Project Description


The historic Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island is recognized as the “Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution” 

New England SusTainability Consortium (NEST), led by universities from Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, compiled the New England Dams Database. The database draws data from state environmental databases, the Nature Conservancy’s Northeast Aquatic Connectivity Tool (NCAT), the National Hydrography Dataset Plus (NHDPlus), the USGS National Land Cover Database (NLCD), and the American Rivers’ Removed Dams Database. The goals of the database are as follows:

  • To create a one-stop resource for data about New England dams, thereby minimizing duplication of effort
  • To facilitate the NSF Future of Dams project assessment, where all team members can pull data from the same resource, in order to examine multidisciplinary trade-offs on dam decision-making
  • To facilitate additional research on New England dams
  • To create a living database that can be edited and augmented with new data about New England dams

Project Description

As part of NEST, dams are being used as model systems to examine the economic, ecological, social, and political trade-offs associated with different kinds of decisions. NEST determined it was important to have one database that contained all available dam locations and associated attributes from the six New England states. The New England Dams Database compiles data from the state agencies that oversee environmental management in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut along with select data from The Nature Conservancy’s Northeast Aquatic Connectivity Tool (NCAT) and the American Rivers’ Removed Dams Database. The database also contains data obtained from geospatial analysis.  NEST project members will use the database as part of their assessments of dam trade-offs and it is available to those outside of NEST. New data that emerges from the NEST project can be added to the New England Dams Database in the future.