News Stories

New England District team commemorates Surry Mountain Lake Dam's 75th anniversary

USACE, New England District
Published Oct. 31, 2016
Park Ranger Alicia Lacrosse explains the displays on the table during Surry's 75th anniversary commemoration, October 1, 2016.

Park Ranger Alicia Lacrosse explains the displays on the table during Surry's 75th anniversary commemoration, October 1, 2016.

Contractors perform work constructing the Surry Mountain Dam in Surry, New Hamphsire in this October 1941 photo.

Contractors perform work constructing the Surry Mountain Dam in Surry, New Hamphsire in this October 1941 photo.

For the last 75 years, Surry Mountain Lake Dam in Surry, New Hampshire has stood at the ready to protect New Hampshire residents from flooding.  The District team members who operate the project held a 75th anniversary event on October 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., to commemorate the opening of the dam. 

“Among the participants that came to the event was a gentleman that worked at Surry Dam in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s,” said Park Ranger Eric Chouinard.  “He shared some of his stories and experiences with us.”

During the event, Chouinard and Park Ranger Alicia Lacrosse each gave a presentation. 

“The first was a history presentation,” said Chouinard.  “I discussed life in the small town of Surry before the dam’s construction, a brief overview of the history of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the highly important Flood Control Act of 1936 which paved the way for the construction of Surry Dam, the reasoning behind why the town of Surry was chosen as the location for a flood control dam as opposed to other locations in Cheshire County, a brief history with pictures of the flood of 1936 and the hurricane of 1938, which both contributed to the construction of the Surry Dam.”

Chouinard’s presentation also featured many historical construction photos.  A presentation on invasive plants was given by Lacrosse. 

“The invasive presentation identified many of the species of local interest, such as Glossy Buckthorn, Japanese Knotweed, Autumn Olive and Eurasian Milfoil,” said Chouinard.  “The presentation also discussed common techniques for the management and prevention of continued spreading of invasives on project lands, including the use of herbicides.”

Later in the day, Project Manager John Asseng and Park Ranger Christie Baker gave guided tours inside the Surry Gatehouse. 

“The tours allowed participants to view the emergency standby gate and gain information about how Flood Damage Reduction Operations are conducted within the local watershed,” said Chouinard.  “In addition, they received information regarding the historic floods of record at Surry Dam.”

The single largest storage event in the dam’s lifetime occurred in 1987 which also saw the only emergency spillway channel release in 75 years, according the Chouinard.  “The second highest pool of record occurred in 2005 but did not reach spillway crest,” he said.

New England District records show that construction began in August in 1939 and was completed in October 1941.  An opening ceremony took place in June 1942.   Harry Lawton served as first damtender for the project.   The $2.8 million project consists of an earth fill dam with stone slope protection, 1,800-foot-long, 86-feet-high.  The dam has a capacity of 10.6 billion gallons of water.  Since its completion, the dam has prevented $149.5 million in damages.

Karl Hakala, the Upper Connecticut River Basin Operations Manager, participated in the event.

The Pawcatuck River Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study

   This proposed plan is presented  to facilitate public involvement in the review and commenting on the remedy selection process for the Nantucket Memorial Airport (NMA) Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS.) 
    The Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a No Action under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act for the Munitions Response Site-1, Project Number D01MA049901 at NMA located on Nantucket Island, MA.  The proposal was prepared using the Guide to Preparing Superfund Proposed Plans, Records of Decision, and Other Remedy Selection Decision Documents (USEPA, 1999).
    The final decision for NMA Site-1 site will be made after reviewing and considering all information submitted during the public comment period. The proposed decision may be modified based on new information or public comments. The public is encouraged to review and comment on the proposed plan.
    The FUDS program addresses the potential explosives safety, health, and environmental issues resulting from past munitions use at former defense sites under the Department of Defense (DoD) Military Munitions Response Program, established by the U.S. Congress under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program.  
    FUDS only applies to properties that transferred from DoD before October 17, 1986 and the first priority of USACE is the protection of human health, safety, and the environment. 
    The Army is the executive agent for the FUDS Program, and USACE is the lead agency for investigation/reporting and remedial decision-making at this munitions site with regulatory support provided by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

Updated: 05 December 2016