Montpelier – The Pelletier Dam in Castleton, Vermont is scheduled to be removed by the end of this week. This derelict dam is located on North Breton Brook off of East Hubbardton Road and approximately 0.85 river miles upstream from the confluence with the Castleton River. The dam is stone, approximately 180 ft long by 20 ft high, and was originally built around 1792 to power an industrial marble mill (the Sherman Marble Mill complex). In addition to water power, the dam impoundment was also used for commercial ice harvesting. After the closing of the Marble Mill in this location, the dam was acquired by the State of Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department who recognize the ecological benefits of dam removal far outweigh the impoundment barrier that is currently blocking trout species from moving up and down North Breton Brook.
“For over 200 years the dam has caused a significant impediment to stream flow, sediment transport, water quality, public safety and fish passage along North Breton Brook and the Castleton River. The removal of this dam will reconnect approximately 37 miles of native wild eastern brook trout habitat and restore approximately 3000ft of riparian floodplain and stream habitat,” said Karina Dailey, Restoration Ecologist of Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC).
Approximately 15,000 cyd of sediment including phosphorus laden sediment is proposed to be removed from behind the dam in order to protect downstream infrastructure and restore the stream channels natural geomorphology. “The dam removal will not only restore natural sediment transport but will also lower surface water elevations to mitigate flooding associated with future large storm events” added Dailey.
This dam was ranked as a high impact dam based on a series of ecological value criteria and therefore was prioritized for removal by the VNRC. Goals of the project include, but are not limited to 1) the restoration of natural flow conveyance and sediment transport along this portion of North Breton Brook for improved water quality; 2) reconnecting the channel to adjacent floodplains; 3) restoring fish passage for all life stages of native trout and other resident fish species; and 4) and improving recreational access to North Breton Brook and this state land for the benefit of future generations.
Work tasks will generally involve physical removal of the Pelletier Dam; sediment removal and hauling offsite; stream channel restoration; and seeding and mulching. Restoration of the riparian area in the former impoundment including tree planting will be initiated in the year following dam removal. The dam removal implementation work is scheduled to start with plans for completion by late August.
The dam is located directly across the street from Green Mountain Soapstone or 680 E Hubbardton Rd., Castleton—limited parking is available at the Dam site.
Karina Dailey, restoration ecologist with VNRC, is managing the project in partnership with the landowners VT Fish and Wildlife Department. The Engineer on site is Gabe Bolin of Stone Environmental, and the construction firm completing the removal is Belden Construction of Rutland.
Funding for design, permitting, and construction has been provided by NEIWPCC in partnership with the Lake Champlain Basin Program, the National Fish Passage Program, The Nature Conservancy, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District.
Read more in The Rutland Herald