Ipswich Mills Dam
In the heart of downtown Ipswich, a dam has existed at the “head-of-the tide” Ipswich Mills site since the mid seventeenth century. The current dam powered mills and manufacturing facilities from the late nineteenth century through the mid twentieth century. The dam still holds an aesthetic and emotional appeal for many residents. It also, however, represents a maintenance burden and legal liability to the Town, exacerbates flooding concerns for the downtown area, represents a significant fish passage obstruction, and degrades water quality and ecological conditions for its upgradient-impounded area. The project includes baseline topographic and bathymetric mapping, hydraulic modeling of potential changes to river stage and flow; analysis of the potential impacts of dam removal on fish passage, habitat function, and recreation; historical research and impact assessment; and evaluation of potential structural impacts to adjacent mill buildings.
CLIENT: Town of Ipswich, Division of Ecological Restoration (DER)
PROBLEM: maintenance burden, legal liability, flooding concerns, fish passage obstruction, water quality issues
SOLUTION: feasibility study, research and mapping
BENEFITS: a feasibility study will help with project planning and next steps