The High Street Dam was the most-downstream barrier to diadromous fish passage fish passage
Fish passage is the ability of fish or other aquatic species to move freely throughout their life to find food, reproduce, and complete their natural migration cycles. Millions of barriers to fish passage across the country are fragmenting habitat and leading to species declines. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Fish Passage Program is working to reconnect watersheds to benefit both wildlife and people.

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on the Town/Taunton River system in southeast Massachusetts, with otherwise open passage to Narragansett Bay and the ocean. The dam was an aging and obsolete structure structure
Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

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that poses a risk to public safety. This project removed the High Street dam and restored the river banks. Removal of the dam reconnects 10 miles of river for the benefit of alewife, blueback herring, American eel, sea lamprey, and American shad, and open access to 354 acres of spawning habitat for river herring at Lake Nippenicket.

Quick Facts:

Project Status



MA, Plymouth

NFPP Project Funding


Restoration Techniques

Dam removal


10 Stream Miles Reopened

Project Partner Lead

Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration

Primary Species Benefited

Blueback Herring

The Town River passes through the partially removed High Street Dam
High Street dam before removal

The National Fish Passage Program combines technical expertise with a track record of success. 

Implemented primarily through the Service's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices, the National Fish Passage Program provides financial and technical assistance to partners across the country. Since 1999, the program has worked with over 2,000 local communities, Tribes, and private landowners to remove or bypass over 3,400 barriers to fish passage and reopen access to over 61,000 miles of upstream habitat for fish and other animals. Staff have expertise in fish migration and biology as well as financial, engineering, and planning assistance to communities, Tribes, and landowners to help them remove barriers and restore rivers for the benefit both fish and people. 

Fish passage project proposals can be initiated by any individual, organization, government, or agency. However, proposals must be submitted and completed in cooperation with a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office. (Please note that fish passage projects being used for federal or state compensatory mitigation or required by existing federal or state regulatory programs are not eligible for funding through the National Fish Passage Program.) 




A person is walks through a large wide culvert that passes under a gravel road. A small river runs through the culvert.
Across the country, millions of barriers are fragmenting rivers, blocking fish migration, and putting communities at higher risk to flooding. Improving fish passage is one of the most effective ways to help conserve vulnerable species while building safer infrastructure for communities and...