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Town votes to remove dam on Oyster River

March 9, 2022 GMT

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) — The town of Durham has voted to remove a dam on the Oyster River, after more than a decade of discussion and a failed petition effort to save it.

The vote at Tuesday’s town elections to remove the Mill Pond dam was approved 1,706 to 596. It followed a September vote by the Durham Town Council to remove the 140-foot-long (42.6 meters) dam, which was developed at the turn of the century to supply water power. It no longer does so.

Advocates for removing the dam said it would improve water quality and restore wildlife habitat. But advocates for repairing and preserving it said that the pond above the dam provides aesthetic and recreational resources for the families who ice skate and paddle there.

Seacoastonline.com reports town officials said the cost to remove the dam will be about $1.46 million, with town officials believing about $875,000 would be covered by grants.

The cost to stabilize the dam would have been $1.39 million, but would rise to $5.32 million with dredging costs.