Dam Removal Benefits

Restoring Vermont's Rivers

By removing dams that no longer serve a useful purpose, we work to restore natural watershed and riverine processes, reduce flood risk, increase community resiliency, and improve fish habitat and overall ecological integrity.

Why do dams need to go?

Flood mitigation

  • Dams result in exorbitant flood recovery costs and higher liability insurance premiums for owners.
  • Dam removal lowers water levels during high-flow events, decreasing the risk of flooding.
  • Dam removal erases liability associated with dams—damage downstream if the dam fails, or injury of someone at the dam—which lowers homeowner insurance premiums.
  • Dam removal eliminates the cost of periodic inspections, maintenance, and repairs to keep the dam safe.

Water quality

  • Dams disrupt the natural movement of sediment downstream.
  • Dams alter natural streamflow cycles and reduce dissolved oxygen in the water.
  • Dams cause unnatural sediment stratification behind the dam, versus aiding natural sediment transport.
  • Dam impoundments increase water temperature and trap nutrients, which can lead to excess algal growth

Aquatic habitat

  • Dams restrict the upstream and downstream movement of fish and other aquatic life, and degrade aquatic habitat.
  • Dams increase water temperature, lower velocity, and lack substrate variability, which ultimately results in lower biodiversity
  • Dams alter cold-water organism habitat, creating a slow, warm water lake environment.

Recreation

  • Removing dams creates opportunities to safely swim, fish, and paddle in Vermont’s rivers and streams.
  • Dam removal restores fish populations, opening up new fishing areas for anglers.
  • Dam removal enhances river access to navigable water

Are you a dam owner interested in removing a dam on your property? 

Read more here about how we can help you make it happen. Plus, find FAQs about dams and dam removal — and how you can take the first step to a free-flowing river on your property.