Dam Busters

Norton Mill Dam
Photo credit: Lia McLaughlin/USFWS

In staid New England, if a younger man drives onto the property of an elderly woman and threatens to knock something down, you expect pushback: an argument, a call to the authorities, and the subsequent removal of the man from the premises. But on a cool November morning in Colchester, Connecticut, quite the opposite is occurring. Here, on the banks of a midsized watercourse called the Jeremy River, Steve Gephard, a fisheries biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environment Protection, has arrived with Sally Harold of the Nature Conservancy and a backhoe-mounted jackhammer. They direct workmen to rip down a dam on the property of 84-year-old Yankee matriarch Nan Wasniewski. As the jackhammer bashes through the concrete and water begins flowing unimpeded downstream for the first time in almost three centuries, Wasniewski, dressed in a crisp blue windbreaker, can only shake her head at the spectacle. She sold the dam to the town for a dollar. In return, she earned the chance to bring a river back to life.

LINK (via: Hakai Magazine)

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