Rage Against the Dams


RAD is a conservation blog that focuses on the health of our coastal rivers and streams and their fisheries. One hope for this blog is that it will generate dialogue about the impacts of dams on our watersheds. There are more than 3000 dams in Massachusetts and the majority of these dams long ago ceased to serve any function.

My home watersheds, the North and South Rivers are clogged by 65 dams that are relics of a bygone era. They were built to power mills and factories that were long ago abandoned by the men who built them. The legacy that the dam builders have passed down to us, streams damaged by thermal pollution and fragmented habitat, has wreaked havoc on cold water and diadromous fisheries. We can rise up and free our streams. Rage against the dams.


9 thoughts on “Rage Against the Dams

    • Thanks Chris. The IDEA of restoring salter brook trout is becoming REALITY thanks to the tenacity of Cape Cod TU and Southeastern MA TU members who have spent many hours working in the streams to restore habitat. The lesson has been a bit like the movie “Field of Dreams.” “Build it and they will come.” In the case of salters, it now has been proven that if you can restore, or as Jack Williams has said, “rewild” their streams, the salter brook trout will return. Salters are resilient, and tenacious, and thanks to Trout Unlimited and an alliance of restoration partners they are coming back.

  1. Ronald F. Lasko

    As I have written in my book A TALE OF TWO RIVERS dams across Cape Cod’s 50 freshwater stream & river watersheds over 400 years have destroyed migratory herring, eels and sea run brook trout. The Quashnet River at one time had nearly two dozen such fish blocking dams converting it into 4 miles of canberry bogs. A major portion is restored today but more work needs to be done including on all the lost Cape Cod watersheds. This blog is a great step forward to enlighten all citizens. Ron Lasko

    • Thanks Ron. In your book you mention the contribution that Rachel Carson gave to us all with “Silent Spring.” Dammed and degraded watersheds are just as big a threat to the natural world, and humanity, as are persistant pesticides like DDT.

    • Brian – Thanks for the comment, and LIBERATED is a great choice of words. The dams in our rivers are an environmental disaster, and people need to understand that. The disaster extends into the ocean and impacts everything from whales to plankton. This means that, ultimately, it effects us.

    • Geof – the Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition is tackling many of the issues that will be explored here. From Long Island to Maine, the problems are pretty much the same. Dams, perched culverts, poorly planned development, and irresponsible agricultural practices have been taking their toll on our rivers and their fish for far too long. Time for a change. Understanding the genetics and the habitat requirements of sea run brook trout will help us restore our coastal watersheds more effectively. SRBTC is a big supporter of this needed research.

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