In 2005, Taunton made national headlines when the Whittenton Dam buckled under heavy rains, and part of downtown Taunton was evacuated for days.   The 170-year-old wooden dam didn't collapse at that time, but the scare sparked the government to make it easier to remove and repair aging dams.

Work has now begun to remove the dam that nearly led to the flooding of Taunton 8 years ago.   State and environmental officials say the removal of Whittenton Dam will increase safety and is a step toward allowing river herring access to spawning habitats for the first time in more than 150 years. 

Once the work is done, and another dam on the Mill River is removed next year, there will be an increase in the herring.   Federal officials also say once the herring population in the river grows, it's likely the number of striped bass will grow as well.