This is in reference to the article of Oct. 3, “Should it stay or should it go?” regarding the Potter Hill Mill dam. The article quotes a Mr. Tim Mooney, a spokesman for the Nature Conservancy organization. He states many reasons why the Nature Conservancy, NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service support the removal of the dam, including improving fish migration, helping turtles and promoting the growth of “native grasses, wildflowers and shrubs”.
However, Mr. Mooney ignores the most important variable that should be considered, more important than fish migration or native grasses. The most important issue should be whether or not the residents that live on or adjacent to the section of river in question want the river altered at all. The “quality of life” of the affected landowners is the most important variable. I would assert that if you polled the landowners on both sides of the river, an overwhelming majority would oppose altering the river in any way. We like it just the way it is.
In addition to the “quality of life” issue, it is also a practical issue, as the residents on the Hopkinton side depend upon the river aquifer for drinking water. We fish off the bridge, so the fish are there. We see turtles and heron all the time. Sufficient native grasses and wildflowers grow on the banks of the river.
Yes please, do something about the dilapidated mill buildings. Fix the fish ladder and eliminate the mill gates if necessary. But leave the dam and the river alone. I am asking the town councils of both Westerly and Hopkinton to put the interests of the affected landowners and residents above those of any special interests.