Author Topic: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Pond)  (Read 1870 times)

Offline zwiggles

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Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Pond)
« on: Jan 08, 2021, 10:48 AM »
At the moment there is a move to either repair, or remove the head of the tide dam in Durham. A friend of mine is trying to steer the decision towards removal.

Does anyone have any interest in helping out, or any experience with successful removals? If so send me a PM, or reply on here.

Monetarily it makes sense to remove, but for anyone who knows Durham there is going to be push back from residents about the potential change. Environmentally it would be a big win, and as luck would have it removal will be far less expensive then repair.

Offline Roccus

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #1 on: Jan 08, 2021, 11:05 AM »
At the moment there is a move to either repair, or remove the head of the tide dam in Durham. A friend of mine is trying to steer the decision towards removal.

Does anyone have any interest in helping out, or any experience with successful removals? If so send me a PM, or reply on here.

Monetarily it makes sense to remove, but for anyone who knows Durham there is going to be push back from residents about the potential change. Environmentally it would be a big win, and as luck would have it removal will be far less expensive then repair.
didn't they do something similar in Exeter..it would be nice for the environmental point of view..
"A mans got to know his limitations"

Offline chasingflags

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #2 on: Jan 08, 2021, 11:10 AM »
Its not in NH but they removed a dam in Pepperell MA on the Nissitissit River at rt 111.  I know Charlie at the Evening Sun Fly Shop was instrumental in getting this removed.  You may want to call down there and ask him for advice.  Im sure hed be more than willing to give you info or connections on who to talk to. 
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Offline Coffin Dodger

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #3 on: Jan 08, 2021, 11:35 AM »
didn't they do something similar in Exeter..it would be nice for the environmental point of view..
They did, just a few years ago.
There was a lot of hate and discontent while discussing/getting it approved. It was a close vote.
It was pretty common for the downtown shops to get flooded. It was not a cheap project, but cheaper than rebuilding the dam. The outfit that did it, did a great job! It's great to see the alewives running farther upstream.
Zwiggles, you may be surprised at Durham's reaction? They're a pretty snooty bunch over there (next door to me). But, they're an educated lot and very environmentally friendly and active. I'd be a little surprised if they weren't aware and supportive of the benefits of removing that dam. 

Offline AQUAASSASSIN

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #4 on: Jan 08, 2021, 11:38 AM »
It would be phenomenal for the Brook trout/ Salters  and Smelt fishery.

You count your years by the Winters.

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Offline jpease

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #5 on: Jan 08, 2021, 05:37 PM »
I watched the removal of the Edwards dam on the Kennebec River in augusta. There was lots of talking before doing it and anger from the upstream landowners. Environment won, and I dont think anyone really had anything bad to say about it after it was done.

Offline tbbjcm

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #6 on: Jan 14, 2021, 07:46 PM »
It comes down to money.   Newmarket ponied up $2M to repair the Macallen Dam.  Focal point for business.  Winnicut river dam came down 13 years ago.  No studies to prove if it helped environmentally. 

Offline zwiggles

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #7 on: Jan 15, 2021, 11:38 AM »
It comes down to money.   Newmarket ponied up $2M to repair the Macallen Dam.  Focal point for business.  Winnicut river dam came down 13 years ago.  No studies to prove if it helped environmentally.

Huh? The dam is a focal point for business? The Newmarket dam was a joke, it costed way more to repair then remove, there was even an existing ledge under the dam and it would not have reduced the levels as much as people think. Some old lady came down to one of the meetings and said ďthis isnít the Newmarket I want to knowĒ (without the dam), and everyoneís brains melted. My friend who lives in town and pays taxes still boils over it because the repair had something like a 6-60 year warranty on the work done, lol. And it was like 600k to remove I think?

If it came down to money none of these foolish dams, which provide zero economic value, would be repaired because itís cheaper to remove in most scenarios locally. These are old defunct dams that now serve no functional purpose other then to continue to hurt the Great Bay ecosystem.

And the winnicut dam ďremovalĒ was a joke. Itís a ALS dam, which only shad and ALS can pass (you see these in some of the remaining ALS waters up north). Itís useless for the salter trout, alewives, smelt, etc except in the most ideal conditions.

Offline tbbjcm

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #8 on: Jan 15, 2021, 03:25 PM »
Huh? The dam is a focal point for business? The Newmarket dam was a joke, it costed way more to repair then remove, there was even an existing ledge under the dam and it would not have reduced the levels as much as people think. Some old lady came down to one of the meetings and said ďthis isnít the Newmarket I want to knowĒ (without the dam), and everyoneís brains melted. My friend who lives in town and pays taxes still boils over it because the repair had something like a 6-60 year warranty on the work done, lol. And it was like 600k to remove I think?

