Building a Stronger Coast
Pawcatuck River gains federal protection

a river with brick buildings and a riverbank

March 18, 2019 - Last week, Rhode Island’s Pawcatuck River and six of its tributaries joined the National Wild and Scenic River System, when President Trump signed a broad public lands bill into law. The Wood-Pawcatuck watershed is the first in Rhode Island to receive such a designation.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has worked with partners to remove seven dams and upgrade two fish ladders on the Pawcatuck, improving fish passage and public safety. Removal of the Bradford and White Rock dams was supported by funds for Hurricane Sandy recovery and resilience projects.

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The Bradford Dam was removed in 2017 and replaced with a nature-like fishway that allows fish to migrate upstream to historical spawning grounds.
Credit: USFWS


Removing barriers helps fish and people go with the flow

an excavator removing debris

March 4, 2019 - The nonprofit American Rivers announced last month that 82 obsolete dams were removed from waterways nationwide in 2018, opening 1,230 miles of river. Three of those projects -- West Britannia (Massachusetts), Flock Process (CT), and Bloede (Maryland) -- used funds for Hurricane Sandy recovery and resilience. The removals increased public safety, improved habitat for migratory fish, boosted recreation opportunities, and strengthened coastal communities.

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West Britannia Dam, on the Mill River in Taunton, Massachusetts, was one of 82 dams removed nationwide last year.
Credit: USFWS


Stronger coast, stronger partners: Denise Poyer

close up of a woman's face  with a river in the background

February 25, 2019 - In the years since Hurricane Sandy hit, the Service has worked to build a stronger coast -- one that can stand up to sea-level rise and more-frequent intense storms. People like Denise Poyer, with the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association, have been critical partners in our efforts. She helped coordinate communities and organizations to remove 10 dams on the Pawcatuck River in Rhode Island.

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Denise Poyer stands beside the Pawcatuck River.
Credit: USFWS


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Last updated: March 6, 2019