In partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Community-based Restoration
Program, American Rivers awarded a grant to the Piedmont Conservation Council in 2011 to design and permit removal of the Lassiter Mill Dam on the Uwharrie River in Randolph County, NC. This grant was part of a larger program of NOAA and American Rivers to improve the health and vibrancy of our nation’s rivers and open them up to diadromous fish species through the removal of outdated and obsolete dams. The grant paid for species surveys, geographical surveys, and the design for the dam removal project as a “Phase I”. Princeton Hydro, LLC completed the design and PCC staff completed permitting in 2012, with assistance from American Rivers Durham Field Office.
“Phase II”, removal of the Lassiter Mill Dam, was funded by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and Fish America Foundation/NOAA through grants secured in 2012. The dam removal and stream bank restoration was completed by USFWS personnel as an in-house process under the management and administration of PCC staff. This approach greatly reduced the project’s budget, leaving funds available for future dam removals. Phase II of the project was completed in late summer/fall of 2013.
This 12 ft. high, 200 ft. long dam is privately owned within a conservation area of 1,100 acres. The primary goal of this dam removal was restoration of the historic flow of fish passage on the Uwharrie including American shad, American eel, and other diadromous species, as well as to provide improved habitat for various priority freshwater mussel species. Removal of this old dam opened access to an additional 15 miles of mainstem river habitat and 174 miles of perennial stream habitat on the Uwharrie; and the estimated 24 acres of dam impoundment were returned to its natural flowing state.
Funding Provided By
- American Rivers/NOAA Community-Based Restoration Program River Grants ($65,900.00);
- US Fish & Wildlife Service Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program ($110,000.00);
- Fish America Foundation/NOAA Community-Based Restoration Program ($40,500.00)
Matching Funds Provided By:
- University of Virginia;
- NC Wildlife Resources Commission;
- American Rivers;
- and private landowners