HARRISBURG – As part of the effort to aggressively pursue stimulus funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced that the commonwealth is applying to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for stimulus funds to build fish passages at three locations on the Susquehanna River and remove 10 dams on the tributaries that connect to it.
The governor said the projects are expected to create 267 jobs in construction, fish monitoring and services for anglers.
“This exciting project is good for the both economy and the environment,” Rendell said. “Not only will there be jobs tied to building the fish passages and removing the dams, but there will also be lasting jobs connected to the recreational and fishing opportunities these projects will create by restoring fish to an additional 471 miles of the Susquehanna and its tributaries.
“There is broad support for this partnership effort from groups who care about cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and from rural communities that will recognize a surge in visitors who want to boat and fish on the newly opened waters,” the governor added.
The grant application requests a total of about $14.6 million for the projects. NOAA has received $170 million in stimulus funds for habitat restoration projects.
Much of the design is already in place for fish passages at the inflatable dam at Shikellamy State Park at Sunbury, the Hepburn Street Dam in Williamsport, and Lock Haven’s Grant Street Dam.
Dam removals are proposed for:
· Standing Stone Dam, Standing Stone Creek, Huntingdon County;
· Levi Fisher Dam, Pequea Creek, Lancaster County;
· Axe Factory Dam, Fishing Creek, Clinton County;
· Unnamed Dam, Conococheague Creek, Franklin County;
· Heistand Mill Dam, Chickies Creek, Lancaster County;
· Zimmerman Dam, Conestoga River, Lancaster County;
· Riley Pond, tributary to Nescopeck Creek, Luzerne County;
· Indian Lake, Indian Run, Lancaster County;
· Smuckers Dam, Groff Run, Lancaster County; and
· Unnamed Dam, Dundaff Creek, Lackawanna County.
Partners on the projects include the Fish and Boat Commission, departments of Conservation and Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. Support is also being offered by the cities of Williamsport and Lock Haven, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program, the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, American Rivers, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Clinton and Lycoming counties, and the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership.
The Susquehanna River is the largest river on the east coast and once maintained the largest and most valuable American shad runs. All four hydroelectric dams in the lower 55 miles of the river are equipped with fish passages. The inflatable dam at Sunbury is now the first block to migrating fish on the Susquehanna.