Fly Life Magazine

Another damn dam down: “Fish got to swim and birds got to fly”

Some of the best trout fishing experienced can be found in the Southeast United States –  South Carolina “Upcountry” should never be passed up. Image YouTube screenshot.

A useless and crumling Congaree Creek Dam to fall by the hand of the same species that (foolishly) put it there

by Skip Clement

Fish will once again access their natal streams – swim upstream to spawn unrestrained by man’s damn dam folley along with paddlers paddling, tube floaters floating, and boaters moving freely in a major tributary of the Congaree River. Anglers will have natural accessing by boat to pristine fly fishing 

This event will not stir the nation to know of it, but it might stir those who do not like getting trampled in the name of progress so moneyed individuals, faceless coporations, and the greediest of our politicians (we have legions of them) make as pliant as wet clay the less than honorable officials taking brown bags full of Andrew Jackson 20’s to ordain the mischief of dams helping only to serve special interests.

This dam on Congaree Creek is scheduled to be removed in May 2019. Photo courtesy of Congaree Riverkeeper.

The removal schedule is right now, May 2019

Through a successful partnership, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), American Rivers, Congaree Riverkeeper and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service are happy to announce plans to remove a small dam from one Columbia-area creek.

We are thrilled to be able to work with all the partners on this important project. Congaree Creek is a beautiful blackwater creek that flows through the heart of Cayce, and includes a canoe trail that meanders through the Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve, just minutes from downtown Columbia. By removing this boating hazard and improving the health of the creek we hope more people will be able to explore and enjoy this hidden gem.” — Congaree Riverkeeper Bill Stangle

View of the Congaree River looking south from the Gervais Street Bridge. The sediment buildup was causedby the dam and shows evidence of coal tar – a residue from a plant (1906-1950). That cleanup is part of the whole removal process. Image S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

American Rivers and Congaree Riverkeeper approached SCDNR in 2017 for support and assistance in the removal of the Congaree Creek dam

It’s always exciting to work with partners to make these things happen. Removal of this relict sheet pile dam will provide for unimpeded aquatic movement and safe recreational access for paddlers along Congaree Creek. We hope it provides a great opportunity for folks to access the Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve canoe trail as well.” — SCDNR’s Office of Environmental Programs Director Lorianne Riggin

Gerrit Jobsis and Erin McCombs with American Rivers were the force that brought this easy aquatic restoration project to the forefront with support from Congaree Riverkeeper and the City of Cayce, who owns the land. SCDNR provided permitting assistance, and the Service’s Southeast Region Aquatic Habitat Restoration Team will be removing the dam.

Having another dam removed in South Carolina will go toward the goal of improving natural resources and human interactions in this area

Nationwide, more than 1,500 dams have been removed to restore river health and improve recreation and public safety. In South Carolina, only 11 dams have been removed across the state and the removal of the Congaree Creek dam is a step in the right direction to remove more and improve aquatic organism passage and safe recreational access. The need for this is more evident than ever with South Carolina experiencing an unprecedented number of 80 dam failures since 2015 as a result of hurricanes and flooding. Reconnection of riverine systems and wetlands can help prevent the damage to homes, roads and the loss of lives.” – – – Gerrit Jobsis, Senior Director at American Rivers.

Information!

The dam removal off Highway 21 Bypass near Dixiana Road was planned to start on May 21. Due to the limited amount of parking space and safety hazards at the dam removal site, SCDNR will provide photos and video to media.

Contact

Kaley Lawrimore, LawrimoreK@dnr.sc.gov, (803) 917-0398.

South Carolina Ecological Services Field Office

 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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