The Smart Report: New Dam Construction 2018

Freedom–October 12, 2017–As mentioned in my September Smart Report, the State of N.H. is really going to construct a new dam on the north side river flow (sometimes called the Berry Bay dam). Based on that September report, Roberta MacCarthy, President of the Berry Bay Lake Association, became very active (aggressive) with having someone of importance from the N.H. Dam Authority participate in the Association’s 10/07/17 (first day of Columbus Day holiday) meeting in Freedom to further explain this project. And she succeeded: Jim Gallagher, Chief Engineer, and Dan Mattaini, Operation and Maintenance Engineer, both from the Concord Office, adjusted their holiday schedules in order to participate in the meeting.

Jim had prepared and distributed a 15-page packet of photos, graphs and online reports relating to control of the lake level , plus he had a plot plan of the new dam dated August 2011. Highlights of his presentation were:

  1. When the State took over ownership of the 2 lake dams in the late 1900s, they did a detailed inspection of both. They determined that the south side dam was OK, but the north side dam was in poor condition and could fail. It needed to be replaced. There were no historic or art objects found in their excavations, so work began on design and funding a new north side dam about 50’ downstream of the old dam.
  2. In 2009 a proposal was submitted to the State for funding, but the State was low on funds so the project went on hold.
  3. In 2017 the project and funding were again submitted and this time accepted. All funds to come from the State. The project must be completed and all funding ends in mid 2019.
  4. The permit process has started. A new set of plans need to be prepared and a construction contractor selected.
  5. Construction is scheduled to start in early Summer 2018 and go through the entire year. There will be no disruption in lake level management.

The one question I received from the September report was need for a fish ladder. The same question came up (from someone else) Saturday morning. The answer was that there is always a water flow from the south side dam and fish do not appear to be interested in traveling to Ossipee Lake.

The Ossipee Lake Dam Authority is well aware of all details relating to this project and in constant contact with Dan. I hope they will keep all of us up to date on construction progress as it moves forward.

Bob Smart


  1. Susan Perron 7 years ago October 12, 2017

    Thank you Roberta!

  2. Richard Knowlton 7 years ago October 13, 2017

    Will the new dam be manual adjust only or will there be an automation system applied with inputs from water level sensors such as from the gage located at the Bearcamp river?

  3. Tim Otterbach 7 years ago October 13, 2017

    Your response to the question regarding a new fish ladder assumes the fish ” don’t want to go into the lake”.
    I submit their biology drives their desire to migrate upstream, perhaps even beyond the lake and it’s bays, and a second consideration for a fish ladder may be in order.
    After all, the original dam did disrupt the natural migration oatterns!

  4. Bob Smart 7 years ago October 14, 2017

    There was a brief comment last Saturday that an electronic mechanism will be used to open and close the new gates. In previous discussions there was talk about the controls being in a new “Dam House” shown on the plot plan and also the opportunity to use existing satellite communications network to place control switches in Concord.
    Bob Smart


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