We congratulate the town of Bristol on the opening of its new fish ladder.
One of the joys of covering community news is seeing the progress of long-term projects such as this one. It’s hard to believe that this all started almost five years ago when, after an unsuccessful application for a grant to help finance improvements to the fish ladder, the Bristol Board of Selectmen met to discuss alternatives to the project, including the possibility of removing the Bristol Mills Dam.
The formation of a new committee, a feasibility study, public hearings, a referendum vote, dam repairs, phase one of the fish ladder work, the start of phase two of the fish ladder work, and, of course, copious amounts of fundraising followed.
It speaks to the persistence of local government officials that they see these projects through to the end, no matter how long it takes. We should also mention the countless volunteer hours from the Bristol Fish Committee and Bristol Mills Dam Advisory Committee, as well as others who gave their time and talents to the effort.
Finally, this project would not have been possible without the people of Bristol themselves. Residents engaged in this project from the start, turning out in force at meetings, hearings, and, most importantly, at the polls, where they voted to repair the dam and replace the fish ladder by a 9-to-1 margin.
With large projects such as these, it’s easy to only see the trees and not the forest, or, in this case, to only see an alewife and not the fishway. But there was a monumental amount of effort from a large group of people to make this come to fruition, and everyone played an essential role. It just goes to show what can be accomplished when a community works together toward a common goal.
Hopefully the alewives agree!