NOAA requests US$611,000 for dam removal

In March 2014, voters in Exeter, N.H., voted to spend US$1.8 million to remove the 100-year-old Great Dam in downtown Exeter, on the Exeter River. Now the federal government is adding money to help in the process.

Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration requested $611,000 to aid in removing the concrete dam built in Exeter. The agency says the dam is the lowest dam on a major tributary to Great Bay and its removal would help fish habitats.

In total the agency recommended more than $900,000 in federal funding for coastal habitat restoration projects in New England. This money is part of $4 million in recommended funding for restoration projects around the country.

Located about 16 miles from the Maine border, Exeter and its partners, which includes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are working to define the potential effects on historic resources that may result from removing the Great Dam, as well as how to mitigate those potential effects.

Removing the dam could also reduce or eliminate environmental damage that includes blocking anadromous fish passage, lowering dissolved oxygen content in the water behind the dam, and worsening upriver flooding.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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