Under New Ownership, Amoskeag Fishways To Scale Down

Feb 28, 2019

The Amoskeag Fishways Center will continue to operate its underwater viewing windows, where visitors can watch fish migrate through a fish ladder up the Merrimack River.
Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Manchester's Amoskeag Fishways, the state’s largest urban environmental education center, is scaling down its operations next week.

The center is located at Amoskeag dam along the Merrimack River. For nearly 25 years, New Hampshire Audabon has run it, offering free environmental and marine education to around 25,000 people each year.

Eversource owned and helped fund the center until last year, when it was required to sell its dams as part of the state’s electric restructuring process.

Amoskeag Fishway's director, Helen Dalbeck, says they had hoped the new buyer would keep the center going.

“Eversource gave forth their best effort to introduce us to perspective new owners, to educate them and to show them the value of having a year-round center," she said, "But there are costs involved.”

That annual cost hovers around $280,000. The new owners, Central Rivers Power, are an affiliate of Hull Street Energy, a private equity firm in Maryland. They say they won’t close the center entirely.

The staff will no longer be there, but the center will be open from April through July, when fish migrate up the dam’s fish ladder, and open for tours scheduled in advance.

In an NHPR email, a representative of Central Rivers Power wrote “Central Rivers Power is working collaboratively with its partners to determine how to operate the Amoskeag fishways for the upcoming fish passage season and beyond," and that it "looks forward to building relationships with local communities and other stakeholders near the facilities we operate.”