Seventeen miles of prime habitat was recently opened up to Brook Trout and other aquatic species in the Ompompanoosuc River at the site of the Geer Dam in West Fairlee. The small dam was built by its namesake in 1983 for hydro-electric power generation by a retired Dartmouth professor and farmer. No longer producing electricity and acting as a blockage to upstream movement of aquatic species and downstream movement of stream materials, the dam was listed as a priority for removal in the Basin 14 Tactical Basin Plan in 2015.
Ron Rhodes of the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) and active watershed partner to the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation received funding for the removal of the dam from CRC, Upper Connecticut Mitigation and Enhancement Fund (MEF), and the Conservation Alliance. Rhodes worked with the landowner, town officials, neighbors, and permitting agencies to ensure a successful removal that engaged local businesses and reused dam materials. The removal took six days total and was completed on August 21, 2017. A short video of the removal produced by Ibex Outdoor Clothing, a member of the Conservation Alliance, is below. Photos shared by Ron Rhodes.