The Pelletier Dam in Castleton was a derelict dam located on the North Breton Brook off of East Hubbardton Road and approximately 0.85 river miles upstream from the confluence with the Castleton River. The dam was stone, approximately 180 ft long by 20 ft high, and was originally built around 1792 to power an industrial marble mill (the Sherman Marble Mill complex). In addition to water power, the dam impoundment was also used for commercial ice harvesting. After the closing of the Marble Mill in this location, the dam was acquired by the State of Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department who recognized that the ecological benefits of dam removal far outweighed the impoundment barrier that is currently blocking trout species from moving up and down North Breton Brook. The removal of the dam has opened approximately 37 miles of wild trout habitat. For the first time in over 200 years, trout will be able to move freely up and downstream, reconnecting populations and expanding habitat. The removal of the dam also restores about 3000 feet of riparian floodplain and habitat that were previously buried under the pond. This riparian area will act as a sponge, soaking up rain during flood events and improving flood resiliency.
The dam removal was led by the Vermont Natural Resources Council with support from NEIWPCC in partnership with the Lake Champlain Basin Program, US Fish and Wildlife Service through the National Fish Passage Program, VNRC, The Nature Conservancy, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District.
Photo credits: Karina Dailey, Vermont Natural Resources Council