Only managed to get out on the water once this past week due to a bunch of rainy days and our first "bombogenesis" event of the season. Bombogenesis joins with "blizzard" as my two least favorite meteorological terms. My one paddle of the week was Thursday on the good flowing Nashua River from the Oxbow NWR Bill Ashe boat launch in Devens, MA. Paddled the river between Ice House Dam in Ayer (photo above) and the Route 2 bridge about 3.5 miles further upriver. While at the dam I walked the portage trail and wondered if power is still being generated at the site. I'd later find specific information about the facility's status on the Low Impact Hydropower Institute's website
indicating the Ice House Dam Project has been certified to their standards since 2009, and is permitted to generate 0.280 MW. The facility is operated in "run-of-river" mode meaning the turbine discharge is matched to the river's inflow. Once the river flow exceeds 160 cfs one turbine begins generating. When river flow exceeds 320 cfs a second turbine joins in. Another source for info about the dam was a December 2007 article found on Boston.com, Restoring a river dam: Power for the People
by Eric Moskowitz. The article includes historical info such as there having been a dam at the location since the 1790s and the dam having once powered the Fitchburg and Leominster Street Railway's trolleys and the company's Whalom amusement park. According to Moskowitz the dam later served an ice house operation before gradually falling into disrepair. At that point the dam and turbines were rehabilitated by new owner John Grady and became the site for his company, Grady Research.
While presently there's no system allowing passage for migrating fish, the facility's permit stipulates that such a system be developed once migrating fish are able to reach the dam's base. This will happen when migrating fish are allowed passage past the Pepperell dam some 11 miles downriver.
Leaving the dam I headed upriver and in a southerly direction...
...passing this old riverside hearth...
...which always leaves me wondering "when did it last contain a fire?...and who was there to enjoy it?"
A type of tree along the river I don't usually see...
...which may be a shag bark hickory? It's not far from a historic Shaker settlement.
The trash encountered Thursday made for this pile of downriver-migrating plastic...
...which included 108 little "nip" bottles. These "fish" of a plastic nature only swim in a downriver direction.
Speaking of "nip" bottles, these 7 were included in a lineup of the usual suspects...
For those unfamiliar with these mini-liquor bottles, they're sold for about a buck at liquor stores and gas station/convenience stores all over the place. The "nips" are seemingly consumed by folks who are out and about. Each bottle contains less than 2 ounces of liquor which amounts to only a swig or two. After that it appears the "nips" are tossed aside like an afterthought. Here in Massachusetts they're assigned no monetary value. However, in the State of Maine where good old fashioned common sense still actually exists each "nip" bottle is assigned a redemption value of 5 cents. Presently there are two bills moving through the Massachusetts legislature that would include these containers in our state's bottle bill. The state legislature will have the chance to keep these containers out of our waterways and other sensitive environments. These same two bills will also provide a redemption value to non-carbonated beverage containers such as iced teas, flavored waters, etc. The Massachusetts bottle bill has provided the same 5 cents redemption value on certain beer and carbonated beverage containers for the last 38 years (since 1983). The new bill would increase the redemption value to a dime which is closer to what a nickel was worth in 1983. While I'm hoping for the best, I'm not holding my breath.
fingers crossed on the bottle bill.
It was my understanding that a (now breeched) dam located here https://goo.gl/maps/9dKbwMxzVUdya2y78 in Leominster was the nashua river power dam for the electric railway.
I'm interested now
Hello SPatev, According to the 1906 Annual Report of the Massachusetts Railroad Commissioners
the Leominster, Shirley, and Ayer Street Railway was sold to the Fitchburg and Leominster Street Railway in 1905. In the article "Restoring a River Dam: Power to the People" by Eric Moskowitz he mentions the hydroelectric powerhouse (in Ayer) having been built in 1906. Perhaps the property and water rights were included in the purchase.
Very cool, thanks
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