LTE: Londonderry Conservation Commission on the Williams Dam

Dear Editor,


On April 20, the Town of Londonderry held a special meeting to discuss Article 22 placed on the warrant for Town Meeting, which will take place on Saturday, April 30, 9:30 a.m. at the Town Hall. Approval of Article 22 would raise and appropriate funding funds for an engineering study to remove the Williams Dam. The Londonderry Conservation Commission attended the special meeting, as did many other local residents. After a brief presentation by DuBois & King, who recently completed an alternatives analysis for the town, a public comment, question, and answer session was held.

Representatives from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Connecticut River Conservancy, and Trout Unlimited spoke to the ecological benefits of dam removal, and to the significant amount of funding currently available for dam removal projects, which would potentially cover all costs with no burden placed on the taxpayers. Representatives from Londonderry’s Fire Departments discussed the importance of maintaining adequate water supply for fire fighting in town and the challenges that river based dry hydrants present. The town’s selectboard spoke to the liability associated with owning the Williams Dam. Others spoke about the aesthetic value of the dam. Many viewpoints were heard, and most importantly, everyone in attendance had the opportunity to voice them. For those that are just learning about the issue, there is a great deal of information available for review on the town’s website.

The Londonderry Conservation Commission supports the removal of the Williams Dam. From an environmental stewardship and ecological perspective, the benefits of dam removal are clear. We believe that a properly permitted, designed, and constructed dam removal project will restore this segment of the West River, and we trust that the permitting and design process can address the issue of adequate water supply for our Fire Departments. We have spoken with many Londonderry residents who support the removal of the dam because of concerns about the environment, as well as the projected taxpayer burden associated with not removing the dam, which is estimated at $767,000 for dam rehabilitation or $1,300,000 for dam replacement. We encourage everyone to participate in Town Meeting Day.



Londonderry Conservation Commission

Londonderry, Vt.

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