Our Work

VNRC Receives River Restoration & Dam Removal Feasibility Grant

Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) has received a $35,000 Ecosystem Restoration Grant from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Clean Water Initiative Program (CWIP) to fund a feasibility study and preliminary design for restoration of a segment of Indian Brook in Colchester by removing the Mill Pond Dam.

Currently, Vermont has more than 1,000 dams with hundreds serving no useful purpose. These ‘deadbeat’ dams block fish passage, create safety hazards for boaters, swimmers and other recreationists, and compromise river habitat. VNRC works in partnership with river scientists and aquatic biologists, anglers, community members, freshwater advocates, and conservation organizations to restore and reconnect Vermont rivers through dam removal. In the Lake Champlain Basin area, VNRC partners with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to catalyze dam removals in Vermont, and TNC will be providing technical expertise with this project.

“Built to power our industrial past, many small dams are no longer properly maintained and some have been abandoned,” noted Brian Fitzgerald, VNRC’s dam project & Vermont Dam Task Force coordinator. “Mill Pond Dam is one of those old unused dams, and I’m excited to see this project move forward. The owner acquired the dam last year when she bought her home, and she quickly realized the dam is a liability and the stream would benefit from its removal. She reached out and asked if VNRC could help.” 

For more than fifty years, VNRC has been Vermont’s leader in protecting and restoring our state’s natural resources and communities. By building coalitions, working together, and offering common sense solutions, VNRC works with communities and at the statehouse to set the standard for an approach to environmental protection that works. Dam owners interested in removing dams on their property can learn more and contact us at freevtrivers.org.