Restoring rivers in Southwest Virginia

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

On an unseasonably chilly day in March, a team assembled from our offices across the Northeast and Southeast began taking down a decrepit dam that for years blocked the Middle Fork of the Holstom River. It would take four days to break apart the dam and extract the rubble. But by the end of the week, the river would be moving free again.

The excavator pictured next to the dam. As you can see, the dam had already been breached. Credit: Tom Barnes / USFWS The excavator pictured next to the dam. As you can see, the dam had already been breached. Credit: Tom Barnes / USFWS

The dam was built in 1911 alongside an ice factory that shuttered more than forty years ago. In recent years, it’d become a public nuisance. By working with the local landowner and the town of Marion, the Service removed both the cinderblock factory structure as well as the dam.

For this project, we relied on the expertise of the Management Assistance Team–a highly efficient six-person…

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Author: rjbailey

"I have no idea what I'm doing, but I know I'm doing it really, really well." - Andy Dwyer

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