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Dam Removal

Dams in the Hudson WatershedBy identifying and supporting the removal of dams that are at risk of failure and are barriers to fish passage, the Hudson River Estuary Program and its partners promote ecosystem functioning and habitat connectivity while reducing threats to human safety and property.


Many dams in the Eastern U.S. are falling into disrepair, yet still creating barriers to fish passage. With over a 1000 dams in the Hudson River Estuary Watershed, there is a great opportunity to improve ecosystem and community health by identifying and removing those barriers that pose the greatest risks to both.


Barrier removal success story

Alewives in the Wynants Kill
Alewives in the Wynants Kill

Habitat for migratory fish, such as herring and American eel, has been substantially reduced by barriers in Hudson River tributaries. In the City of Troy, the first barrier to fish was removed on the Wynants Kill in early May, and in less than 5 days, alewives had retaken the tributary as spawning habitat for the first time in 85 years. The City of Troy got a tributary restoration grant from the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program and removed the barrier, reconnecting over a quarter mile of spawning habitat for herring, and improving habitat for many other species including American eel. This barrier had been identified by WRI staff as a critical barrier to migratory and resident fish, as well as many other aquatic and riparian organisms.  Watch videos of the herring run here Alewives in the Wynants Kill and Alewives and the concrete channel of the Wynants Kill.