Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, Maybe an April Completion

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

The double whammy of melting snow and substantial rain flooded out the Blackberry Creek Dam Removal site and brought the work to a halt. I think that pretty much blows the end of March deadline for the removal of the dam. With the way spring weather goes around here, I always thought end of March was being overly optimistic. But after 175 years, what’s the hurry. Sometime in April will work out just fine.

I had stopped to look around earlier in the week, water was still coming over the dam and nothing had got done. Saturday that started to change. Even though the Fox River is still high, all the creeks in the area are back to normal. The water was no longer coming over the dam.

Near the falling apart bridge pylon a steady stream of water was flowing out of the culvert. I’m really surprised to see that the bridge hasn’t collapsed into the creek.

I was also surprised that the pump wasn’t running to drain the pool of water that was now behind the dam. I moved upstream, there I could see that the breaches in the coffer dam had been filled in and water was no longer flowing around it. A couple of geese were enjoying the pool behind the dam and the flow of water through here did a pretty good job of smoothing out where the dredging had stopped a couple of weeks ago.

With only the breaches fixed, there wasn’t much to photograph. The pond level had dropped a few feet, so I wandered around in the mud along the water’s edge. I don’t know why I’m so surprised to see so many clam shells, and big ones at that. I’m used to seeing them on the river, I don’t think of them as living in ponds or lakes. Dumb assumption I’m sure. I did come across one big one that was still alive.

I also came across a number of big snail shells. I can’t recall finding any this big anywhere else, they’re usually much smaller. A few almost filled the palm of my hand, no live ones found though.

Even the pond has been used as a dumping ground over the years. This looks like an old door knob plate. Really old. I’ve never seen one like this before.

While wandering around, off in the distance somebody showed up to start the water pump. It wasn’t going easy for them and they were still there working on it when I left. So, of course, I had to come back Sunday morning to see if they got the pump up and running.

This is how things looked when I arrived Sunday morning.

It sure looked like things were smoothed over quite a bit by all that water.

I tend to take these pictures from the same spots every week, or as close to what I remember. Of course now I can compare how things have looked over the last few weeks. This is from Saturday…

This is from a couple of week ago, same view. Notice how rough the freshly dredged shores look…

This is from Sunday morning. All that running water did a pretty good job of smoothing out the edges.

Wallowing around down in the muddy puddle that was left behind the dam was aquatic wildlife. Something I didn’t really expect to see. The turtle I can understand, they can get up and go anywhere they want. The carp, well, I’m sure it will be raccoon food soon.

It will be interesting to see how much sediment makes it’s way down stream and for how long after the dam comes out. There are two places further down where sediment settles and collects on a regular basis and that’s when the dam was there. They’re tough spots to try to wade through. Till we have enough high water events, I imagine it will get temporarily worse.

The 10 day forecast is looking clear, dry and warm. I’ve seen them accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. It will be interesting to see if they can dredge what’s left, stabilize the exposed shores and then knock down the old dam in one week.

My own research this past week has shown that fish aren’t moving into the creeks yet. They are devoid of fish. In the next two weeks, if the dam can be removed and the flow returned to Blackberry Creek, the timing on this might turn out to be damn near perfect.

2 thoughts on “Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, Maybe an April Completion

    1. Ken G Post author

      I have a vague memory of looking up whether or not fresh water clams are edible Howard. I think I’d be eating them if it was a positive revue. I may have to look it up again. Out of some of the creeks around here, I’d do it in a heart beat.

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