Drawdown plan is in the works

PETERBOROUGH — Water will be drawn down at the Transcript Dam and the North Village Dam on the Contoocook River this summer, so they can be inspected for structural soundness.

The Select Board is planning a public information meeting about the drawdowns, which will be held at the Town House on July 8 at 6 p.m.

At a Select Board meeting last week, Public Works Director Rodney Bartlett said the drawdowns could provide information that will help in making a decision on whether to repair or breach the two dams.

The Transcript Dam, which is next to the Main Street bridge downtown, is the smaller of the two dams and the impoundment of water above the dam is less than two acres. The water there is only about 2 feet deep and there is a lot of silt on the bottom of the river.

“It will look like a very large mud flat when it’s drained,” Bartlett said.

The North Village Dam, near the intersection of Routes 202 and 136, has a larger impoundment and will take longer to draw down.

Bartlett said the drawdowns and inspections should be done between mid-July and mid-August.

“The drier it is, the better for us,” he said.

Select Board Chair Barbara Miller asked about the possibility of breaching the dams rather than repairing them.

Bartlett said grant money has sometimes been available to help pay for the cost of breaching dams in order to provide access for fish that spawn in rivers. But there are 11 dams on the river between Peterborough and Hopkinton and some of them are used to generate hydropower, so financial assistance to breach a dam might be hard to come by.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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