Barrier Removal

By removing dams and low water crossings, we restore waterways’ natural flow. This helps populations of fish, mussels and other freshwater species; eliminates the conditions that enable algal blooms to occur; and creates safer conditions for recreation.

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 death data.

West Milton DamWest Milton Dam after dam removal and site restoration

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 water bodies. 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.

Do you have a dam on your property that you’d like removed or a dam removal project you’d like to implement? Ohio River Foundation works with private and public landowners to implement and manage their projects, as well as provide assistance in obtaining project funding. Learn more here.

Related Projects


Let’s talk and find out how we can help you! Please contact us or call 513-460-3365.

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Support the Ohio River Foundation

We know how important water is to you. Reducing pollution, restoring habitat, educating and training the next generation of environmental stewards, and ensuring clean water for you and millions of fellow citizens, all keeps us working on your behalf.

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Streamside Buffers

$25 can plant five native trees as a streamside buffer.

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Water Quality Equipment

$100 can buy water quality equipment to enable us to identify pollution problems.

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New River Explorers

$500 can help 50 students be River Explorers for a day of learning in a river or creek.

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Youth Conservation Teams

$1,000 can fund a high school Youth Conservation Team for a day of conservation work and learning.

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