Buzzards Bay Coalition to demolish Horseshoe Mill Dam

Sep 5, 2019

The Conservation Commission approved the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s request to remove the Horseshoe Mill Dam at its Wednesday night meeting.

The Coalition has intended to remove the crumbling dam since it purchased the property, located at the end of Station Street, in 2012. The concrete bridge will remain, but the spillway will be removed to allow the water and sediment to flow freely. 

The demolition will also allow fish to migrate further up the river.

“That will be a boon to migratory fish and any other wildlife,” said Sara da Silva Quintal, a restoration ecologist who works for the Buzzards Bay Coalition. “It basically eliminates this pinch point where the fish get stuck. They’re not able to get up to their migratory spawning grounds.”

Quintal said the Coalition is expecting to see an increase in the populations of herring and smelt. 

Removing the dam will also extend the reach of the tide, which currently ends at the dam. After the removal, the tide will reach up to 2,000 feet above the dam’s location at the highest tides. 

In addition to improving the environment, the Coalition will make the dam a nicer place to visit for people. Parking spaces and a kayak launch will be added. Additionally, the raceway — a small canal that runs alongside the river — will be filled in with the material removed from the dam and topped with stone and gravel to create an ADA-compliant ramp to a kayak launch. 

The work was approved with the condition that the Coalition must work with the Department of Marine Fisheries to monitor the progress at the site after the removal of the dam.

The Coalition has already started to rehabilitate the site by selectively using herbicides to kill invasive plants and restore the population of plants native to the area.