If it came down to money none of these foolish dams, which provide zero economic value, would be repaired because itís cheaper to remove in most scenarios locally. These are old defunct dams that now serve no functional purpose other then to continue to hurt the Great Bay ecosystem.

And the winnicut dam ďremovalĒ was a joke. Itís a ALS dam, which only shad and ALS can pass (you see these in some of the remaining ALS waters up north). Itís useless for the salter trout, alewives, smelt, etc except in the most ideal conditions.

I understand your perspective and agree when it comes to hard costs.  Economic "value" is subjective and extends beyond repair removal costs.  They drained the Lamprey to fix the dam, and water level dropped at least six feet.  Except for the few deep holes, there was no water.  The river was less than six inches deep in areas and there was no way fish could move up and down the river.  Removal of the dam would drop the water at least six feet if not more, regardless of the ledge, completely changing the river ecosystem.  I have some pictures on an old phone from walking the river in early October.  It was horrifying.   

As for the Mill Dam, Mill Pond does not see the recreational activity or have the economic value of the Lamprey.  It is a stagnant pond with poor water quality.  Similar to the Winnicut dam, removal will do nothing to improve the water quality of the bay or the migrating fish.  I think we both agree, in the case of the Mill dam, removing is the best overall financial decision. 

The Great Bay ecosystems biggest enemy is nitrogen.  The EPA imposed stringent limits that some towns (Newmarket) adopted a few years ago to protect the bay.  Other towns are looking to collaborate on a solution now. 

I can't speak to past decisions, and I am sorry your friend doesn't like the taxes in town.  I am sure he is in the majority.  I spend a lot of time on the Lamprey and Great Bay.  I chose to live in a town with high taxes to enjoy the recreation opportunities readily available from ice fishing, trout fishing, striper fishing, etc, and I fully support all activities to protect the bay. 


Offline zwiggles

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #9 on: Jan 15, 2021, 05:14 PM »
Nice response 👍

I canít say I agree with it all, but Iím happy for a discussion.

I am curious as to why you think removing the dams would hurt great bay? I get certainly the influx, and issues that would arise short term, but long term wouldnít removal/return to a natural state be good for the bay overall? My biggest frustration with the dams, is it seems short sited in most cases, and especially in regards to head of the water dams. Dams in the greater sea coast are mostly useless from a function perspective. Most are relics of the textile boom.

The returns of herring in particular in the oyster are depressingly low. It historically was the biggest run of them all, and had almost all the blue back herring our tiny little coastal ecosystem had period.

I would also say the way the lamprey has looked, while startling and depressing, would be changing dramatically over the course of the next several years if the dam had been removed. It would continue to become more and more natural/wild as time passed, and more dams went down.

Getting rid of all the dams magically overnight would have drastic effects on the bay for years, but eventually it would become healthier over time as it returned to the same form it had since the ice age? The ecosystem would take time to adjust, but I fully believe Mother Nature would figure it out pretty quick.

Offline zwiggles

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #10 on: Jan 15, 2021, 05:16 PM »
Also the stupid drought cycle we are in has all the rivers at incredibly low flows. Mid October anything but spring fed streams where just a drip.

Offline tbbjcm

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #11 on: Jan 15, 2021, 06:54 PM »
Zwiggles - great discussion - I thank you for the exchange and value your opinions.  Great questions.........

I am all for returning the land and waters to their natural state.  People impacted the natural environment.  Mother nature will fix itself in time.  What we do in between while we are alive is up to us now. 

Population growth within the Great Bay watershed is impacting Great Bay.  Runoff from fertilization (we all have to have the greenest lawn to keep up with the Jones' - crap by my standards - rather fish than cut grass, but Trugreen is everywhere dropping fertilizer), and more septic waste going into treatment plants that haven't upgraded to keep up with the population increase to limit nitrogen discharge are major impacts to Great Bay. 

The GB watershed is nutrient rich.  It is all related to development and population influx.  Unless there are controls put in place to manage population growth or there are WWT treatment upgrades, the dam discussion has nothing to do with protecting GB.  Dam removal is a financial discussion and really has no impact on the health GB as dams have no control over the nitrogen load which is the main issue impacting the bay.  Thoughts? 
   



 

   




Offline tbbjcm

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #12 on: Jan 15, 2021, 06:59 PM »
and yes, the drought didn't help, but if you are going to drain a river, I guess during the time of a drought is the best. 

