Current Progress & Next Steps
DNR and it's partners have completed the following tasks:
- Estimated sediment volumes using MD Geological Service seismic survey data and soil borings.
- Analyzed sediment cores for physical properties and pollutants.
- Met with permitting agencies to discuss the Bloede Dam removal options.
- Met with Baltimore County DPW to discuss options for minimizing impacts to the sewer line.
Looking ahead, DNR and it's partners will work on the following tasks:
- DNR contractors will analyze additional sediment probes that were collected late July. The information will be usefully in determining the location of the river channel following dam removal.
- Complete an "Existing Conditions Model" which will include hydraulic models at various storm events.
- Complete sediment volume estimates.
- Complete 60% Preliminary Design plans in preparation for permit submittal in October of 2013.
- Attend on-site meeting with Maryland Historic Trust and address cultural resource concerns.
Bloede Dam Project
Problem: The Bloede Dam is located within the Patapsco River State Park and was built in 1907. The dam is a public safety concern (deaths have occurred), an obstacle for fish passage, and it fragments aquatic habitat.
Responsibility: Bloede dam is owned by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Process: A feasibility study was commissioned to evaluate the dam's negative impact on the ecology of the Patapsco River and issues of public safety. After a thorough analysis and public input, the Department and project partners have made a decision to move forward with the Bloede Dam removal with passive sediment management.
Goals of the Bloede project:
- Restoration of Fish and Aquatic Organism Passage
- Improvement of Public Safety
- Consideration of Historic, Cultural and Recreational Values
The Patapsco River once supported large runs of shad, herring, and American eels, but the construction of dams has blocked these historic migrations. The fish ladders constructed in the 1990's have proven to be ineffective at passing fish – especially American eel.
The Bloede dam is a significant public safety hazard, several deaths have occurred at or near the dam, The most recent of which helped spark the current alternatives analysis.
The Bloede Dam was built in the early 1900s and has a unique design. It is a major feature of the Patapsco Valley State Park. Recreational boating and fishing values shall be considered.
Why Bloede Dam - Why Now?
- Improve public safety (human deaths & injuries have taken place at the dam)
- Complement upstream restoration work (Union & Simkins dam removal)
- Improve fish passage (ladder has been unsuccessful & expensive to maintain)
- Improve stream connectivity for fish and aquatic organisms
With the removal of all or most of Bloede Dam, DNR envisions a restored Patapsco River System with a wide range of benefits and long-term cost savings. It is recognized that this decision is not without potential adverse impacts.
A significant historical structure in Patapsco Valley State Park will be lost, there will be short-term impacts to the ecology of the river, fishing and other recreational opportunities will be affected, and there may be temporary inconvenience to park visitors.
However, there will be long-term ecological benefits to the Patapsco River and the Chesapeake Bay, including:
- Passage of anadromous fish and eels, thus achieving fish passage objectives
- Improved recreational opportunities (fishing, canoeing, kayaking, tubing) and enhanced public safety (removal of drowning hazard and elimination of dam-related injuries)
- Healthier populations of native fish species
- Increased diversity of aquatic insects
- Cooler, oxygen-rich waters that improve the fishery
- Long-term cost savings related to ongoing maintenance and repair of the dam structure and an ineffective fish ladder
- A more scenic and natural setting, as the present dam aesthetics that some find attractive will be replaced over time with a rocky, more natural cascading river environment and setting
To address the loss of a cultural and historic resource, consideration is being given to retaining a portion of the dam structure on the Baltimore County side and the placement of appropriate interpretive displays on location or in other appropriate locations (e.g. park history center). Leaving a portion of the dam in place may also provide greater protection for a sewer line that is integrated into the existing structure and avoid damage from heavy equipment used for the removal process.
The Department invites you to continue to submit written comments on this project, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.