Why remove Peterson Dam from the Lamoille River?


R Wentworth

Publication Date



dams, fish passage, upstream, spawning, habitat, juvenile, salmon, lake sturgeon, sturgeon, dam removal


Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife


The Peterson Dam is one of Vermont's 1, 200 dams. It is located on the LamoilleRiver and presents a barrier to fish passage upstream from Lake Champlain into crucial spawninghabitat and juvenile feeding and rearing areas. There is cause for significant concern regardinghabitat fragmentation between this lake and river because of the rich diversity of fish species thatpopulate and depend on the connections of these habitats. Salmon, which were once plentiful inLake Champlain are now extirpated from the area and lake sturgeon are following suit. It isbelieved that by removing Peterson Dam the amount of available spawning habitat wouldincrease by approximately 12 times providing an additional 2.9 miles of vital river habitat. Damremoval is being considered as the most feasible option in this situation because of concerns thatfish passage facilities may not be as effective as necessary to restore populations of historic fishand mussel species. Adverse impacts associated with the dam removal project (such asdecreased angling opportunities in the Peterson Dam reservoir) are brought forward but deemedacceptable to achieve the benefits to the aquatic ecosystem of Lake Champlain and the LamoilleRiver.

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