I appreciate the dialogue. 
 

Offline AQUAASSASSIN

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #13 on: Jan 15, 2021, 07:02 PM »
I too appreciate this dialogue

Its unlike the dialogue I am indulging in now on another thread. This one helps raise IQ
You count your years by the Winters.

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Offline zwiggles

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #14 on: Jan 15, 2021, 07:04 PM »
I think I have had a bit too much too drink to respond tonight,  ;D

Offline AQUAASSASSIN

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #15 on: Jan 15, 2021, 07:04 PM »
I think I have had a bit too much too drink to respond tonight,  ;D

Check the other thread at the top! Dick is looking for people who drank tonight?
You count your years by the Winters.

Itís not being Cocky if you can back it up.

Offline tbbjcm

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #16 on: Jan 15, 2021, 07:07 PM »
Damn - once again, I am behind everyone.  Time for a cold one or more....

Offline zwiggles

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #17 on: Jan 18, 2021, 03:53 PM »
I swear I havenít been on a bender  :whistle:

Correct me if Iím wrong, but you seem to be of the opinion that the dams help keep great bay clean by creating ďsettling tanksĒ for the nutrient load above the dams? If Iím following correctly, thatís pretty interesting and honestly an angle I havenít considered.

Without having really read up, or talked to anyone about it I would say in theory it certainly makes sense, but isnít it akin to using a band aid in a arterial wound? The nutrients settle behind the dams, but they still work there way into the bay eventually right? Removing a dam adds a load of nutrients in the short term, but long term isnít the nutrient load going to decrease?

Wouldnít the bay benefit from the return of those anadromous species in ways we canít see easily such as adding biomass and no true to which say oysters, and shellfish use? Do the shellfish help to clean the nutrients out of the bay? Again Iím spitballing, but I would think long term itís combo of what we are saying right?

Dam removal, plus better human waste treatment plants, and careful planning to keep out remaining waterways clean while also providing housing for a growing pop? I know thereís a million factors at play, but if this dam gets repaired itís going to probably be up the rest of our lifetime.

Offline zwiggles

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #18 on: Jan 18, 2021, 03:54 PM »
Or maybe take some of the money saved from removal vs repair and out it towards nutrient mitigation or improvement of waste treatemrny facilities?

Offline zwiggles

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #19 on: Feb 01, 2021, 04:58 PM »
Bumping this back to the top.

Also if anyone has any interest in emailing in with their opinions on the dam removal let me know, and I can send you some info. I am writing a letter/email tonight, but even non resident input would be helpful. I went to college there I think so thatís what Iím saying  ;D

Offline tbbjcm

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #20 on: Feb 01, 2021, 06:21 PM »
Or maybe take some of the money saved from removal vs repair and out it towards nutrient mitigation or improvement of waste treatemrny facilities?

Sorry - back into this thread.  Two week bender................

OK - good question - Dams do nothing to protect the bay from excess nitrogen.  Limiting or controlling nitrogen within the GB watershed will protect GB from excess nutrient load.     

In my opinion, removal of the Mill dam would do nothing to help anadromous species or the bay.  I don't know how Mill Pond is fed, but it doesn't seem to have headwaters to support restoration of anadromous species (same situation as previously mentioned in an earlier post with the Winnicut dam).  I may be wrong. 

If solely a financial decision, I would like to see Mill dam removed and extra funds used to upgrade WWT plants and work towards mitigating or controlling point and non-point sources of nitrogen.  If Mill pond had more "recreational" value or opportunity, my opinion may differ.     

Good post - thank you again.............

 

 

Offline Steve H.

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #21 on: Feb 02, 2021, 02:08 PM »
I don't know how Mill Pond is fed, but it doesn't seem to have headwaters to support restoration of anadromous species (same situation as previously mentioned in an earlier post with the Winnicut dam).  I may be wrong.

It's the Oyster River and you are very wrong.  When I was at UNH back in the 80s, there were so many alewives in the upper river you would walk across on their backs.  Not saying the run is as strong now but removing the dam would certainly help.

Offline zwiggles

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #22 on: Feb 02, 2021, 03:03 PM »
It's the Oyster River and you are very wrong.  When I was at UNH back in the 80s, there were so many alewives in the upper river you would walk across on their backs.  Not saying the run is as strong now but removing the dam would certainly help.

Actually the runs are at historic lows. I may have them confused but the blueback herring run on The oyster was the biggest historically, and the last few surveyed have showed drastically decreasing numbers.

