Project Info

The East Brimfield Lake project is located along the upper reaches of the Quinebaug River in south central Massachusetts in the towns of Brimfield, Holland and Sturbridge. This is a multi-purpose project built and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New England District. The dam was authorized by Congress for flood risk management and recreation purposes. Construction of East Brimfield Dam was completed in June 1960, at a cost of $7,057,000. It is a rolled earthfill dam that is 520 feet long and 55 feet high holds back a lake capable of storing 9.4 billion gallons of water.

East Brimfield Dam helps to reduce flooding primarily in Sturbridge and Southbridge, Massachusetts, and optimizes its flood risk management by coordinating its operation with other dams in the comprehensive Thames River Basin system. The project also provides natural resources management and recreational opportunities that are compatible with the project's primary purpose of flood risk management.

While the main purpose of East Brimfield Lake was to provide flood risk management to the Thames East River Basin, over the years the lake has become a recreational draw for nearby visitors. With over 10 miles of multi-use trails, a five-mile-long canoe trail, 1,670 acres of land, 400 acres of water, picnic areas, swimming beach, and three boat launches, the lake can accommodate all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the natural resources at East Brimfield Lake for multiple uses: flood risk management, wildlife habitat, forest production, watershed protection, and outdoor recreation. The outdoor sports enthusiast can hunt, fish and boat at East Brimfield Lake. The natural environment of East Brimfield Lake reflects the diverse nature and beauty of New England. The forested rolling hills frame the river valley and the glacially formed kettle ponds of Lost Lake, Green Pond, and Pork Barrel Pond. The forests and wetlands are home to deer, turkey, rabbit, fox, beaver, ducks, geese, and many other animal species. All project lands and waters are under the jurisdiction of CFR Title 36 regulations, state, and local laws.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is updating the East Brimfield Lake Master Plan. The Master Plan is the strategic land use management document that guides the comprehensive management and development of all project resources throughout the life of a USACE project.  The Master Plan guides efficient and cost-effective management, development, and use of project lands.  It is a vital tool for the responsible stewardship and sustainability of project resources for the benefit of present and future generations.  The Master Plan guides and articulates USACE responsibilities, pursuant to federal laws to preserve, conserve, restore, maintain, manage, and develop project lands and waters and associated resources.  The intent of an updated Master Plan is to present a current inventory and assessment of resources, provide an analysis of resource use, and evaluate existing and future needs required to protect and improve the value of resources at a project.

The current East Brimfield Lake Master Plan, last approved in 1998, needs revision to address changes in regional land use, population, outdoor recreation trends, and the USACE management policy. Key topics to be discussed in the revised Master Plan include revised land use classifications, new natural and recreational resource management objectives, recreation facility needs, and special issues such as invasive species management and threatened and endangered species habitat. The Master Plan revision WILL NOT address the technical and operational aspects of the lake related to flood risk management or the water conservation missions of the project. During the process, the team will collect data, conduct analysis, prepare a draft report (which will become available for public and agency comments), and ultimately finalize and adopt the new Master Plan.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will host an open house on Tuesday, April 30, 2024, from 4 - 6 p.m. at the Sturbridge Town Hall (Veterans Memorial Hall) to share details on a draft revision process of the East Brimfield Lake Master Plan and showcase the existing land use classification maps, which are from 1998.  A 30-day public comment period began on May 1, 2024, and will end on May 30, 2024.

Public Comment

A 30-day comment period will begin April 30, 2024, and end May 30, 2024. The public can send comments, suggestions, and concerns during this time. Comments must be submitted in writing at the open house or digitally via email by contacting EastBrimfieldLakeMasterPlan@usace.army.mil.