May Meeting – Interesting Insights Into Shawsheen Dam Removal Projects. We Need Your Help!

Nick Wildman presented an interesting talk last night on major dam removal projects in Massachusetts. Nick is the Priority Projects Coordinator for the MA Division of Ecological Restoration. His talk highlighted some of the major dam removal projects going on in Massachusetts right now. The Division will work with any dam owners that are interested in help with their dam removal project in hopes of returning these sites to their original flows to improve the rivers health and ecosystem. There have been many successful projects of late and most notably to our chapter the Ox Pasture Brook Project. Of current interest to the Nor’East Chapter is the proposed removal of two of the three dams in the Shawsheen River. Here is where we need your help. Earlier this month, the Town of Andover submitted an “Environmental Notification Form” (ENF) to the state’s Mass. Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) office, regarding removal of Balmoral and Marland Place Dams.

The purpose of the ENF is to inform the MEPA office and the public about the project, and to request the state waive the requirement for a full environmental review (EIR) document. You can see the full ENF (all 275 pages!) on the website, (last document under “tech resources”). THEY NEED YOUR SUPPORT NOW! Please send a letter to Secretary Sullivan, supporting the restoration project and the waiver request. You don’t need to be an Andover resident–any Massachusetts organization or individual can weigh in. The letter is due by 25 May. The following is all the information you need for the letter. You can cut-and-paste right into your letter; the rest should be in your own words. If you’re writing on behalf of an organization, please use letterhead if you have it.

Address the letter to:
Secretary Richard K. Sullivan, Jr.
Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
Attention: MEPA Office
100 Cambridge Street Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

At the top of the letter, note the following file number:

MEPA File #: 14889 – Shawsheen River Dam Removals and River Restoration Project

In your own words, make the following points:

  • You or your organization supports the Shawsheen River Restoration Project, specifically, removal of Balmoral and Marland Place Dam
  • Give your reasons why you support the restoration (for example, fish and wildlife restoration, ecosystem improvement, water quality improvement, paddling, fishing, aesthetics, potential flood reduction, improvement of public safety)
  • You or your organization supports the Town’s request to waive the full Environmental Impact Review (it’s important to use this language)

Please mail your letter directly to Secretary Sullivan by May 18 if possible, to allow for mailing times.

Thank you! This letter is extremely important to the restoration project.