Ox Pasture Brook, Rowley

Ox Pasture Brook is a tributary of the Mill River. It drains downtown Rowley and meets the Mill River just downstream from Route One near the Jewell Mill. The brook has been known to be polluted and impacted. In 2013, The Mass. Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) removed a head-of-tide dam on Ox Pasture Brook within land owned by MassWildife. See below for more information. The pollution was high counts of EColi bacteria and it was thought to be from failed septic systems in Rowley center. There is obviously some contribution from failed septic systems but there was also a pond where the neighbors fed a hundred or so ducks and geese. This practice was recognized and halted and the Brook began to improve.

The Chapter is now reassessing the health of Ox Pasture. Members are visiting the site of the old dam to monitor returning migratory fish like river herring and smelt. A public access is off of Route One by the Mill River, follow the edge of the river east and south around to the area labeled “Ox Pasture”. It is ticky, so spray your shoes and pants with repellent. And there is no real trail so be up for a challenge. Please make and share your observations. We do want to know what you see.

River Herring at Ox Pasture 2023, photo Stina MacDougall

2013 Ox Pasture Brook Restoration Complete With Help From Nor’East Chapter

TU Members John LeJeune, Jack Monaghan and Mike O’Neil assist in Ox Pasture Dam Removal Site Restoration:

Following is a note from Alex Hackman of Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration now of Mass. Audubon, thanking our volunteer members for their help.  Keep up the good work!

On Friday April 16th, project partners came together for the final day of site restoration activities at lower Ox Pasture Brook in Rowley. In the rain, sleet, and cold, about a dozen hearty souls from Trout Unlimited, the Northeast Mosquito Control District, the Mass Department of Fish and Game, and NOAA completed planting and cleanup work at the former dam site. The contribution from the Nor’East Chapter members was absolutely invaluable. On behalf of the Division of Ecological Restoration — and all of our project partners — you have our sincere thanks and gratitude. We honestly could not have done it without the tremendous help from these great volunteers on that tough day. Trout Unlimited is an invaluable partner working for the protection and restoration of our rivers and streams – we look forward to much more work together in the near future!”

TU out in force at Ox Pasture Brook_4-16-2010  Group Shot at Ox Pasture Brook_4-16-2010  Planting Day at Ox Pasture Brook_4-16-2010
Images courtesy of  Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration

Ox Pasture Brook’s Restoration Begins with First Dam Removal Project in Essex County

TU National assists Ox Pasture Brook Dam Removal:

This is an exciting opportunity for Trout Unlimited to assist with dam removals in Massachusetts,” said Trout Unlimited Director of Resources Joseph McGurrin. “It’s our understanding that there is a community-based effort to restore ‘salter’ trout to the Parker River watershed and barrier removal is an important part of restoring their habitat.”

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Images courtesy of  Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration