WHERE: Hopewell Mills Dam can be accessed on the East bank of the Mill River, via a trail from Hopewell Street, near the Albro Street intersection in Taunton. Representatives of partner organizations are available to lead site visits on Thursday.
WHEN: Site preparation, including clearing vegetation for access, began last week, and the actual dam removal work will most likely begin the afternoon of Wednesday, August 8 and continue throughout the week. The full dam removal project will be completed by October 2012.
VISUALS: Tuesday afternoon, workers opened a gate and started to lower water levels in the impoundment. Late Wednesday or Thursday morning they will begin using an excavator to remove layers of concrete from the dam’s spillway. This will allow more water to drain, dramatically lowering water levels in the impoundment, which must occur before other structures can be removed.
BACKGROUND: The Hopewell Mills Dam Removal Project kicks off the restoration of the Mill River, an ecologically significant tributary to the Taunton River. The goal of the Mill River Restoration Project is to re-connect thirty miles of upstream tributaries, lakes and natural ponds with the Mill River, the dam-free Taunton River, and Narragansett Bay. Removing the Hopewell Mills dam and other aging dams will help to return river herring to the Canoe River, Snake River and upstream ponds for the first time in more than 200 years. The project will also improve habitat for American eel, resident fish, and wildlife such as the cedar waxwing and painted turtle. Finally, the project will create jobs and address public safety threats posed by aging mill dams in Taunton.
Photographs are available and reporters are welcome to visit the site. For interviews or site access, please contact the partners listed above.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.