The removal of an old (circa 1870) ice pond dam restored 10 square miles of stream habitat in Rutland County this past summer. Long known as the Kendrick Pond dam, the dam site was initially constructed as a saw mill and the impoundment later supported an ice harvesting business. The dam became obsolete, the impoundment is filled in with sediment, and the dam structure was failing and unsafe.
The Town of Pittsford, Vermont led the removal of Kendrick Pond Dam on Sugar Hollow Brook during the summer of 2014. Prior to the removal, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation performed topographical and depth surveys, sediment probing, and sediment quality testing to ensure the dam removal could be done safely and in compliance with State rules. These studies revealed that the sediment behind the dam contained a high nutrient content, and the release of sediment downstream would have had a detrimental impact on water quality and aquatic biota. Milone & MacBroom, Inc. was therefore hired by the Town for additional data collection and to develop a Sediment Management Plan to reduce the risks associated with dam removal.
This collaborative project is a partnership between the Town of Pittsford (which owns the land where the dam sits), the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Agency of Natural Resources. The majority of funding was secured from the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture Program, which fosters a collaborative approach to brook trout management and restoration efforts, and additional funding was leveraged through the Watershed Management Division’s Ecosystem Restoration Program, and the VT Watershed Grant Program.
The dam removal project required the removal of approximately 12,600 cubic yards of accumulated sediment with the slow dewatering of the impoundment area and then the removal of the laid-up stone and concrete dam structure. The stream reach through the dam structure and up through the impoundment area emerged as a small gorge once the sediment was removed.
Sugar Hollow Brook supports brown, brook and rainbow trout downstream of Kendrick Dam and brook trout are the dominant species above the dam. Some remnants of the old dam and mill foundation will be left in place for a historic interpretation of what had previously existed. With the project now completed, the town intends to convert the land into a park that will provide public access to fishing and a cool and tranquil spot for a picnic.