Beaver Brook, Wilmington (2023)

The Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC), in collaboration with a private dam owner, the Town of Wilmington, the State of Vermont, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), completed a dam removal project on Beaver Brook in Wilmington, VT.

The project will improve water quality, restore native Brook trout habitat, and bolster flood resiliency in Beaver Brook, a vital tributary to the Deerfield River.

CRC received funding for the dam removal from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation through the Dam Removal Design and Implementation Block Grant administered by Watersheds United Vermont. Additional funding was provided by Vermont’s Flood Resilient Communities Fund, the Vermont Watershed Grant Program, Deerfield River Enhancement Fund, VT Rural Fire Protection Dry Hydrant Grant Program, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Thanks to a truly collaborative effort, Beaver Brook is now a free-flowing river with updated infrastructure benefiting the ecosystem as well as the human community! Important funders, landowners, restoration experts, and fish biologists all came together to make this project happen.” – Rebecca Todd, Connecticut River Conservancy’s Executive Director.

In addition to removing the old mill dam, CRC and project partners removed a town-owned culvert on Hall Rd. and installed a new bridge, and upgraded the Town’s dry hydrant at the site. The US Fish and Wildlife Maintenance Action Team removed the undersized culvert and installed the new 40-foot bridge, which improves flood resiliency and emergency access to Hall Rd. CRC hired local contractor Joe Saladino to remove the privately owned dam – which resulted in lowering the flood elevation level by 7 feet – and to install the new dry hydrant.

CRC and USFWS will be back on site in the spring of 2024 to finish the restoration of the site by planting more than 130 native trees and shrubs along the stream to restore the riparian area along Beaver Brook. Over time the trees will help keep the stream cooler, reduce erosion, and increase habitat.

Several key members of U.S. Fish & Wildlife staff were recognized as Connecticut River Conservancy’s Restoration Partners of the Year for their incredible work on this project. Pictured in the center photo from left to right above are Ron Rhodes, CRC’s Director of Restoration; Dave Sagan from the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program at U.S. Fish & Wildlife; Phillip Herzig and Julie Butler from the Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program at U.S. Fish & Wildlife; and Becky Budd, CRC’s Restoration Program Manager. This project wouldn’t have happened without USFWS funding and their staff expertise in implementing river restoration projects like this.

Vermont’s Watershed Grant Fund mentioned above supported this project thanks to conservation plates like these! The Watershed Grant Fund assists local efforts related to stewardship and enjoyment of our water resources.