Acting Director, Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration
The jack hammering has stopped and the construction crew is exhausted from moving tons of earth, stone and concrete. With the final scoop of the excavator bucket, the last of Ox Pasture Brook Dam is removed. The stillness is palpable – the steady hum of heavy machinery and the faint smell of diesel exhaust are gone. Tranquility has returned to MassWildlife’s 2,000-acre William Forward Wildlife Management Area in Rowley.
For almost a century, the Ox Pasture Brook Dam has been blocking ocean tides, migratory fish (rainbow smelt, blueback herring and American eels), and other wildlife that use the brook and the river corridor to spawn and feed. A wide array of partners led by DER’s Alex Hackman, who have plugged away for three years to plan, permit and implement the removal of the dam to restore this tidal river.
Behind the dam is the former impoundment –three acres of open water is slowly converting to wetland, a sinuous channel is starting to carve it’s way naturally to the Great Marsh below, and native plants are ready to take advantage of the newly exposed, rich sediments. This is ecological restoration at its best: planned intervention working with the healing hand of nature to reform and reshape natural conditions over time.
If you go to Ox Pasture Brook today, you will see the river bed emerging and new stream banks forming. This process will take several years to complete as the natural cycles of tide and storms move sediment downstream. You would have to go back to the retreat of the glaciers (approx. 10,000 years ago) to see a new river form – so pick a warm day and head out to Ox Pasture Brook to see Mother Nature do her thing.
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: April posted on May 14
A lamb at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton. Photo by David Cawston April’s contest winner was David Cawston who photographed a spring lamb at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton. The Cummings School of …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: April
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March posted on Apr 23
Girard’s Sugarhouse in Heath, MA. The sugarhouse was built in 1887 and produces around 250-300 gallons of syrup annually. Photo by Michael Girard March’s contest winner was Michael Girard who photographed his family’s sugarhouse in Heath. Michael Girard has been a sugarmaker since 1961 when he …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February posted on Feb 25
February’s contest winner was Amanda Bettle, who photographed sheep at The Natural Resources Trust of Easton. This photo features Dog, a former 4-H show animal and sole male sheep among the nine ewes in the Natural Resources Trust of Easton (NRT) flock. It is the mission …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February