Herring may be big winner of Great Pond Dam repairs in Braintree
Wicked Local Braintree
By Bradford Randall
Repair work for the Great Pond Dam is now up for bid but river herring may be the biggest winners of the new repairs, which include a fish ladder for alewives to pass from Boston Harbor to the Monatiquot River to where they once spawned.
Robert Kearns, a resident volunteer with Sustainable Braintree, said the fish ladder is "a key part of the work to restore fish passage from Boston Harbor to Great Pond."
"River herring are an important forage species for marine mammals, larger game fish and sea birds," Kearns said. "The Great Pond Dam is considered high hazard and these structural improvements will help protect the Great Pond, the water supply for Braintree, Randolph and Holbrook and structures downstream of the dam."
Kearns said the Armstrong Dam also stands as a large barrier for the river herring, which once migrated up the Monatiquot River by the thousands, according to the Fore River Watershed Association.
The 12-foot-high Armstrong Dam is located near the intersection of Hancock and Plain streets.
Messina Enterprises has also pledged to fund the work to remove the dam, according to Carl Pawlowski of the watershed association.
The company is interested in removing the dam to reduce maintenance costs and liability, and in hopes of future development.
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Pawlowski has previously said the number of river herring that eventually run up the Monatiquot River will triple the numbers in Weymouth's herring run once the dam is removed.
Weymouth's herring run, which supports over half a million of the aquatic species each year, is considered the largest in the state and begins when the water begins to warm with spring temperatures, and can averages about 9,000 fish a day during peak times, according to the Weymouth Herring Warden.
According to a request for proposal, bids will be received at the Office of the Braintree Contract Administrator no later than noon April 28, at which time and place they will be opened and read. A pre-bid conference is also scheduled for April 14 at 11 a.m. at the site.
The bid, placed out by the Tri-Town Water Board, which includes Braintree, Randolph and Holbrook, said proposed work includes site preparation, clearing and grubbing existing vegetation, removal of the existing spillway concrete walk and replacement with a new concrete walk and steel guardrail, demolitions and removal of the existing steel slide gates and replacement with new slide gates, installation of a new fish ladder and furnishing and installing a new access road.
Follow Bradford Randall on Twitter @randalljourno.