Camp Hill, PA – Preliminary work began today to remove a dam on Jordan Creek just upstream from Allentown, Pennsylvania in South Whitehall Township. American Rivers is working with the dam owner, GEO Specialty Chemicals, to remove the 90 foot long concrete dam because it blocks fish passage and is a hazard to boaters. Reporters who are interested in viewing the removal next week should contact David Pratt, GEO Plant Engineer, at 610-782-2611.
Jordan Creek is a large tributary to the Lehigh River that originates on Blue Mountain and winds through rolling hills in the valley before flowing through Jordan Park and Jordan Meadows in Allentown. This dam, and other low-head dams like it, is considered a boating hazard by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission due to the dangerous undertows that can develop when water spills over the dam. The creek is popular in the summer among Allentown residents, who wade in the creek at Jordan Park, but the creek may be even more well-known for its spring trout fishing. The removal will open up 2.5 miles of spawning ground to help boost populations for fish such as trout and herring.
“We are glad that GEO Specialty Chemicals agreed to remove this dam to improve stream flows,” said Sara Strassman with American Rivers. “I hope that more dam owners will follow their lead and, by doing so, help surrounding communities by restoring the many benefits healthy rivers and creeks provide.”
Brad Osborne, Plant Manager at GEO Specialty Chemicals, said, “We are pleased to work with American Rivers, the Fish & Boat Commission, and the township in bringing this section of the Jordan Creek back to its natural state.”
The state has been working to restore Jordan Creek for years. In 2001, Jordan Creek was added to the Pennsylvania Rivers Registry after a plan to restore and protect the creek and its natural resources was approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Removing dams is one of the most effective means of restoring river health and the removal of this dam is a milestone on the road to recovery for Jordan Creek.
Pennsylvania leads the nation in dam removal projects and six dams have already been removed in Pennsylvania this year. American Rivers works across the country to remove outdated dams and other stream barriers. The organization’s expertise and advocacy have contributed to the removal of more than 200 dams nationwide. Removing an obsolete, harmful dam can help a community by improving public safety, reducing flood damage, saving money, increasing economic opportunities, restoring overall river health, improving water quality, and boosting community resiliency to climate change.
American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.