Westchester dam removal to help threatened fish species thrive
The Furnace Brook Waterway in Oscawana Park has been removed.
Riverkeeper, an environmental group, teamed up with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to complete the process in less than 2 hours.
The removal cleared the way for migratory fish, including the river herring and American eel. Experts say the impact could last a lifetime.
"It's historic,” says Dr. George Jackman, of Riverkeeper. “We’re changing the course of history right now. What we're doing is we're changing the trajectory of the world."
Environmental officials are teaming up to remove obsolete dams and restore spawning grounds for fish as they move between nursery, feeding and spawning grounds.
“The fish have been trapped on these tributaries by these dams that no longer serve any purpose,” says Krista Birenkrant, of Riverkeeper. “So, this is just such a historic moment to remove these dams and allow these fish to come back to their historic spawning grounds."
While the various species of migratory fish are not yet considered endangered, environmentalists say their numbers are declining. Jackman says, "Part of the reason they have been depleted is the loss of habitat.”
"This is just, we're starting a movement, you can see my shirt, 'Join the dam movement'. We're trying to really get a groundswell of community support to remove these obsolete dams that are no longer serving any purpose except blocking fish,” says Birenkrant.
A similar project was recently completed in Orange County.