August 14, 2007
Over 100 years ago the dam provided power to the local mill, but officials say it has served no real purpose in the last century.
Destroying this dam is going to cost over $200,000 but officials tell us that the price tag is well worth restoring a million dollar industry.
For the last six years groups like the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Rivanna conservation society have been working to restore the American Shad population in the Rivanna River.
One of the major impediments to shad getting back up the river from the ocean is the woolen mills dam,” said Jason Halbert with the RCS.
The American Shad were once one of the largest fisheries in terms of economics in Virginia; millions of dollars were brought in by fisherman catching Shad in the ocean
“It hasn't been until the last ten years that the state and federal government has put an emphasis on restoring the shad population because it’s declined. So, this is one of many dam removals on the east coast that will help the shad come back up the rivers to spawn and restore the fishery,” said Halbert.
Officials say, they hope that by destroying the dam, they won't only be restoring the quality of life for the fish and animals that use this dam, but also the humans who use it as well.
“This is a major hazard for boaters and canoeists and we think there is going to be a lot more canoeing through here after this is removed. That will be a great thing for families and kids to enjoy the river,” said Halbert.
The Rivanna Conservation Society says that they will be planting and seeding trees in its place this fall.
They also say that the majority of the rock and debris from the dam should be removed by this weekend.