A River’s Story is Captured in Norwich: Connecticut River Conservancy Looks to the Fish

April 25, 2019

The Connecticut River Conservancy worked with TimberHomes to place a timber frame interpretive signboard along the Charles Brown Brook in Norwich, Vermont this week.  The interpretive signboard tells the history of the dam in order to meet historic preservation requirements.  The wood used in the project is from Vermont forests using classic timber framing techniques.  The interpretive signboard itself is made of UV-resistant, durable materials that will ensure that it lasts well into the future.

The Connecticut River Conservancy worked with the Norwich Fire District to remove the old Norwich Reservoir dam on Charles Brown Brook in Norwich, VT.  The concrete dam was built in 1928 as a water source but became obsolete in 1981.  The project – which included removing the concrete dam, 758 truckloads of accumulated sediment, and in-stream habitat reconstruction – was funded by the Vermont Ecosystem Restoration Grant, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Vermont Fish & Wildlife, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Patagonia, Trout Unlimited, American Rivers, and the Norwich Conservation Commission. With the dam gone, native Brook trout and other aquatic wildlife can freely move throughout the entire river system from the Connecticut River to the headwaters (a total of 43 miles).

“We are happy to support this project,” said Bret Ladago, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department Fisheries Biologist.  “Charles Brown Brook is one of the best trout streams in this part of the state, and removing the dam is critical to restore access to up to 12.1 miles of stream once other barriers are addressed.  The next step is replanting the stream so that trees can provide shade to keep the stream cool.  Eventually leaves, branches and logs will fall in the stream and provide food and habitat for the bugs and fish that make this an exceptional place.”

This past Monday, the Connecticut River Conservancy, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, and other project partners celebrated Earth Day by beginning the planting of 1,931 native trees and shrubs along the Charles Brown Brook at the site of the former Norwich Reservoir Dam.  Connecticut River Conservancy volunteers and students from Marion Cross school in Norwich helped a planting crew from NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston, Vermont over three days of planting.

Above are photos of the interpretive signboard sharing the history of the dam and the river.  Below are photos of the Charles Brown Brook with the dam, and after the dam was removed.

To read more about their multiple dam removal projects in New Hampshire and Vermont, please visit the Connecticut River Conservancy.