Historical Dams on New England Watersheds

Interdisciplinary research initiated at Stony Brook University allowed us to cumulatively track historical dams built on Maine watersheds and estimate habitat lost to anadromous species over the past 400 years. A follow up paper documented the lost biomass and potential ecological consequences of habitat loss. Historical research has been expanded to include dams built in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island. With support of a Lenfest Ocean Program grant, the historical catch of a suite of forage fish is being examined to estimate former abundance and access the impacts of their loss on coastal predators, nutrient and ecosystem dynamics. Ultimately, the goal is to improve restoration targets and contribute methods to ecosystem-based management.