Removing Armstrong Dam will benefit marine life, study shows 11-8-16

Removing Armstrong Dam will benefit marine life, study shows

Removing the Armstrong Dam in Braintree will benefit marine life in the Fore River Basin and beyond a new study finds.

By Fred Hanson
The Patriot Ledger

BRAINTREE – Removing the Armstrong Dam on the Monatiquot River will help enable herring to return to their historical spawning grounds in Great Pond.

And, because herring are a food source for larger fish, the benefits to marine life will extend beyond the Fore River Basin, advocates say.

On Monday night, about 30 people attended a meeting on the results of a study into the benefits of removing of the dam, which is near the intersection of Hancock and Plain streets. The meeting was held at the Metropolitan Yacht Club Monday night.

The 12-foot-high dam is owned by Messina Enterprises. The company is interested in removing it to reduce maintenance costs and liability.

The dam is a barrier to fish seeking to head farther up the river to spawn in its tributaries and Great Pond.

Carl Pawlowski, the Fore River Watershed Association's director of fisheries and water quality, said fish have been able to make it up river as far as a natural waterfall behind the Shaw's supermarket on Plain Street, a short distance from the dam.

Removing the dam would be "the best bang-for-the-buck project" in terms of ecological and economic benefits, Pawlowski said.

Bradford Chase, a marine fisheries biologist for the state Division of Marine Fisheries, said herring want to go as far upstream as possible to spawn. And when the herring head downstream, they attract larger species of fish.

"They will not stay in areas without a good forage base," Chase said of larger fish.

The Tri-Town Water Board is obtaining permits to add a fish ladder to the Great Pond Dam to eliminate another barrier to the pond.

Supporters are seeking state funding for additional studies and to obtain the permits needed to remove the Armstrong Dam.

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