Restoration of America’s Rivers Boosted with Federal Investment

May 23, 2024

American Rivers receives $1.78 million for river restoration on Maryland’s Patapsco River 

Contact: Amy Souers Kober, 503-708-1145  

The effort to restore rivers got an important boost this week with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announcing $240 million in recommended grants, supporting 46 projects to remove outdated dams and other river barriers in 13 states.   

American Rivers has been recommended to receive $1.78 million to further restoration efforts on Maryland’s Patapsco River, a multi-dam removal effort that has been ongoing for more than a decade (see details below).   

To learn more about dam removal or join our National Dam Removal Community of Practice, please visit  

Serena McClain, 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 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 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:  

Daniels Dam Removal, Patapsco River, MD ($1,778,466): This project will lay the groundwork to complete the reconnection of more than 65 miles of upstream spawning habitat for river herring (blueback and alewife) and shad (American and hickory), as well as more than 183 miles of habitat for American eel, and address years of habitat fragmentation resulting from industrialization of the Patapsco River system. The Patapsco River flows into the Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore and has historically supported abundant stocks of river herring, shad, and American eel. The project builds on three previous dam removals on the Patapsco— Union Dam (2010), Simkins Dam (2011), and Bloede Dam (2018). This project will build the plans to restore the natural form and function of the Patapsco through the removal of Daniels Dam, so that fish and wildlife can seek refuge from the effects of climate change. As the last barrier in the system, the removal of the Daniels Dam is the last, best action we can take to ensure continued survival of shad and river herring in the Patapsco watershed. The project has the added benefit of removing a public safety hazard in Patapsco Valley State Park, the most popular state park in Maryland (2.65 million visitors annually). Through this project, American Rivers will forge new relationships and connections with diverse organizations, tribes, and others who utilize rivers in the Chesapeake region in order to reach our goal of removing 4,500 dams in the Mid-Atlantic by 2050.  

More information on other projects funded by NOAA under this funding opportunity can be found here

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.