Sackett Brook Restoration Project

Sackett Brook fully restored and flowing free in autumn 2020
Sackett Brook today

Sackett Brook, with its headwaters in the October Mountain State Forest and Pittsfield Water Supply land, was once a high quality, sand and gravel-bottomed coldwater stream. But its natural flow was interrupted for 80 years by the concrete Gravesleigh Pond Dam and bridge. 

Along with our partners, Mass Audubon worked throughout 2013 to restore the ecological integrity of Sackett Brook, an 8.5 mile-long tributary to the Housatonic River that includes an approximately 0.75-mile section that passes through Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary in the floodplain of the Housatonic River. 

Now, over 105 miles of stream flow below the dam in Sackett Brook, including the Housatonic River and its tributaries between Woods Pond Dam in Lenox and the next dams upstream. Wildlife that call the brook and its floodplain home inhabit different areas of the stream as they complete the different phases of their life cycles—still pools and eddies, sheltering roots and rocks, and riffles contribute to zones of varying temperature, depth, water flow, and oxygen levels that form a mosaic of habitat conditions. 

Excavator during dam removal on the Sackett Brook at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary
Sackett Brook dam removal

After months of preparation—and a nail-biting pause during the government shutdown—Mass Audubon and its partners removed a deteriorating bridge and dam at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary in Pittsfield.

Now, Sackett Brook flows wild and free alongside a newly planted forest.

Learn about the history of the dam & the removal process >

View of restored Sackett Brook

The removal of the dam provided the community with a wonderful resource for learning more about the ecology of the Sackett Brook waterway.

Mass Audubon worked with local schools and provided programs for the public to help foster a greater connection with this restored waterway and it's wild inhabitants.

Browse outreach resources related to this project >