Simkins Dam Removal on Patapsco River in Maryland

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On October 22, 2010, NOAA and local partners celebrated the opening of 20 miles of stream habitat along the Patapsco River in Maryland and its tributaries. According to NOAA the action is a critical step towards restoring the Patapsco River. The breaching of the Simkins Dam was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Breaching the Simkins Dam brings us closer to returning this portion of the Patapsco River to a thriving, free-flowing river,” said Eric Schwaab, NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “And it’s terrific that while we are restoring habitat, we are also working to restore our economy through the jobs created in this effort.”

Removing the dam will enhance the health of the river by allowing the natural transport of sediment, restoring 20 miles of spawning habitat for migratory fish—including American eel and alewife—and other species, and creating a safer recreation area.  The dam removal will also increase safety for swimmers and kayakers.

The Patapsco River Restoration Project received $4 million last year funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment to remove both the Simkins and Union dams. NOAA, American Rivers, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Friends of the Patapsco Valley State Park have worked more than 36 months to implement this project and develop partnerships for future dam removals in the watershed.

“The removal of Simpkins Dam to restore the Patapsco River is a historic milestone for Maryland,” said Rebecca Wodder, President of American Rivers. “A healthier river will enhance the economy, local community and the Chesapeake Bay. American Rivers is proud to have partnered with private industry, government and other nonprofit organizations on this landmark restoration project. Rivers are remarkably resilient and we are all excited to see the Patapsco River restored.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. Through the Recovery Act, NOAA was provided $167 million for marine and coastal habitat restoration.

source: NOAA press release