11 Projects to Watch: Dam Removal Construction Season Kicks Off
Many of us associate summer with deciding which of the latest beach reads we’ll indulge in or plotting our next outdoor adventure. However, at American Rivers, summer also means the official kickoff to dam removal construction season!
Lower water levels and an end to the spring migratory fish runs often make this the perfect time of year to do active work in a river channel. Over the next five months, work will get underway at more than 16 of our dam removal and restoration sites.
These are 11 projects worth keeping your eye on this season:
Commodore Dam on Hinty Run in Indiana County, PA was removed in late June, providing fish passage for wild brook trout, as well as removing a safety hazard. The dam, classified as high-hazard, would have required $500,000 in repairs to ensure its safety. Green Township Water Authority chose to switch over to groundwater for public supply, and then work with American Rivers to remove the dam.
The removal of Moosup Dam #1 on the Moosup River in CT was also completed in late June. This is the first of several barrier removal projects and part of a collaborative effort to restore fish passage in the Moosup River.
The Harvell Dam Removal on the Appomattox River in Petersburg, VA will re-open 127 miles of upstream habitat for migratory fish, such as American Shad and river herring. The dam removal will also enhance recreational boating and fishing. The river is currently being diverted through the millrace with removal slated for later this month.
Plymco Dam Removal on Town Brook in Plymouth, MA is part of a watershed effort to restore the historic anadromous fish run at Town Brook and follows on the completion of the Off Billington Dam removal last year. In addition to providing passage for fish, replacing the Plymco Dam with an arch bridge will improve water quality through removal of contaminated sediment. American Rivers is funding this work through our national partnership with the NOAA Restoration Center.
Hospital Dam on Conewango Creek in Warren County, PA has claimed at least 5 lives in the past 30 years, but that will change when American Rivers removes this dangerous dam later this month. The partially breached dam causes perilous water conditions for boaters on this newly designated water trail.
Upper Wells River Dam Removal on Wells River in Groton, VT will open a total of 22.31 miles of stream, 6.4 miles of which is cold water habitat suited to Eastern Brook Trout. American Rivers is partnering with the Connecticut River Watershed Council and Keurig Green Mountain on this project.
Kladder Dam on a tributary to the Juniata River in PA is slated for removal in August in order to reconnect high-quality coldwater habitat for a wild brook trout population on this unnamed tributary.
Removal of the Byrnes Mill Dam on White Clay Creek later this summer will reopen 3.5 miles and 42 acres of spawning habitat along the National Wild and Scenic River for the passage of American Shad, Hickory Shad, and river herring in New Castle County, Delaware. This will be the first dam removal project completed for fish passage in Delaware. American Rivers is funding this work through our national partnership with the NOAA Restoration Center.
Heistand Sawmill Dam on Chiques Creek in PA is slated for removal in late August. In addition to restoring fish passage to over 3.1-miles of Chiques Creek, the project includes building a hiking and biking trail, as well as the potential to remove a small section of the stream from the state’s impaired waters list.
The Centreville Dam on Gravel Run in Centreville, MD will be removed later this fall in an effort to restore upstream habitat for perch, river herring, and American Eel.
Implementation of the Monongahela National Forest Ecological Restoration, surrounding Lambert Run, in WV continues this summer and fall with a holistic suite of restoration activities, including soil decompaction, wetland restoration, woody debris loading, and planting of native trees, to restore 2,600 acres of the Lambert Run watershed for the federally protected Northern flying squirrel and native brook trout. American Rivers and the EPA are partnering to fund a portion of this project through our Potomac Highlands Implementation Grant Program.
What projects are you looking forward to this season?