Fall River to remove upper dam at Lake Noquochoke

Apr 7, 2021

The City of Fall River is planning to remove a dam near the upper portion of Lake Noquochoke — but it will not affect the lake’s water levels, according to a city official.

Administrator of Community Utilities for Fall River Paul Ferland said that there is no date currently set for the project to breach the upper dam, located off Highland Avenue.

He noted that there will be a controlled reduction in water held in a small reservoir above the lake when the dam is removed, but the lake should remain unaffected. 

The current reservoir area will be left to revegetate, Ferland added.

He said that local wildlife may benefit from reconnecting the lake with the small waterway above it, although it will not be navigable for humans.

Lake Noquochoke and the land around it are situated entirely within the town of Dartmouth, although the city of Fall River owns the water rights to the lake as well as both the upper and lower dams associated with it.

In May 2019, the city discussed breaching the lower dam, which is in need of costly maintenance work and is no longer required, as the mills for which the water was used are long since gone. 

Breaching the lower dam would drain the lake and restore the area to wetlands.

But Ferland said that Fall River is still currently in talks with the town of Dartmouth regarding various options for rehabilitating the lower dam — although draining the lake is still on the table.

“All options are still open, but something is going to have to be done” about the lower dam at some point, he said.

Ferland added that the project to remove the upper dam is still in the design and permitting stage.