Dams, like the 80-year-old Ed Bills Dam on the eastern side of the Eight Mile River in Lyme, dot the Connecticut landscape.
They are signs of our industrial past and once powered the mills that have long gone.
Now they are an ancient barricade to migrating fish and herring looking to spaw upstream.
"People are also understanding we need to care of river health and that means to removing these structures which are preventing fish from reaching prime spawning habitat,” said Sally Harold, of The Nature Conservancy.
Before winter, the $600,000 federally funded project will revert the landscape back to the river’s natural flow, reduce the liability to property owners and increase the land value.
The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has already removed the fish from a nearby pond.
Next, the dam will be removed, and the ultimate goal is to bring it back to nature.
Fritz Gahagan’s family has owned the dam and the neighboring land for centuries.
"There will be quite a bit more work to reestablish the old channel then put in plantings to make sure the banks remain stable,” Gahagan said.
"These dam removals have been picking up as we get more funding to be able to remove these dilapidated and aging structures,” Harold added.
Further east in Pawcatuck, on the border with Rhode Island, contractors are finishing up the removal of the 113-foot White Rock Dam in Stonington.
The river is already running its natural course, and soon other dams will slowly go away, bringing the past into the future.
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