New Hampshire River Restoration Task Force
Exploring opportunities to selectively remove dams for the purpose of restoring rivers and eliminating public safety hazards.
In January 2000, the New Hampshire River Restoration Task Force was formed with the common goal of exploring opportunities to selectively remove dams for a variety of reasons, including for the purpose of restoring rivers and eliminating public safety hazards. The task force is an initiative with a diverse representation, including multiple state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, local interests and others.
Through its work, the task force is enabling an efficient and effective process of removing dams in New Hampshire. Due to the collaborative efforts of the task force, the first New Hampshire dam removal for the purpose of river restoration was completed in the summer of 2001, the McGoldrick Dam on the Ashuelot River in Hinsdale. The removal of this dam was a critical piece of a larger plan to restore anadromous fish to the Ashuelot River, a historically significant Connecticut River tributary for American shad, blueback herring and Atlantic salmon. Two additional dams on the river have since been removed, the Winchester Dam in Winchester, removed in 2002 and the Homestead Woolen Mill Dam in West Swanzey, removed in 2010. Since 2002, numerous obsolete dams have been removed in New Hampshire with input from the task force.
Most recently, the Upper and Lower Sawyer Mill Dams on the Bellamy River in Dover were removed in the 2019 and 2020. The task force continues to evaluate potential removal projects while existing projects move through the planning and permitting process.
River Restoration Task Force Members
US Army Corps of Engineers
US Environmental Protection Agency
US Fish and Wildlife Service
US Geological Survey
US National Park Service
USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
NOAA Restoration Center
NH Department of Environmental Services
NH Division of Historical Resources
NH Fish and Game Department
NH Office of Emergency Management American Rivers
Ashuelot River Local Advisory Committee
Coastal Conservation Association
Connecticut River Conservancy
Conservation Law Foundation
Merrimack Valley Paddlers
New Hampshire Rivers Council
The Nature Conservancy