Conservation leaders, federal and state officials, and other partners gathered yesterday on the Patapsco River to celebrate the removal of Bloede Dam, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources said in their latest announcement.
“Water is life, and healthy rivers are absolutely vital to our health, economy, and communities,” said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers, at the ceremony.
“Today, we’re celebrating a new chapter for the Patapsco and all of the people who depend on this river. This is one of the most significant dam removal and river restoration projects in the country. We applaud the exemplary leadership from the state of Maryland and the collaboration and dedication of many public and private partners.”
“Today marks a major milestone in the reclamation and restoration of the Patapsco River,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary, Mark Belton, added.
“With the removal of Bloede Dam from within Patapsco Valley State Park, we return a river to its natural flow and state, enhance fish migration and passage, improve water quality in its banks and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay, and better protect and serve our guests and patrons.”
The benefits of the project extend beyond the river environment to coastal habitats, where sediment carried by the river will replenish marshes and beaches, making the coast more resilient to extreme storms.
Since Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast in 2012, the service has helped fund 30 coastal resilience projects in 11 states, using more than $100 million from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. Twelve dam removals have restored nearly 100 miles of river to their natural state.
Following the initial blast of explosives to breach the dam, crews will continue demolition work for the next three months. The site will remain closed to the public until July 2019.