Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, This Can’t be Good – Addendum

To play catch up, you can read the past progress reports here.
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Saturday rolled around and I needed to get out to the Blackberry Creek Dam Removal site. I knew nothing had probably got done since Thursday evening, but now I was dressed correctly in order to go stomping through ankle deep mud. I could tell the river and creeks around me had been coming down, I drive over them all the time, but they weren’t coming down that fast.

I started out at the dam and the collapsing bridge. What’s left of the one bridge pylon looked like it was breaking apart even more.

I got down to creek level to see how things looked. While walking back and forth within a few feet of the bridge, old forgotten brain cells that took three years of structural engineering classes while studying architecture came awake. They were quickly calculating what would happen if the bridge pylon gave way while I was standing there. Calculations of bridge section width and length were being taken along with angle, weight and velocity calculations thrown in for good measure.

It was quickly determined that I was definitely standing in the wrong damn spot, so I snapped off a shot and got the hell out of there.

At the parking lot on the other side another car was in the lot. A fisherman was standing along the shore tossing a bobber into the pond, or what was a pond before the dam removal project started. As I walked past him, keeping a good 20 foot fisherman’s courtesy distance, I could see the big Ranger Boats logo emblazoned across the back of his coat. The only people I ever see that wear coats like this are the fishing pro’s, or the people fishing the wannabe fishing pro circuit. I thought I’d give it a try…

“Catching anything out of here?”

I got a quick, short, curt “no.” And that was it, just a back.

Old Ken would have struck up a conversation anyway. Maybe I’d mention that before the snow and rain the pond had pretty much dried up and had been down well over five feet. Old Ken would have mentioned how for the past three months the pond had become part of the creek and anything that was living in it probably left. Old Ken would have pressed upon the fisherman to talk to the powers that be to make sure the pond was going to get restocked once the construction project was over.

In New Ken’s head, the head that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about attitude from surly fishermen, I simply heard… screw ya, you’re the pro, you’ll figure out soon enough nothing is in here.

But out of my mouth came, “well, you probably won’t” and I ambled on by.

I like to think I’m still fairly polite.

What I could see from a distance on Thursday was confirmed as I got closer to the coffer dam. The water had come up much higher than I thought and you could see the mud line on the edge of the pond. The pond had been filled almost to capacity.

Before the snow and rain, the breach that had been filled in to close off the pond looked like this:

The water had done a pretty good job of getting rid of it.

The creek level has already come down over a foot, but it’s still going around the coffer dam at a pretty good clip.

The far side of the coffer dam fared better, but some water coming through there too.

This is where hiking down stream got a little tougher. The shore in one stretch was gone, which meant I had to go walking through all the ankle deep mud. I kept toying with the idea of going further, but the ground was pretty well saturated and I didn’t feel like finding out if my near knee high boots weren’t going to be high enough.

Last week they had dredged out quite a bit of the creek and had moved the excavator out of the creek bottom. Getting the excavator out of the creek was a smart move even though it would have made for some interesting pictures. This is how it looked last week, notice the stick with the orange marker at the top:

I tried to get close to the same spot without sinking out of sight. Again, notice the stick with the orange marker. A lot of water had gone through here.

I would imagine the water came through here initially in a hurry. From the spot in the picture above, the creek bed just beyond the gravel bar had been dredged down almost six feet and going to nearly 10 feet deep at the dam. The left hand shore where I walked last week was completely under water. That shore was all loose dirt laying up against what I think to be a limestone ledge. It will be interesting to see how much of the dirt is still there once all the water is drained from here again.

If all the dirt is gone, or a good part of it, and it’s found out there is a limestone ledge down to the old creek bed, I hope someone notices and decides to just leave it alone.

The limestone ledge would look better than all the rock they’re using to create the other new shorelines.

6 thoughts on “Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, This Can’t be Good – Addendum

  1. bob

    i am hopeful it will be an attractive spot once it leaves up and greens in. I would like to work this area for half a mile up and half a mile down (for a start) with the tenkara fly rod catching whatever species of fishy life that is willing to nibble on a fly.

    It has been a fascinating tale and process.

    I don’t always wish conversation while fishing. But, 13 years of having people of all types walk up to me while I fish along the lake front to ask me a simple question as I fish has taught me that:

    1. a smile, or
    2. a shrug of the shoulders, or
    3. a shake of the head, or
    4. a thumbs down, or
    5. rocking hand gestures that say “etsy-ketsy,” “not much,” or “fair-to-middlin'”

    goes a long way to giving a short answer to a genuine inquiry, while still being a polite human being.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I would have settle for polite Bob.

      I’ll let you know when exploring becomes an option. You’ll like the stretch once we get away from all the new construction. Wild looking and tough enough to keep the casual wader from coming back.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Thanks Dan. I’m getting a kick out of following the whole process. I’m hoping to walk away with a chunk of the old dam just for the heck of it. Would look good in my yard.

  2. Walt

    Ken,
    Man, that pylon looks ugly as hell. Make sure you get a piece of the dam rather than the other way around. If nature has the ultimate say in this, it’s better that it straighten out a surly s.o.b. rather than you. Looking forward to hearing how all this ultimately shapes up.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I’d be surprised if that thing is still standing next week Walt. That will make a mess if it goes, a fair amount of bridge over head. I think I was testing fate with as close as I got yesterday. I don’t think I can move fast enough if it decided to go.

      Next week I’m going to see if I can get over there before everyone goes home. See if I can get them to set aside a piece or two for me.

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