The Corps of Engineers completed a Blackstone River Watershed Reconnaissance Investigation in 1997 which identified opportunities for fish passage at four dams (Main Street, Slater Mill, Elizabeth Webbing, and Valley Falls Dams) between the Seekonk River and the Lonsdale area in Rhode Island. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prepared conceptual plans for fish ladders at each of these dams for this report. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) has moved forward with the design and construction of fish ladders at three of the dams (Main Street, Slater Mill and Valley Falls) with assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The RIDEM purchased the Elizabeth Webbing dam and requested Corps assistance with a feasibility study to evaluate fish passage restoration alternatives in Central Falls. The Corps will evaluate an array of fish passage alternatives including dam removal, partial removal, nature-like passage and Denil ladder. Providing fish passage at these four dams would restore anadromous fish to the lower Blackstone River and would enhance the ecological value of the river for other aquatic species.
The Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment will document the costs and ecosystem restoration benefits of a series of alternatives that are environmentally and socially acceptable. The project will focus on one dam, the Elizabeth Webbing Dam, but will utilize existing data collected as part of NRCS’ fish passage project at the other three dams.
For more information, please contact the Project Manager, by e-mail or by calling 978-318-8603.