WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and Senator-elect Chris Van Hollen, along with Representative Elijah E. Cummings (all D-Md.), today lauded the announcement of a $1 million funding recommendation through the NOAA Fisheries Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants program to remove the obsolete Bloede Dam on the Patapsco River.
When finalized, an action expected soon, the funding will enable the non-profit organization American Rivers, working in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, NOAA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of the Patapsco Valley State Park and many others, to restore the natural resiliency of the Patapsco River Valley through the removal of Bloede Dam, which was built in 1907. The 34-foot-high by 220-foot-long, state-owned dam currently serves no purpose and presents both a human health hazard (multiple deaths have occurred at the site) and a major barrier to migratory aquatic species. Removal of the Bloede Dam is the linchpin of a larger effort to remove four main-stem dams on the Patapsco and open more than 65 miles of spawning habitat for blueback herring, alewife, American shad and hickory shad, along with more than 183 miles for American eel.
“Removal of the obsolete Bloede Dam means the elimination of a hazard that has needlessly cost several human lives and prevented countless fish and eels from reaching their historic spawning areas, so this grant will mean both enhanced public safety and healthier aquatic populations,” said Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “This funding also means a number of good-paying construction jobs and enhanced recreational opportunities for anglers and other users of the Patapsco Valley State Park, illustrating that efforts to remove obsolete dams are good investments in local economies and communities alike.”
“The removal of the Bloede Dam is a positive step forward in the restoration of the Patapsco River Valley and the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said Senator-elect Van Hollen. “I applaud NOAA for taking action on this obsolete dam, which will protect lives, create jobs and expand recreational opportunities for Marylanders.”
“Bloede Dam is a public safety hazard and it obstructs the Patapsco River, which is a habitat for several aquatic species integral to the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” Representative Cummings said. “This grant will make Patapsco Valley State Park safer for Marylanders, and it will make the Chesapeake Bay healthier and more resilient so it can be enjoyed for generations yet unborn.”
The Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants program, administered by NOAA Fisheries, which is dedicated to the development of healthy and sustainable coastal ecosystems through habitat restoration actions.