There is a movement underway to remove the Exeter dam and let the river drain. There is some local support as well as a drive from the Department of Environmental Services. There are all kinds of reasons; but, none of them make sense to those of us who live along the river.
By removing the dam the hundreds of acres of wetlands and wildlife breeding areas will be wiped out. The river will become a mud flat from all the silt and solids that have settled over the years. For over 200 years the river was used a dump and I cannot estimate what it will cost to clean up old toilets, bicycles and who knows what that will have to be cleaned out. Oh, don’t forget the smell that will permeate along the river and down town area that is now covered by water.
One of the problems is the Town lied to us when, after a number of local floods, the town refused to open the gate at the dam to lower the river before a storm. At the time and the lie was, opening the gate only dropped the river two inches. I was even told that the town had a study done that proved that point. When I was told this by a selectman I asked him if it was too late to get our money back because the report was full of Pelosi.
I have lived on the river for almost 60 years and watched the river get drained to something close to a stream and that usually took about 24 hrs to do that and 36 hrs for the river to refill after the gate was closed. When that happened people could not get to their boats because of the muddy silt and in general it was a mess.
My prediction is, if the dam is removed the campgrounds on the river will suffer because people will not be able to use the river for swimming, canoeing, fishing etc. It will directly affect wildlife issues, including migratory bird breeding and fishing areas.
Leave the dam alone, manage the gate to prevent flooding, lower the river once or twice a year to let nature clean it out and do the “ nature thing” and everyone will be happy.