Offline Steve H.

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #23 on: Feb 02, 2021, 03:09 PM »
Actually the runs are at historic lows. I may have them confused but the blueback herring run on The oyster was the biggest historically, and the last few surveyed have showed drastically decreasing numbers.

You're right, bluebacks not alewives.  Though the distinction is academic (pun intended).

https://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/fishing/profiles/blueback-herring.html

Offline AQUAASSASSIN

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #24 on: Feb 02, 2021, 03:09 PM »
Actually the runs are at historic lows. I may have them confused but the blueback herring run on The oyster was the biggest historically, and the last few surveyed have showed drastically decreasing numbers.

You have it right, Bluebacks come after Alewives typically, I plan my striper fishing around then as I think they are preferred up the rivers. Way more Alewives around. People think they are one in the same. I have not caught a Striped Bass in the upper portion (Jackson, towns) Landing In over 20 years and I attribute it to this.
You count your years by the Winters.

Itís not being Cocky if you can back it up.

Offline AQUAASSASSIN

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #25 on: Feb 02, 2021, 03:10 PM »
Lol just saw you added a link, that works
You count your years by the Winters.

Itís not being Cocky if you can back it up.

Offline tbbjcm

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #26 on: Feb 03, 2021, 06:54 PM »
It's the Oyster River and you are very wrong.  When I was at UNH back in the 80s, there were so many alewives in the upper river you would walk across on their backs.  Not saying the run is as strong now but removing the dam would certainly help.

I don't understand what you mean by upper river.  The Oyster River, above the dam, is nothing but a tricking brook like the Winnicut that was mentioned in an earlier post.  Dam aside, have you tried to take a boat up the Oyster river at low tide up to the dam?  Good luck.  Dinged props in the channel while the motor was trimmed - no water. 

I caught many large stripers in the Oyster River years ago.  Haven't caught the number or size in ten plus years.  The dam has been there for as long as I fished the river.  Using your logic of a run vs dam -if there is no fish at the dam looking to move upstream now, will the fish know the dam is gone?  There are still runs of fish up the Swamscott and Lamprey Rivers...........

Appreciate the dialogue......

                 

   

Offline Steve H.

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #27 on: Feb 04, 2021, 09:15 AM »
I don't understand what you mean by upper river.  The Oyster River, above the dam, is nothing but a tricking brook like the Winnicut that was mentioned in an earlier post.  Dam aside, have you tried to take a boat up the Oyster river at low tide up to the dam?  Good luck.  Dinged props in the channel while the motor was trimmed - no water. 

Appreciate the dialogue.....






Offline Steve H.

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #28 on: Feb 04, 2021, 10:55 AM »
The Oyster River, above the dam, is nothing but a tricking brook like the Winnicut that was mentioned in an earlier post.  Dam aside, have you tried to take a boat up the Oyster river at low tide up to the dam?  Good luck.  Dinged props in the channel while the motor was trimmed - no water. 

Appreciate the dialogue......

As I mentioned earlier, that "trickling brook" was capable of supporting tens of thousands of spawning herring, even with the dam in place.  It was May of 1986 and I remember it well.  A buddy of mine and I heard that the Oyster River was stocked each spring with a few hundred brook trout, but we weren't sure exactly where as we were new to the area as freshmen students at UNH.  We started at the Mill Rd bridge and walked downstream with our ultralight spinning rods and Rooster Tails.  We didn't get far downstream, about where the houses on Oyster River Rd started to show their backyards, when we noticed thousands of small fish in every pool we came across.  Turns out the were blueback herring and there were no brook trout to be found.  (Found out later that the stocking was way up river toward Lee.) 

Offline zwiggles

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Re: Off Topic/ Durham Dam Removal (Mill Brook)
« Reply #29 on: Feb 04, 2021, 11:55 AM »

Origin: Native
 
Conservation/Management: Blueback herring numbers have declined throughout their range. Commercial landings of river herring, a collective term for alewives and blueback herring, have declined by 95% since 1950. These declines have been observed in local rivers, such as the Oyster River in Durham and the Taylor River in Hampton. Twenty years ago, these rivers supported productive blueback herring runs with counts exceeding 100,000. Currently, only a few thousand blueback herring are counted at the Oyster River each spring and the Taylor River blueback herring run has been reduced to less than 100 fish.

And the numbers are just getting worse. I believe this is outdated. The Taylor survey is gonzo, because no fish, and the numbers are dropping hard on the oyster.

https://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/fishing/profiles/blueback-herring.html

 



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