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Sediment Temporarily Impacts Fishing Below Bloede Dam

With the 2010 removal of Simkins Dam

2010 Removal of Simkins Dam: Unnecessary dams block rivers, impeding a number of natural processes. Fish and other aquatic species arenít able to migrate upstream in search of food and better habitat. They also degrade water quality by decreasing oxygen levels and altering natural temperatures, both things that can lead to algae growth and further harm fish.

Ellicott City, Md. (March 30, 2012) ─ Since the removal of Simkins Dam, sediment has made its way down the Patapsco River and is now filling deeper holes and pools below Bloede Dam. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds recreational anglers that this is only temporary. The occurrence is an expected and natural process that was accounted for during initial planning.

“Although disappointing to some anglers, the loss of these prime fishing spots is only temporary and was an expected outcome of the dam removal,” said Don Cosden, Assistant Director for Inland Fisheries. “The movement of coarse material and changes to the river landscape are part of the natural process.”
The results of DNR Biological Stream Surveys confirm there are still fish to catch below Bloede Dam and as the material dissipates, the aquatic habitat will become cleaner and healthier throughout the Patapsco, creating a better fishing experience.

The removal of Simkins Dam in December 2010 released large amounts of coarse sand and gravel that had collected behind the dam. Federal and State scientists mapped out the effects of the Simkins Dam project before it was removed using a sediment transport model. The model predicted that over time the sand and gravel would travel downstream temporarily filling pools, with the areas eventually returning to their natural state. 

“Storm events, not regular flow, have generally been the main force driving materials downstream,” said Mary Andrews, an engineer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “As the sediment moves, the depth of the river changes and the pools fill-in temporarily and later clear out. The area below Simkins Dam is recovering, no longer full of sand and gravel. We expect the same results for Bloede Dam as the sediment continues to move.”

The timeline for when the area will to return to a more natural state depends on future high-flow events such as the occurrence, frequency and intensity of storms. In the mean time, hydrogeologists with McCormick Taylor, an engineering firm hired by the project partners continue to monitor movement both at regular intervals and in response to storms.

Removal of the Simkins Dam is the culmination of more than two years of scientific study and engineering design that was vetted through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as Maryland Department of the Environment, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a number of local and national experts. This restoration project will allow fish access to new habitat and additional spawning ground, which has been shown to lead to healthier, more abundant fish stocks. Recreational users will also benefit from the elimination of this dangerous obstacle in the stream.

The Patapsco River Restoration and project partners are planning to hold a public information meeting in May. More details will follow. For more information on the Simkins Dam removal project, visit http://tinyurl.com/ca9go3x. For current fishing conditions go to dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/.


   March 30, 2012

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov