Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, Surprised at What they Got Done

To play catch up, you can read the past progress reports here.

Because of the weather conditions the past week, rain, ice, snow and the condition of the dam removal site last week, I didn’t expect to see much progress. Couldn’t have been more wrong.

First let’s get the stupid people report out of the way. Construction sites tend to draw stupid people like a magnet to iron. Some of us like to think that being drawn to a construction site is actually providing a benefit, perhaps documenting the dam removal process on a creek. A truly stupid person has a mattress in their car. They know where a construction site is that can be accessed by driving a couple of miles down a dead end road. When they get there they think, hmmm, I know, I’ll dump the mattress here.

The water coming through the old breached dam is creating a pretty intricate looking ice sculpture. Now that they’ve been working on and around the bridge that is also collapsing, I’m really reluctant to go walking around under the bridge to get better pictures of all the ice, so I settle for this.

What I didn’t expect to see was water coming through the culvert.

This means a lot more work got done than I realized. The way the culvert exit is built looks pretty permanent.

I was wondering about that so I went back to read the original construction plans. Now it all makes sense, but I’ll get to that.

At the construction site and on the creek, the water level in the pool that was covered in ice last week has dropped and all the ice is collapsing into the creek.

To get to the far end I had to walk through all the ankle twisting ruts of frozen mud created by the construction equipment. I was glad my cat like skills were working today, falling in the mud would definitely not have been a soft landing.

This is where everything started to make sense. Water was flowing through a diversion channel that will become a permanent part of the area.

Beyond the channel they cut is a wetland. I vaguely remember from past dam removal meetings a comment about no net loss of wetlands. Even this small one is going to be preserved. Once the dam is removed and the creek is flowing at normal levels, no water will be diverted to this channel. But at high water events, excess water will flow through here to feed the wetland. The lower coffer dam is just to the left in this picture. For now it looks like the whole creek is going to get diverted through here so they can finish dredging the rest of the creek.

Back at the dam is where I was surprised at how much work they got done. Last week this spot looked like this.

This week the hole is filled with dirt.

Again, last week I wasn’t sure how they were going to continue with this spot. With the weather being the way it was, I assumed they would wait. This from last week.

This is how it looked today.

They removed a section of the metal retaining wall and dug a deep trench for a good 30 or 40 feet to lay more concrete pipe. They connected all this to a big stand pipe that looks to be almost 8 feet in diameter.

It all looks pretty permanent to me. This stand pipe is on the far end of the wetlands and when water fills the wetlands through the channel they dug, excess water would flow through this and out the culvert exit.

If they keep going at this rate, especially through the miserable weather we just had, they just might get this done by the end of March.

This is the bypass channel that was cut to let the creek flow into the pond for the first stage of dredging.

I have a feeling next weekend this channel will be filled in, the first coffer dam will be removed and they’ll be letting the next section to be dredged dry out for a few days.

I’m starting to think I need to find something better to do with my time on the weekends. This is getting a bit too geeky even for me.

2 thoughts on “Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, Surprised at What they Got Done

  1. Ken G Post author

    I know I’m anxious to start heading up stream following the fish. There are some beautiful isolated stretches of the creek when it’s not flowing through your typical subdivision.

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