Federal funding advances critical dam removal projects  

April 24, 2024

American Rivers receives $2,700,000 for river restoration  

April 24, 2024  
Contact: Amy Souers Kober, 503-708-1145  

The effort to restore rivers got an important boost this week with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announcing $70 million in grants, supporting 43 projects to remove outdated dams and other river barriers in 29 states.   

American Rivers is receiving more than $2,700,000 of this funding to lead restoration efforts on North Carolina’s Deep River, West Virginia’s West Fork River, as well as 10 dam removal projects across Pennsylvania (see details below).   

To learn more about dam removal or join our National Dam Removal Community of Practice, please visit AmericanRivers.org/DamRemovalCOP  

Brian Graber, senior director for river restoration at American Rivers, made the following statement:  

“This federal funding is fueling great momentum for healthy rivers across the country. We applaud the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Interagency Fish Passage Task Force for their commitment to advancing locally-driven, community-supported restoration efforts.”  

“Our rivers face serious threats, but the good news is that rivers can heal. There are hundreds of thousands of dams in the U.S. and up to 85 percent of dams in our country are unnecessary, harmful, and even dangerous. That is why American Rivers is prioritizing removing 400 dams by 2027 and kickstarting the removal of 30,000 dams by 2050. Removing a dam is the single most impactful way to secure a river’s future health. American Rivers is also working to improve operations of dams that should remain in place.”  

Project details:  

Lockville Dam Removal, Deep River, NC ($500,000): This project will reconnect more than 45 miles of the Deep River through the removal of the Lockville Dam, a former hydropower dam, which no longer produces power and is the most downstream barrier on the Deep River in the Cape Fear River Basin. The Lockville Dam blocks critical habitat for the federally endangered Cape Fear shiner and limits its migration to suitable habitat found downstream. The dam breached in 2023 and is in disrepair. Its removal will reestablish this critical habitat for the Cape Fear shiner, the Atlantic pigtoe mussel, and other species. In addition, the dam removal will increase climate resiliency, improve water quality, and create safe recreational opportunities.  This project is part of a collaborative restoration on the Deep River that will reconnect more than 100 miles of the Deep River and has been supported by NOAA and NFWF.  

Hartland Dam Removal, West Fork River, WV ($1,000,000): This project will reconnect 181 miles of habitat on the West Fork River via removal of the Hartland Dam, which builds on the 2016 removals of three upstream dams on the West Fork River. Hartland Dam is an aging component of Clarksburg’s drinking water supply intake system and a new river-friendly water intake must be operational before dam removal can be accomplished. This project will complete all planning, design, and permitting for both the dam removal and the new water intake replacement. Removal will restore habitat for three federally listed freshwater mussels (snuffbox, clubshell, and round hickorynut), as well as additional species of critical mussels and fish that are vital to the river’s web of life.  

10 dam removals in Pennsylvania ($1,203,550): This effort covers a suite of 10 dam removals on Pennsylvania streams important for brook trout habitat. These dam removals will reconnect 190 miles of spawning, rearing, and foraging habitat for federally endangered species, imperiled species, and Species of Greatest Conservation Needs in the Ohio and Susquehanna River basins. Leveraging partner and government funds, these projects will also provide increased public safety, improved recreation access and recreational angling opportunities, and reduced flood risk.   

About American Rivers  

American Rivers is championing a national effort to protect and restore all rivers, from remote mountain streams to urban waterways. Healthy rivers provide people and nature with clean, abundant water and natural habitat. For 50 years, American Rivers staff, supporters, and partners have shared a common belief: Life Depends on Rivers. AmericanRivers.org