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Taunton Dam Removal Underway 8 Years After Near Collapse

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Whittenton Dam in Taunton

Whittenton Dam in Taunton

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TAUNTON, Mass. (AP) — Work has begun to remove a Taunton dam that threatened the downtown when it nearly collapsed eight years ago.

State and environmental officials say the removal of Whittenton Dam will increase safety and is a step toward allowing river herring access to various spawning habitats for the first time in more than 150 years.

In 2005, the 170-year-old, wooden Whittenton Dam buckled under heavy rains, and part of downtown Taunton was evacuated for days.

The incident sparked legislative efforts to make it easier remove and repair aging dams.

Once the Whittenton project is done, and another dam on the Mill River removed next year, river herring will have access to new spawning habitat.

Federal officials say an increase in herring could boost predators, such as cod and striped bass.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

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