Barrier Removal and Habitat Restoration
As recreation deaths associated with low dams increase, concern from owners is driving interest in removing dams. Removal of these structures, which in many cases are obsolete relics from decades ago, is not just a benefit to the waterways they impound, but also a potential driver for economic growth through bike and walking trail development and better access to the water for all. Low-head dam information resource. Low-head dam death data.
There are also environmental and public health benefits accruing from these projects. The Ohio River watershed is increasingly being inundated with nutrient loads far in excess what it needs to promote good environmental health. The result is promotion of algal blooms, like what occurs in the slack pooled water upstream of dams. These algal blooms are detrimental to the survival of other aquatic species and can be hazardous under certain circumstances, as what has been observed on the Ohio River and other waterbodies. Removing these dams eliminates the conditions that enable algal blooms to occur. Thus, river health is protected.
Furthermore, dams also defeat the natural flow of life in a river. Whether it be fish species that need to spread populations throughout a river system to increase survivability or fresh water mussels that depend on migration of fish for completion of their life cycle, removal of these barriers restores the flow of life in a river.
“We have used a comprehensive approach to these projects and developed a workable model that enables us to help owners and communities raise the necessary funds to achieve the social, environmental, and economic benefits of river protection and restoration. We applaud various partners and dam owners for having the vision and ambition that these projects require,” said Rich Cogen, Executive Director of Ohio River Foundation.