Post Content

Summer is here, which means your days are getting longer and hotter. With the warmest temperatures we’ve had in a while, large bodies of water are looking nicer and nicer. Be careful, though! Not all bodies of water are created equal. Dams, smaller, low-head dams in particular, look unintimidating but are very, very dangerous.

The Talbot Dam - photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Studies Project

The Talbot Dam – photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Studies Project

Do you canoe or kayak? Know whether you’ll be floating on a body of water with a dam, where the dam is relative to you, and whether you are upstream (above), the dam or downstream (below), the dam. Low head dams especially can be difficult to see from upstream, so scout ahead and know where you’re going so you can avoid them!

Like to swim? Under no circumstances should a swimmer swim above, below, or anywhere near a dam or dam structures. Do not dive off of them. As mentioned earlier, smaller, low-head dams can be deceptively deceiving. Due to the design of the dam, many have strong, underwater currents that can easily and unexpectedly pull even the strongest swimmers under the water.

Basic points to remember: do not swim above, dive from, or boat on a dam, as currents under the surface, regardless of how the water looks on the surface, can be strong and pull you underwater, against structures, or through the dam. Do not boat, fish, or swim immediately upstream or downstream from a dam, as water levels can change quickly and currents can be strong. Areas near dams can flood quickly, so be cognizant of where you picnic, sunbathe, or camp. Essentially, stay away from dams and all associated dams structures unless they’re specifically marked for public travel.

Don’t worry; there are plenty of other places to go! Check out DCR’s list of freshwater inland beaches here, canoe and kayak spots here, and a general list of activities and their corresponding areas here. Happy summering!

Recent Posts

The Turtles are Coming posted on Aug 29

The Turtles are Coming

With a migration pattern that stretches thousands of miles, it is no surprise that Massachusetts is home to four types of turtles during the summer, all of them protected by local and international law. And while you probably know that sea turtles often frequent the Massachusetts beaches, can you identify them?

2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: August posted on Aug 25

2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: August

Augusts’ Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was Cara Peterson, who photographed a high tunnel greenhouse at Flats Mentor Farm in Lancaster.

Not From Around Here: Green Crabs posted on Aug 22

Not From Around Here: Green Crabs

As part of its work to assess salt marsh health, staff from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) have frequently observed abundant green crabs, often burrowing in the banks of marsh creeks. This summer, CZM is examining the potential impacts of green crabs in salt marsh habitats, including the impact of burrowing activity.