Officials with the US fish and Wildlife service, the Massachusetts Dept of Fish and Game, stakeholders, conservationists, and others today came together in Cheshire to celebrate the completion of the Thunder Brook restoration project. Thunder Brook runs down Mount Greylock and feeds into the Hoosic River.
Nick Wildman works with the Division of Ecological Restoration at the Department of Fish & Game. He gave a tour of the site, explaining the reason for not only removing of an 80-year old dam, but also a six-foot wide pipe that was impacting the native trout population in the brook.
In addition to protecting wildlife, the replacement culvert also will allow for emergency vehicles to pass over the brook, and improve access for nearby residents.
Up the stream, at the site where the old dam was removed, Tim Puritan, Director of the Division of Ecological Restoration, explained that the Thunder Brook dam was one of seven to be removed in the state in 2012.
Pete LeFebvre is the highway superintendent for the Town of Cheshire, which acquired the dam in the 1970s.
Technical support came from partners including the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the Hoosic River Watershed Association, and Trout Unlimited. Covanta Energy assisted with a donation to the Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership. The Massachusetts Environmental Trust also made a financial contribution to the project. MET Program Director Bill Hinkley said the financial support was made possible through the sale of vanity license plates to drivers across the Commonwealth.
Wendi Weber, Northeast Regional Director for the US Fish and Wildlife Service said it was the cooperation of all the different private and public partners that helped make the restoration possible.
Officials say the restoration project will encourage recreation and tourism on a popular fishing stream. They also say that the project created jobs – and that this and similar projects have a 75% return on investment.