Trout and other fish depend on the entire river system for survival, so connecting upstream and downstream habitats is important.
In 2018 the WRP worked with our partners to remove the Killooleet Dam remnants on the Hancock Branch of the White River. And we are currently working with a local engineer to design dam removal projects for 3 additional dams: one on the Second Branch and two on the First Branch of the White River. In sum these projects will restore 180 miles of the White River to free-flowing conditions!
In 2016 the WRP partnered with American Rivers, The Nature Conservancy, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Greater Upper Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and Ripple Natural Resources to remove the Randolph Dam on the Third Branch of the White River. No longer in use, the dam spanned the Third Branch underneath the Rte 12 bridge in Randolph village, and was a complete barrier to fish passage. Removing the dam restored fish passage to 98 miles of cold-water trout habitat.
Visit this link to learn more about the 2016 Randolph Dam removal project.
Replacing an under-sized stream-crossing culvert with a larger structure is a way to improve fish passage while increasing flood resilience. Three post-flood WRP culvert replacement projects are highlighted below:
In 2016 and 2017 the WRP worked with the town, US Forest Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and TR Fellows Engineering to replace two of three undersized culverts on Wing Brook in Rochester. Both the Maple Hill Road culvert and Marine Hill Road culvert are under-sized and prone to failure; they have been replaced with flood-resilient, fish-friendly structures using US Forest Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and National Forest Foundation funds. The third undersized culvert on Wing Brook at Wing Farm Road was replaced in 2018.
In 2017 the WRP worked with the town, Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission, VT Community Development Program, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and TR Fellows Engineering to replace the last under-sized culvert on Howe Brook, which begins in Rochester and enters the White River in Hancock. During Tropical Storm Irene Howe Brook bypassed the Churchville Road culvert, washing away .2 miles of the road, which cost $1 million to repair. Replacing the severely-undersized culvert with a bridge restores fish passage to the entire Howe Brook main stem and minimizes future flood damages in Hancock.
In Rochester, Tropical Storm Irene blew out numerous under-sized culverts and bridges. From 2011 – 2014 the WRP worked with the town and multiple partners, including the US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, and Trout Unlimited, to put in 6 right-sized crossing structures in three impacted stream systems: Oak Lodge Road and Fiske Road on Howe Brook; North Hollow Road and Marsh Brook Road on Marsh Brook; and Moose Run and Woodlawn Cemetery on Nason Brook.