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Ohio RIver Foundation Received a $50,000 USFWS Grant for Camp Michaels Gunpowder Creek Dam Removal.
The Camp Michaels Gunpowder Creek Dam Removal Project was a collaborative effort by Boone County Conservation District (BCCD), Ohio River Foundation (ORF), and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to restore flow and habitat for the fish and wildlife of Gunpowder Creek. ORF successfully obtained requisite funding from USFWS to assist the BCCD in removing this dam.
This project involved removal of a 120’ long wall dam. The dam was constructed more than 50 years ago as a water source for Camp Michaels and to provide a recreation area in the impounded area upstream of the dam. In the 1970’s use of the dam as a water source ended and the dam was partially dismantled. Unfortunately, the remnant dam became a recreation hazard and was causing severe erosion of the right descending creek bank during high water events as water was forced river right by the presence of the dam..
This actionl removed the only remaining barrier in the 58 square mile Gunpowder Creek watershed, restoring natural variability in creek flows and reconnecting fragmented river habitat to allow access to historic spawning and nursery grounds, and improving fish passage and mussel habitat and migration (including that of resident mussels).
Gunpowder Creek is a tributary of the Ohio River. Kentucky and the federal government have recognized the importance of this watershed and targeted significant funds since 2009 to improve its condition. BCCD and property owner (Boy Scouts of America) were eager to remove this dangerous paddling and swimming hazard.
Removal of the barrier also reduced the amount of erosion in the creek by lessening the opportunity for creek bank sloughing.
Furthermore, by financially assisting the Boy Scouts and BCCD in performance of this project we are encouraging solutions to one problem (recreation) that also solve another (fish passage). This type of thinking is new to this region and this project will have the effect of encouraging more communities to consider similar types of multi-problem solving solutions.
Finally, by involving the Boy Scouts in the replanting of the creek banks we are helping foster the development of conservation skills and stewardship ethics.
This project was completed in 2017.