Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, This is Exciting, Isn’t It?

To play catch up, you can read the past progress reports here.
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In the past week I made three short visits to the Blackberry Creek Dam Removal site along with my usual long wandering visit. With the dry weather things are moving along quickly. Wednesday evening the bridge over the creek was gone.

Replacing the bridge is the whole point of the project. This road has been closed for over two years since the old bridge pylon started crumbling. From creek level things look oddly empty. They even removed the center pylon that was in the middle of the creek. You can just barely make out where it was.

Down in the creek they were still working away, taking advantage of the longer days. One whole side of the creek bed was being jack hammered, breaking up the old creek bottom.

I assumed this was to give a toe hold to all the rock that was going to be put in place in order to keep the shoreline from eroding.

Stopped by again Friday evening and sure enough, they are putting the rock in place.

You can see the hoses coming from the pump that drains the water that collects here. What you don’t see is the guy fixing the pump. He wasn’t aware of one of the points of the project, the removal of the dam, so of course that started up a whole conversation about creeks, fishing, his preference for fishing lakes… but I think I convinced him to make a few casts into the creek the next time he comes back.

Saturday morning I could hear them working away on the other side of the river. I wandered over for a short visit. They had dredged the whole creek all the way to the lower coffer dam. Not much dredging left to be done. They let me wander around as long as I stay out of the way and it was nice to get a shot with a piece of big equipment down on the old creek bed. Gives a better sense of scale on how far down they’ve dug.

I knew the workers would all be gone by 3 PM on Saturday, so I wandered over to the site again later in the day. Struck up a conversation with a guy around my age that was fishing the pond. He’s lived around here all his life so it was interesting for me to pick his brain on how things were and when I mentioned I wade the river and all the creeks in the area, he brought up if I knew where they were catching the muskie he’s been hearing about. So I gave him all the spots I know, which are basically all the key spots everyone wants to keep secret.

There are no secret spots. You just have to run into me and ask.

The one thing I noticed that was different from my morning visit was the trench they dug along one whole shoreline.

Didn’t understand what this was for till I walked further downstream. I hadn’t been here when any of the rock further upstream had been put in place. They’re building this to last and I assume doing this will keep these rocks in place for quite awhile.

The creek bottom I had seen them hammering on Wednesday was spread out along the creek bed. It’s hard to see in this shot and the one above, but the opposite shore is all marked. They’ll be doing this exact same thing to the opposite shore.

I’m hoping in a couple of weeks this will be gone and it will be an unobstructed view all the way down the rest of the creek.

Back upstream I took a look at the spot where all this begins. I’m hoping they get rid of this kneckdown in the creek. I don’t see why it would be necessary.

I did find the Wicked Beaver of the East. I’m just glad none of this was transferred to my feet.

Apparently gigging for frogs was once popular along here. The old wood handle kept falling apart in my hands as I held it.

An old grass cutting device was found buried in the mud.

Found a couple of old cast iron hinges, the type you see on really old doors of barns and sheds. Next to them was the old lock that went with the door I guess.

The last thing found was an old rib bone.

It’s just over 14 inches long, which is a big rib bone, and the only time I see bones black like this is after they’ve been lying in water for a very long time. It almost looked like a butcher knife or machete. It even has some scratches on it that make it look like it was used to hack at something. Odder yet was that each end was cleanly sawed off.

With settlers dating back a couple of hundred years and Indians dating back even further than that, it’s kind of fun to think that this may have been used as a tool of some kind in the past. It fits my hand perfectly and I could see using it as some kind of knife.

Based on how much work they got done this week, I’m giving it two more weeks and the dam will be gone. This week shows no rain at all, so maybe just one more.

10 thoughts on “Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, This is Exciting, Isn’t It?

  1. bob

    “There are no secret spots. You just have to run into me and ask.”

    That simple statement reveals who Ken G is.

    This is the Zen way of life – simple generosity, simple sharing of the gift(s) of whatever it is you have to share.

  2. Ken G

    Thank you Bob. Had a big long thing playing out in my head all weekend about how I’ve been giving away spots for years on forums, radio shows, local fishing rags… Was going to do a big long write up on why I used to do that and how now I’ve been avoiding those very things. Then I changed my mind. That sentence surprised me when I wrote it down. I guess I boiled it all down.

  3. Jim McClellan

    Ken, you’ve done an outstanding job of documenting this dam removal. I’m now excited to see what this is going to look like when it’s all said and done.

    1. Ken G

      Thanks Jim. I’m interested in how it will look a couple of years down the line when the shorelines look better than mud. There was another project like this done over a decade ago not too far away. That white rock is still annoying, but the surroundings look like a dam was never there in the first place.

  4. Howard Levett

    Just when I thought it couldn’t possibly get any more interesting…there you go. I’m pleased that the progress is really starting to show and you can imagine the end result. Ken, you should go back and collect all those momentos for a Blackberry Creek museum. Fascinating.

    1. Ken G

      I have kept a few of the pieces Howard and I might go get a few more, but I have a reformed hoarder living under my roof, my mother-in-law, and a garage full of junk to prove it.

      When have I crossed that thin line… 🙂

    1. Ken G Post author

      I kept the lock and the bone Ron. Also went and picked up the old door plate I found the week before.

      The rest, according to my wife, is garbage. One man’s treasure is their wife’s version of garbage…

  5. walt

    Ken,
    A top-notch report, showing the complexity of work, the intricacy of detail, the human-scale of angler wondering where to fish, the slow progress everywhere. Interesting, for sure!

    1. Ken G Post author

      I made one quick stop there the other day Walt and decided to set my curiosity aside and not go back till the weekend.

      It’s killing me. I’m infinitely curious.

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