The federal government plans to award $1 million to a river-restoration business to help remove a pesky dam from Patapsco Valley State Park.
According to a release from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries department, the agency will be giving the grant to American Rivers “to work with partners to remove the Bloede Dam…which will enhance the natural resiliency of the Patapsco River Valley and restore 65 miles of spawning habitat for herring, shad, eel, and other species.”
Jon Bleiweis of The Catonsville Times first reported the news.
The 220-foot-long dam was built in 1907 to provide electricity to Catonsville and Ellicott City, but stopped operating in 1932. It was sold to the state six years later. The obsolete dam has since become a nuisance, killing numerous swimmers in the area in the area over the years and harming the habitat for fish and eel species in the river.
Serena McClain, director of river restoration for American Rivers, told Bleiweis that the removal project could have actually started earlier this year, but was delayed by the construction permitting process. The project could take between 16 and 18 months. The company is still accepting bids for the demolition, so costs aren’t final yet. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says construction could begin in spring or summer of 2017.
Sen. Ben Cardin, Senator-Elect Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Elijah Cummings all celebrated the NOAA grant in an announcement on Tuesday.
“Bloede Dam is a public safety hazard and it obstructs the Patapsco River, which is a habitat for several aquatic species integral to the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” Cummings said in his statement. “This grant will make Patapsco Valley State Park safer for Marylanders, and it will make the Chesapeake Bay healthier and more resilient so it can be enjoyed for generations yet unborn.”