HOPKINTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The final phase to remove the 200-year-old Bradford Dam in Hopkinton is in full swing.
In some shape or form, the dam was located there since the 1700’s.
During the final phase of the dam’s removal, the Pawcatuck River was temporarily moved.
Crews are working hard to complete a new and improved riverbed that will soon be filled with rushing water. The new riverbed will act as a staircase for fish like herring and shad to migrate.
“They will rest in a pool, and then they will keep going,” Scott Comings of the Rhode Island Nature Conservancy said. “And before, they would have just hit the dam and had to figure out a way around the dam through the fish ladder, which had fairly low success.”
But helping out the fish and the surrounding ecosystem is only the first reason for this project. Comings said the second reason is for flood abatement.
“The dam that was here was in disrepair and could have failed at any point,” he explained.
Half of the $2 million used for the project comes from federal Sandy Relief funds, the other half from a combination of state and foundation money.
Suzanna Paton of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said much of the funding came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and through working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association.
This current round of restoration on the Pawcatuck goes back to 2010, according to Paton.
The project is on schedule to be completed by the end of 2017.