CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Earth week is here and a major project is underway to restore Chicopee’s Abbey Brook to its historic routes.

The city has received federal funding to implement new storm water and pollution controls along the brook’s one-and-a-half-mile path. The 3-phased project will include the removal of the upper and lower Bemis Pond dams, and the replacement of the Front Street culvert.

DER is assisting the City with the revitalization and restoration of Abbey Brook in the vicinity of Szot Park. The project consists of two dam removals, a culvert replacement, and daylighting of a 250-foot stretch of river. When complete, the project will reconnect 1.5 miles of Abbey Brook with the downstream Chicopee River.

Division of Ecological Restoration

MAP: Abbey Brook in Chicopee

“It’s actually going to put a natural free-flowing wetland and stream back in place, restore the Abbey Brook back to its original context. Residents will be able to have a nice wetland walk that’s going to be fully accessible for all, and it just creates another highlight for the city’s park system.” Nathan Moreau, associate planner, for the City of Chicopee

Right now, the Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) is working with the city on staging, permitting and project costs. This phase is expected to be completed by June 30.