Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Amethyst Dam removed.....time lapse video

The state of MA recently undertook the removal of the Amethyst Dam in West Pelham MA (in western MA).

According to the Amherst (MA) Bulletin Newspaper the dam was originally used to power a fly-fishing rod factory (Bartlett Fishrods) that was dominant through much of the 19th century.

Here is a link to the time lapsed video that shows the progress of the removal: Video

According to the Bulletin article, the state of MA still has over 5000 small industrial dams still standing with only a couple of hundred that are useful. It is a long and slow process to identify the ones that can be removed safely.

There are three in the town where I live and they have been attempting to remove them for several years. In October 2012 it was announced that they would be taken down in 2014. The cost will be $750,000 to $1,000,000 and will be paid with a combination of state funds, federal funds, donations and contributions from the owners of the dams according to the Center of Ecosystems Restoration.

On the horizon is one of the dams that will be removed.


  1. Ed,
    Anytime one of those obsolete dams comes down it's a benefit to all. New England is full of them. Is the river a trout stream?

  2. Hi Alan...according to the director of the MA Division of Ecological Restoration, Amethyst Brook feeds into Fort River that eventually meets the Connecticut River. The hope is that removal of the dam will restore habitat for migrating fish populations like the brook trout, American Eel and the slimy sculpin.

    I can't wait for them to get rid of the dams in my town. The Shawsheen River meets the Merrimack River that flows to the Atlantic Ocean. The potential to create something wonderful is awesome. Bike paths, walking/snow shoeing paths, kayak or boat launch areas, fishing, etc. for dozens of miles.

    Once the dam removal begins I will document its progress.

  3. Amazing video Mac. I for one celebrate any time a dam like this comes down. Thanks for this post. Have a Merry Christmas Mac.

  4. Hi Howard,

    I am with you on that thought because until I started fly-fishing I never gave these dams much thought; however, now I am getting closer to becoming an activist (getting involved with my TU chapter to clean up rivers, fish counts, stocking, etc.) and I have a different view of the dams now. I also had the same epiphany about insects after I started fly-fishing (i.e. no interest other than to kill them to an inquisitive interest).

    I am glad that you liked the video.

    Thanks for the Christmas sentiment and stopping by.