Funding Provided By: US Fish & Wildlife Service Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program ($65,000.00); Southeast Aquatic Restoration Program ($51,000.00); Patagonia ($13,000.00)
In-Kind Funds Provided By: American Rivers, USFWS, NCDENR
Smithermans Dam is a partially breached 12 ft. high, 150 ft. long dam owned by Town of Troy. It lies on a 10 acre parcel on both sides of the Little River, and is part of a larger conservation corridor for riparian buffer protection in Montgomery County, NC. When adopting this project in FY 2012, the PCC Board determined that although the project lies outside of the PCC boundaries, the removal of this stream barrier would benefit counties located in the PCC Service Area.
Goals of this project include: river restoration, improved public safety, increased recreational and environmental education opportunity, improved public access for the river and riparian greenway trail upstream, improved habitat for 12 rare/threatened mussel species, 2 rare fish species, and 1 catadromous species (American eel). Several remaining dams downstream are prime candidates for removal and landowners have indicated willingness to participate. Reconnecting the upper Little River habitat will encourage reconnection of the entire Little River to the Pee Dee River in the future, supporting ongoing diadromous fish passage and recreation efforts in the area.
PCC solicited funds successfully from USFWS, SARP, and Patagonia in 2013 to remove Smitherman’s Dam. PCC staff then entered into talks with USFWS about utilizing an in-house removal team that was proven successful in the Lassiter Mill Dam Removal Project, and was able to save many of the funds received for future dam removals in the Piedmont.
In November 2013 USFWS successfully removed Smitherman’s Mill Dam on the Little River and created a river access point at the former dam site that will be utilized by the Town of Troy to create access for fishing other recreational activities and will ultimately connect with an ongoing greenway project being implemented by the Town of Troy.
Press from the dam removal can be viewed here.