Solomon Run Low-head Dam Removal
The Ursulines of Brown County are partnering with Ohio EPA, the Ohio Valley RC&D, Clermont & Brown Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the East Fork Watershed Collaborative to remove a low-head dam located on Solomon Run – a tributary to the East Fork Little Miami River. The dam was built in the 1930s to provide a source of drinking water; however, the dam is no longer used for that purpose and the Ursuline’s are committed to returning the stream to its natural state.
Each dam removal project should be evaulated to determine the potential costs and benefits of removal. Ohio EPA’s assessments of Solomon Run have determined that the low-head dam degrades in-stream habitat and obstructs the natural flow of the stream. The obstructed flow and large stagnate pool behind the dam are harmful to fish species and other aquatic organisms, including endangered mussel species. Removal of the dam also reduces liability costs/concerns for the Ursuline’s and elminates a potential public hazard.
Plans for the Solomon Run dam removal include removal of the structure and accumulated sediments in the impounded area. This sediment will be placed on adjacent cropland and spread to allow for its incorporation into the existing area. Ohio EPA sampled sediments in summer 2011 and results revealed no contamination at the site. After removing the sediment from the lake pool, the site will be regraded and a natural channel design will be utilized to restore the stream channel. Stream features, such as riffles and pools will be restored to mimic natural conditions and the stream corridor will be revegetated with native trees and shrubs. All disturbed or bare areas will be seeded and mulched to achieve naturalization goals and minimize site erosion. The Ursulines of Brown County plan to put all non-agricultural lands along the stream and other land in the USDA Conservation Reserve Program and donate as a conservation easement to be held by the Brown Soil & Water Conservation District.
The benefits of the Solomon Run low-head dam removal include the immediate restoration of river habitat, re-estabilshment of fish movement, rehabitation of threatened and endangered species, elimination of dam safety concerns, improved river aesthetics and recreational opportunities.For more information on this project, please contact the Clermont SWCD office (513-732-7075) or the Ohio Valley RC&D office (1(800) 628-7722 x-3565).