tack Factory Dam is the first dam from the North River on Third Herring Brook in Norwell and Hanover. The Third Herring Brook is home to river herring, American eel, and sea lamprey. Rainbow smelt have been found in Third Herring Brook closer to the estuary, and tributaries to the Third Herring Brook are also home to isolated populations of wild Eastern brook trout. Removing this dam will open up 8.4 miles of instream habitat in the Third Herring Brook system. Of these miles, 2.7 are in the mainstem of the brook itself, including the segment of stream now accessible through the former Mill Pond Dam site, which was removed in the Fall of 2014. The remaining 5.4 miles are within tributaries to the brook that will have newly accessible cold water habitat for resident brook trout that may also access the North River estuary and become “salter” brook trout.

Check out this amazing 360 degree drone video by Dave Simmer.

The Tack Factory Dam removal has been funded by many federal, state, and local partners, with a majority of the funding coming from major project partners the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Restoration) and Mass. Division of Ecological Restoration. The total project cost for all phases of work has been $420,000, not including in-kind time by the project partners. Other funders include the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Massachusetts Environmental Trust, Corporate Wetland Restoration Partnership, Cardinal Cushing Centers, the Sheehan Family Foundation, Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition, Trout Unlimited, and private donors.

Although the dam removal itself will be completed this winter, efforts at the project site and elsewhere on the Third Herring Brook will not be over. This is only the first step in restoring the stream. There is extensive monitoring that must occur over at least three years after the dam removal, including documentation of the vegetation that will emerge on the newly formed river banks and continuation of river herring counts on the Third Herring Brook, with herring now able to move upstream as far as Petersons Pond Dam behind the Hanover Mall. This monitoring is currently unfunded, and the NSRWA and MassBays will be seeking grants and donations to support this next crucial phase. Click below to donate to the monitoring project.

Donate Today to Help Us Bring Back the Brook! bring-back-the-brook-logo-web

The removal of the Tack Factory Dam on the Third Herring Brook is a huge success, however, it is only the first step in restoring the stream habitat. Please donate today to help us Bring Back the Brook!

Your donation will help:

  • Monitor migrating fish populations
  • Survey wetland and stream vegetation
  • Monitor stream flow, water quality and quantity
  • Measure amphibian, reptile and macroinvertebrate numbers
  • and more!

This innovative project will provide a model for river restoration elsewhere in the state and the nation. Please partner with us to Bring Back the Brook!

Read more about NSRWA’s work restoring habitat.

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