Castleton, VT- Following the removal of the Pelletier Dam on the North Breton Brook in Castleton, the Vermont Natural Resources Council is organizing a day of tree planting at the site.

On Halloween from 10 AM to 2 PM, anyone can join in and plant native trees and shrubs along the riverbank where the dam used to be.

The Pelletier Dam was originally built in 1792 as part of the Sherman Marble Mill Complex. When the mill shut down, the dam was no longer used and was acquired by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Pelletier Dam before removal (Credit: Karina Dailey, VNRC)

The project to remove the dam began in the early summer of this year and was recently finished on October 1st.

The VNRC says the removal of the dam, along with 15,000 cubic yards of sediment, has returned the stream to its natural path and flow, and also improved the overall health of the river.

The dam during the removal project. (Credit Karina Dailey, VNRC)

VNRC says dams like the Pelletier can be harmful to rivers and waterways in several ways: they block fish from traveling the river; block nutrients from feeding plants downstream; warm the stream’s temperature, which reduces cold fish habitat; raise water levels, which increases flood risk; and can become a public safety concern should the dam fail and collapse.

The removal of the dam has opened up roughly 37 miles of wild trout habitat, allowing the fish to move up and downstream freely for the first time in 200 years. The removal also restores about 3,000 feet of natural floodplain, which means the area that was once the pond created by the dam can now soak up water from rain and flood events.

The site of the dam after the removal. (Credit: Karina Dailey, VNRC)

VNRC is asking people who are interested to park at 680 East Hubbardton Rd, Castleton, which is across the street from the dam site. They also ask that you bring your own shovel, gloves, water, and waterproof boots if you plan on planting some trees.

Anyone who is interested should email mperchlik@vnrc.org to RSVP and get more information.