Sherman Reservoir

Last Updated: 3/2018
     The main-stem immediately below Harriman Reservoir is rated as Poor for Aquatic Life Support and gets progressively better toward the head of Sherman Reservoir where it rates Excellent. This reach is still listed as impaired however due to low temperature from the cold water released from the deep intake at Harriman Dam.
       Due to high levels of mercury in fish tissue the Vermont Department of Health posts a Health Alert for Fish Consumption for the Deerfield River chain.  See Vermont and Massachusetts recommeded guide lines before consuming fish.

    The Sherman Reservoir straddles the Vermont and Massachusetts border.   There are power generation facilities located at the Sherman Dam in Rowe, Massachusetts to the south and, a tunnel, conducting water from Harriman Reservoir 2.5 miles away, approaching Harriman Station from the north directly through the mountain behind the power house and emerges at the surge tank, the large cylindrical structure on the north east shore.
     This makes this reservoir unique since mountains rise all around with deciduous and conifers trees.  And of course, the location of the former and famous Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Plant is on its shores.
      First launch your boat and turn north along the west shore.  Shallows and weeds are encountered at mile 0.5.  Continue north following the shore and Tunnel Street as it narrows.  At about mile 1.6 the reservoir becomes a river with large rocks and a cold current.  Eventually it becomes impassable especially in the autumn when only a minimum flow is present.
      Turn south and follow the west side of the river eventually, at mile 2.1, you will come to a cove.  Read and observe the sign!  This is where the discharge from power generation enters from Harriman Reservoir.  Warnings are given by a horn and flashing light just before discharge.  The water can rise quickly and create a strong current.
      Just before mile 3.0 a small cove with a stream enters on this east coast.  From here to Sherman Dam, you will encounter a dense forest and steep hillside.
       At mile 4.5 is a warning turn west across the reservoir where a warning sign instructs not to approach any closer.  The east shore has a fenced in area with 16 nuclear spent fuel containers (see below).
      As you approach the west side, views of the spillway are possible.  Turn north on your journey.  At mile 5.2 is a small cove and at mile 5.4 a small rock island before returning back to the launch area.
Sherman Dam
      Sherman Dam is an earth-fill structure 110 feet high and 810 feet long with a 179-foot long concrete gravity spillway and a concrete and brick intake structure. Four feet of flashboards are maintained on the spillway year round. Water is conveyed from Sherman Reservoir either through spillage, or via the powerhouse intake. Water is conveyed to the powerhouse via a concrete conduit 98 feet in length with a cross-sectional area of 142 square feet, and a steel penstock 13 feet in diameter and 227 feet long. There are no diversion canals or tunnels.
      Power is generated at the Sherman facility without bypassing the mainstem. Due to the proximity of Sherman Dam to the Station No. 5 dam (0.8 miles south) there is no riverine reach between the two facilities (i.e., the Sherman powerhouse tail-water flows directly into the Station No. 5 impoundment)

Skill Level:              Class 1 - Flat water
Estimated Time:     2.5 hour
Total Distance:       5.9 miles
USGS Map: Rowe,  MA-VT, Readsboro, VT (7.5’x15’)
Launch Address:   
1 Bosley Hill Rd, Readsboro, VT 05350
                                Intersection of Bosley Hill Road and Tunnel Street
Boat Launch: Paved Ramp for all types.
Position: 42-44.71 N 72-55.60 W    
Physical Features:
  • Area:  218 acres
  • Depths not reported
  • Usable Storage 1359 acre-feet
  • Gross Storage   3593 acre-feet
  • Terrain Type: Wooded, Power Dams, Spent Nuclear Fuel
Fish Population
  • Last survey Unknown
  •  5 species: chain pickerel, yellow perch, brown bullhead; stocked brown trout (VFWD) and rainbow trout (MADFW).    
Put In and Take Out:
  • From Main Street North Adams Route 2
  • (15.5 miles, about 34 minutes)
  • From Route 2 East out of North Adams and past the Hair-Pin-Turn.
  • At mile 8.5, turn left on Tilda Hill Road. It becomes Main Road. This is all down hill.
  • At mile 12.4, turn right on Kingsley Hill Road
  • At mile 13.6 turn left on Readsboro Road.
  • Follow this road along the Deerfield River and the road becomes Tunnel Street.
  • At mile 15.5, just past the turn for Bosley Hill Road, turn right into the dirt driveway and launch.
The Boat Ramp
      TransCanada, the current power company, owns the boat launch.  There are six picnic tables with charcoal grills, portable rest rooms, and a fishing platform.  The boat launch is concrete and there is a floating dock to assist next to it.  Read the rules on signs.  The area is open from 0800 AM to 0930 PM.
Freshwater Fish Consumption Advisory List and Map
Yankee Rowe Nuclear Plant
       In 1954, a consortium of 11 New England Electric utilities formed Yankee Atomic Electric Company for the purpose of designing, constructing and operating a prototype nuclear power plant as part of President Eisenhower’s ‘Atoms for Peace’ Program. Construction of a four-loop pressurized water reactor began in Rowe, Massachusetts in 1958 and was completed in 1960. It was the third nuclear power plant built in the nation and the first in New England. The Yankee Nuclear Power Station or “Yankee Rowe” as it is often referred to, began commercial operation in 1961 and was only expected to operate for about six years. Instead, the small, 185 megawatt plant operated for more than three decades earning international distinction for its outstanding record.
       During Yankee Rowe’s 30 plus years of operation, the plant safely produced 44 billion kilowatt hours of electricity for its New England customers. Yankee was permanently shut down in February 1992 when the plant was determined to be no longer economically viable.
       Physical decommissioning of the former Yankee Rowe plant was completed in 2007. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) notified Yankee in August 2007 that the former plant site had been fully decommissioned in accordance with NRC procedures and regulations and formally approved Yankee Atomic Final Status Survey Reports in accordance with the License Termination Plan. The federal license for the site was reduced to the approximately 2 acres surrounding the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation site.
     The 2007 mile  tone marked the full decommissioning of the plant with all plant buildings removed, the site remediated and restoration complete. The project was performed safely and complied with the radiological cleanup standards required under the state and federal regulations.

Spent Fuel Storage:
      The transfer of Yankee's used fuel from wet to dry cask storage was successfully completed in June of 2003. Yankee’s mission and focus going forward is the safe storage of the plant’s spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C waste at the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation until the U.S. Department of Energy meets it’s statutory and contractual obligation to remove the material. The storage will be conducted in accordance with NRC requirements and applicable regulations while the company pursues opportunities with our stakeholders and others to expedite the removal of the material from the site.
Yankee Rowe Nuclear Plant
Boat Ramp
Picinic Area and Restrooms
Dam and Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage
Reservoir Looking North