Abandoned Dams

Many of the dams that served to develop our communities in past centuries are unable to perform the functions for which they were designed today, and many are now abandoned.

Even when abandoned, these dams continue to impede the movement of fish, posing a threat to public safety, not to mention the negative environmental impact on our streams and rivers.

In the Petitcodiac River system, there are at least three abandoned dams, located in Humphreys Brook, Mill Creek and Back Brook.

The removal of dams is now recognized as an acceptable option for river restoration. Since the early 1990s, over 500 dams have been removed in North America.

During the summer of 2001, Riverkeeper obtained funding to hire a staff member (Charles LeGresley) to research and produce two detailed reports, a web site section and an educational poster dedicated to the issue of abandoned dams in the watershed. The first report entitled “Reclaiming Free Flow – An Information Guide on Removing Small Abandoned Dams” was an 80-page step-by-step guide aimed at assessing the decommissioning of abandoned dams in the Inner Bay of Fundy. The second report entitled “Assessment on Decommissioning the Abandoned Humphreys Brook Dam” was a 65-page report on the feasibility of removing this abandoned dam located in Moncton.

Public consultations were held on these findings and the recommendation made to proceed with a detailed assessment for this project. One thousand copies of the educational poster were printed and distributed to schools and community groups throughout the watershed. The project triggered the creation of the Humphreys dam removal project, which was ultimately implemented during the summer of 2013 and the Mill Creek fish passage restoration project.

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