The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries), the Jones River Watershed Association (JRWA), and other project partners are evaluating the feasibility of restoring populations of river herring and American eel to Silver Lake in Kingston, MA, as well as considering additional benefits to all aquatic resources and water uses.
Silver Lake is an approximately 634-acre glacially formed lake that historically supported a large, native run of river herring. It is hydrologically connected to Cape Cod Bay by the 7.5-mile-long Jones River, which flows out of its southeast corner Forge Pond, a small impoundment created by Forge Pond Dam. However, a total of three historic mill dams on the mainstem Jones River have blocked fish passage and prevented river herring from reaching Silver Lake. In 2001, the lowermost dam at Elm Street was fitted with an upgraded fish ladder that efficiently passes river herring. In 2011, the second dam at Wapping Road (which presented a barrier to fish passage) was removed as part of a restoration project led by JRWA. Thus, Forge Pond Dam presents the remaining barrier to fish passage into Silver Lake
Forge Pond Dam is owned and managed by the City of Brockton as a water control structure for Silver Lake, which has served as part of the City’s water supply for over 100 years. Water resources in the Jones River watershed are heavily managed for various anthropogenic purposes, including withdrawals for water supply and for cranberry bog operations located throughout the watershed. These management practices have artificially manipulated the magnitude, timing, and frequency of flows that would naturally occur in the Jones River and Silver Lake.
This project aims to document existing flow conditions and water supply management, as well as conduct new analyses to forecast the feasibility of providing fish passage at Forge Pond Dam under different scenarios of flow management and structural modifications (Chase, 2012). This Existing Information Report serves to compile relevant data from the various studies and reports that have been previously conducted. The next phase of the project will involve a more thorough hydrologic and hydraulic investigation, conceptual designs of fish passage options, and an alternatives analysis.
The natural resources of the Jones River and Silver Lake make fish passage at Forge Pond Dam one of the highest ranking priorities of Marine Fisheries for river herring restoration in Massachusetts. The living natural resources and water supply in the watershed have attracted many stewardship and management efforts from the Commonwealth, the City of Brockton, and the surrounding community.