SEPT. 7, 2018 — The Bloede Dam, located within Patapsco Valley State Park in Maryland, has stood as a public safety hazard and barrier to wildlife for more than a century. Its removal is one of the largest and most complicated dam removals undertaken by NOAA.
The project is the result of a 10 year collaborative effort between NOAA and partners from all levels of private and public sectors. To celebrate this event, representatives from NOAA, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of Patapsco State Park, American Rivers, and others gathered at Patapsco Valley State Park just days before its scheduled removal. Speakers, including NOAA Chief of Staff Stu Levenbach, USFWS Northeast Regional Director Wendy Weber, Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles, and Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers. All praised project leads and community members for their dedication, and envisioned the positive changes for the river and economic impacts to the surrounding area.
NOAA contributed almost $9 million of the $17 million cost over the past 10 years through several funding streams including the Community-based Restoration Program, Coastal Ecosystem Resilience program, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and NOAA's Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program settlement funds. The remainder of funding came from partners such as the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Coca Cola Foundation, Keurig Green Mountain, and others.
As the lowermost dam of the Patapsco River, the Bloede Dam removal will connect 65 miles of river and its tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay. This greatly increases spawning habitat for migratory blueback herring, American shad, hickory shad, and American eel. It will also eliminate a threat to public safety — as eight people have drowned in Bloede Dam since the 1980s. Construction of a multi-purpose trail will begin after demolition, improving access to fishing and recreation. The project is expected to culminate in summer 2019, and marks a significant victory for wildlife and all involved in this highly effective public-private partnership.