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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Gonic and Gonic Sawmill Dam Removal Project

Gonic Sawmill Dam and the Gonic DamThe Gonic Sawmill Dam and the Gonic Dam are the third and fourth dams on the main stem of the Cocheco River. Both dams block fish passage, have letters of deficiency from the NHDES Dam Bureau, and no longer serve a functional purpose.

A comprehensive study conducted in 2005 deemed removal of the Gonic and Gonic Sawmill dams as technically and financially feasible. Removal of both dams would restore approximately four miles of free-flowing river for purposes including improving water quality, restoring habitat connectivity, allowing for natural sediment transport and flow of nutrients, restoring aesthetic values, and improving fish passage.

Removal of the Gonic and Gonic Sawmill dams would specifically aid with the passage of American eel and resident coldwater species including the Eastern brook trout. Although American eel have proven to negotiate these dams, their passage would be drastically improved and they would also greatly benefit from the expected improvement in water quality. American eel populations are in decline and they are listed as a “species of special concern” with both the National Marine Fisheries Service and the N.H. Fish and Game Department. This project would expand and improve American eel habitat.

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  • Kevin Lucey, Restoration Coordinator
    New Hampshire Coastal Program
    NH Department of Environmental Services
    Pease Tradeport
    222 International Drive, Suite 175
    Portsmouth, NH 03801
    (603) 559-0026



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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
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