Workers remove 200-year-old dam blocking Pawcatuck River

HOPKINTON, R.I. (WPRI/AP) — Workers have removed a 200-year-old dam in Rhode Island, allowing fish to swim upriver for the first time since the dam was built.

Tim Mooney, the Preserve Manager at The Rhode Island Nature Conservancy, said the Pawcatuck River was rerouted back to its natural channel in Hopkinton on Friday. Migratory fish such as American eels and blueback herring will now be able to breed upstream and the dam removal allows canoes and kayaks to pass through the area.

Scott Comings, associate state director of R.I. TNC, says the dam removal will have a positive impact on the entire river system.

Work to remove the dam started two years ago. The $2 million project was partially funded with federal Superstorm Sandy recovery money and various donations.

The project contractor will return next week to fill the bypass channel. Mooney said they are two to three weeks from completing construction in the area.