Sackett Brook Restoration Project
Sackett Brook, with its headwaters in the October Mountain State Forest and Pittsfield Water Supply land, was 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 is working 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.
Now, over 105 miles of stream flow below the dam for organisms currently present in Sackett Brook, including the Housatonic River and its tributaries between Woods Pond Dam in Lenox and the next dams upstream. Animals 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.
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.
The removal of the dam has provided the community with a wonderful resource for learning more about the ecology of the Sackett Brook waterway. Mass Audubon has been working with local schools and providing programs for the public to help foster a greater connection with this restored waterway and it's inhabitants.