Press Releases

Adirondack Council Praises Trout Unlimited for Dam Removal



For more information:
John Sheehan
518-441-1340 cell
518-432-1770, ext. 203 ofc.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, March 30, 2018

NORTH ELBA, N.Y. – With trout fishing season set to start this weekend, the Adirondack Council today praised the Lake Champlain Chapter of Trout Unlimited for its plan to remove the Quarry Dam from the Ausable River, restoring the river’s free flow.

“TU’s efforts will allow trout and aquatic organisms easier access to a reach of the river that has been an obstacle since this dam was constructed,” said Adirondack Council Director of Conservation Raul “Rocci” Aguirre.  “This helps to restore a section of the West Branch of the Ausable River to a more natural state, while removing a structure that served no useful purpose.  It will make one of America’s most famous trout streams a little wilder.”

According to a statement from the TU:  “Quarry Dam’s days are numbered, as Lake Champlain Trout Unlimited now has completed the required funding and approval package to remove this obsolete barrier to fish and other aquatic life on the Ausable River. The Lake Champlain Basin Program recently announced a $3,950 grant to assist in funding the removal.”

TU said it has received all of the required permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and NYS Adirondack Park Agency and Dept. of Environmental Conservation. 

The dam is located about four miles east of the Village of Lake Placid in the Town of North Elba, in what is now the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest in the public Adirondack Forest Preserve.  While it has been breached, the Quarry Dam continues to block fish movement, warms water in its impoundment and inhibits genetic diversity in the area, the TU noted.

Defunct dams are common in the Adirondacks, where rivers served as the earliest power sources for the factories that spawned the park’s 130 rural communities two centuries ago.  Nearly all of the Adirondack Forest Preserve is formerly private property that was acquired by the state beginning in 1885.  The Adirondack Park is a six-million-acre park comprised of public Forest Preserve and private lands. 

About 2.8 million acres are public Forest Preserve, protected as “forever wild” by the NYS Constitution.  The remaining 3.2 million acres are private lands devoted to commercial forestry, agriculture and outdoor recreation, as well as the homes and businesses of 130,000 year-round residents and 300,000 seasonal residents. The park hosts 12 million annual visitors.

Funding for the removal project involves multiple agencies, with grants and other support from Trout Unlimited Chapters in Queensbury, Plattsburgh and the Tri Lakes.  Additional support came from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, New York State Council of Trout Unlimited, Trout Unlimited National Embrace a Stream Program; Embrace a Stream Challenge Grant, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

TU said the total cost of the removal will be approximately $35,000, with the work to be started this spring and finished during low-water conditions in the fall of 2018. Project completion is expected by the close of 2018.

Rich Redman, President of the Lake Champlain Chapter which has spearheaded the project, said: “This is a win-win for the environment and for anglers. It will help preserve our outstanding cold-water fishery, and contribute to the great recreational opportunities in the North Country.”

Eric Howe, Director of the Lake Champlain Basin Program, said: “We’re happy to support this project, which contributes to the economic and cultural well-being of the North Country, improves the health of the Ausable River ecosystem, and helps make the Lake Champlain Basin such a great place to live.”

Trout Unlimited is America’s oldest and largest cold-water fisheries conservation organization.

The Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park.  The Council envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant communities.

The Adirondack Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action.  Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.

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