Ask Outdoors Girl

December 25, 2010

Marty Haggerty of Catonsville has a three-parter: How long after the Simkins Dam removal will we see the return of eels, shad, sturgeon and other natural aquatic inhabitants of the Patapsco River? Also, is there a breach in the Bloede Dam down river? When are Bloede and the Daniels dams scheduled for removal?

Jim Thompson, the Department of Natural Resources point man on dam removal, replies: There are eels upstream of Simkins Dam now, we'll just see an increase in passage efficiency almost immediately. The return of shad/herring will take a bit longer since their stocks are depressed across the entire East Coast and the run in the Patapsco is very small. Stocking will help, but it will be a number of years before we see runs of shad and herring and we may not see American shad as far as Simkins, ever. Perhaps hickory shad will return. Sturgeon will probably not return to the Patapsco in our life time, if at all. The impact to aquatic insects and other inhabitants will be short lived. This time next year, I doubt you'll even notice the dam was ever there at all.

There is no breach in Bloede Dam, but plans are underway to seek funds to begin design for the removal. Daniels is not yet scheduled for removal, but we hope to address that.

Serena McClain of American Rivers adds: The positive impact to aquatic insects and other inhabitants will last a long time and will result in fatter, healthier fish. While migratory species are the driver behind the project, the spike in the macro community (as well as the availability of better quality habitat) will benefit native resident species that folks like to fish for.

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