Removal of Batten Kill’s Dufresne Dam to Restore River Habitat

MANCHESTER, Vt – Anglers will be glad to know the Dufresne Pond Dam on Vermont’s famous Batten Kill in Manchester is being removed, in part, to allow wild brown trout and brook trout free passage after more than a century.

Removal of the dam also will improve public safety by eliminating a dam with structural problems, and the removal will restore river habitat upstream of the dam.

The dam, owned by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, is 263 feet long and 12 feet high and consists of a concrete spillway and earthen embankment. It was originally constructed by the Dufresne family in 1908 to supply water to power a sawmill. By the late 1940s the dam no longer served its original purpose, and it was acquired by the state in 1957. The dam has been reconstructed several times in the last 50 years, but structural problems remain. In 2005, an evaluation and alternatives analysis determined that the lowest cost option is dam removal.

The dam is being removed in a partnership of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and American Rivers.

When the project is complete, the Batten Kill will be restored to its original, pre-dam, channel. A floodplain will be created in the former impoundment and allowed to revegetate to form a riparian area similar to those that exist in the area. Vermont Fish & Wildlife will continue to maintain the area to provide public access to the river.

The project is funded through grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and capital funds appropriated by the Vermont Legislature for work on state-owned dams.