A meeting of the Charles River Dam Advisory Committee on January 25th will consider how the different paths forward could impact recreation and community use on the Charles River, in the South Natick Dam Park and in Grove Park (the two public properties on either side of the river/adjacent to the dam).
To support this discussion, the Advisory Committee wants to learn more about your priorities for these areas. You can share your input via the following survey link through January 16, 2022: https://www.
Don’t hold back
Since receiving a series of less-than-stellar inspection grades from the state in recent years, the town of Natick, as the dam’s owner, decided it had better either repair the 87-year old earthen dam, or breach and remove it. The high-hazard structure impounds about 160 million gallons of water, and if the dam fails it would do some real damage to its surroundings. Town Meeting in 2019 approved $1.25M in funds to fix the dam, but since then the prospect of just getting rid of it has been been under discussion.
Some say breaching the dam will be an environmental boon, and rid the town of a financial and safety headache. But some who live along the river fear the unknown of what breaching could bring, from stinky sediment to increased flooding to loss of property. Others are more focused on the aesthetic loss, with the earthen dam and accompanying spillway (aka, the waterfall) a popular gathering and photo spot.