Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mill River channel restoration completed

Other than touch-up work, stream channel restoration is done.  I took this picture from the middle of the impoundment looking downstream towards the former dam.  At the upper right hand corner of the photo is a bare slope.  This is where the Hopewell Mills Dam sat.  It extended from that bare slope all the way to the right edge of the photo.

I took this photo from the downstream end of the impoundment; it's the last meander bend before the river reaches the former dam site.  The engineering plans included pools, point bars, and gravel deposits, all of which can be seen in this photo.

 I took this picture from the middle of the impoundment looking upstream.  The brick Reed & Barton silver mill is in the distance.  Now that the channel construction is done, the crews will continue removing contaminated sediment from the floodplain and plant the floodplain with native trees and shrubs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Celebration of the Mill River

On Friday, October 19th, project partners, friends and local officials gathered to celebrate the Mill River, the removal of the Hopewell Mills Dam, and the future of the restored river. Tim Watts gave a fitting tribute to the past and future of this beautiful river, and reminded us of why we were all gathered together. The Wild & Scenic Stewardship Council presented Barney Frank with a National Park Service Wild & Scenic River sign to thank him for his dedication to the Taunton River and local communities. Officials from all of the participating agencies, as well as local legislators and the mayor of Taunton spoke about what the project means for the community.

Special thanks was given to our partners at the Department of Mental Health who have gone above and beyond to see the Hopewell Mills project completed. Special recognition was also given to the Reed and Barton CEO and CFO who have pledged to support the final phase of the project, removal of the West Brittania dam, located on their property.

A tour of the Hopewell Mills project was provided by Nick Nelson from Interfluve, and participants were able to see the newly constructed stream banks, pools, riffles and large woody habitat that will form the structure of the stream. Here are links to media coverage in South Coast Today and the Taunton Gazette.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Channel construction continues

The banks of the Mill River are taking shape as meander bends are constructed using coconut fiber soil lifts. These banks will provide structure to the channel until plants take hold. The bottom layer will become part of the channel bottom with gravel and cobbles, and the top two layers will degrade over time as plants grow.

Large wood and root wads from the trees that were once on the dam will later be placed in the channel to add habitat structure and a place for fish to hide and turtles to bask. The floodplain surrounding the channel will be a lower elevation and will be able to store floodwater at high flows.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Mill River channel takes shape

Last week, construction crews finished roughing in the Mill River channel through the former impoundment.  The new channel has a gentle slope and meanders across the new floodplain.  The photo above gives a sense of the curves; this photo was taken from the mid-point of the impoundment looking downstream.  This week crews will begin constructing the stream banks by building burritos of soil.  Crews will also place gravel in the bed of the stream.
Meanwhile, the impoundment continues to green-up with pioneer wetland species and grasses.  "This looks better than my lawn," said one visitor.

The photo above was taken at the former dam looking upstream.  Again, you can get a sense of the sinuosity of the new channel as it winds off to the left.