Dam on West Branch Chester Creek Is Being Removed to Improve Water Quality and Fish Passage
Reporters invited to visit the siteDecember 17th, 2009
Caitlin Jennings, American Rivers, 202-243-7023
Sara Strassman, American Rivers, 717-763-0741
717-829-5670 (cell) [email protected] (email)
Aston Township, PA – Removal of a dam on West Branch Chester Creek, part of the Delaware Estuary watershed, began today. Reporters who are interested in visiting the site should contact Sara Strassman (see above).
The 10-foot tall and 90-foot long unnamed dam was originally built in 1839 for water supply and water power. However, it no longer serves any purpose and is in a state of disrepair.
Removing the dam will allow American eel, fallfish, brown trout, suckers, and several shiner and darter species to access a portion of the stream that has been blocked for nearly 170 years. The project will also benefit American shad, alewife, blueback herring, and hickory shad by improving water quality as a result of restoring the stream to free-flowing condition.
“By removing this obsolete dam we are giving the people of Aston Township a valuable asset—a healthier, thriving river,” said Sara Strassman of American Rivers. “Restored rivers can benefit communities by supplying clean water, fish and wildlife, flood protection, and new recreation and economic opportunities.”
American Rivers has provided $43,000 for the project, through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Growing Greener Grant Program. Additional funding has been provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the NOAA Restoration Center. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Aston Township have provided technical support including survey assistance and fisheries monitoring.
Pennsylvania is a national leader in river restoration and has removed more than 150 dams in recent years. American Rivers has actively supported Pennsylvania’s efforts since 2001, and has provided financial and technical assistance in the removal of many of these dams. Dam removal 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.