Holyoke Gas and Electric (our municipal electricity provider and the operators of the dam and canal) once used the canal system 'down time' as an opportunity to dredge the canals. However, with the advent of the endangered species act, even though the canals are man-made structures and waterways (as opposed to a river/stream. etc) HG&E is no longer allowed to completely drain the canals OR dredge the canals because an endangered mussel species found it's way into the canal bed. That's why you still see a little water in the photos below.
We saw lots and lots of empty mussel shells and one or two live ones. WE DID NOT TOUCH/DISTURB/BREATHE ON/DISLODGE/TICKLE OR IN ANY OTHER WAY HARASS ANY ENDANGERED OR NON-ENDANGERED MUSSEL OR OTHER BI-VALVE.
Um.. Ladies? May I suggest using the ladder?
Dearest reader, I hope you've enjoyed the tour!