Our Work

Van Reed Paper Mill Dam Removal Project

Removal of Dam Improves Fish Passage for Community

American Rivers coordinated the removal of the Van Reed Paper Mill Dam in coordination with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and PA Department of Environmental Protection. The project is intended to reconnect more than seven miles of river for the benefit of American eel, trout, blacknose dace, white sucker, and public safety and recreation. American Rivers requested construction observation services associated with the removal of the inactive dam located on Cacoosing Creek. The project had been long delayed and American Rivers sought team members to bring this smoothly across the finish line.

After project delays concerning debris management and protection of a natural gas pipeline, Kleinschmidt reviewed updated permits, drawings, and specifications required to finally initiate the project. Once construction was started, our team developed site observation summaries related to the dam decommissioning and stream restoration efforts by the contractor and used a cellular-linked remote camera to provide more frequent visual observation of the de-construction progress. During the periodic site visits, Kleinschmidt evaluated the site conditions and assisted with permit compliance and design implementation.

As the sediment in the impoundment had not mobilized as designed (due to low flows that summer), Kleinschmidt provided consultation on existing conditions to American Rivers and the design engineer based on our observations in the field to resolve the sediment issue, consider design changes, and perform additional site visits. Kleinschmidt worked with the design/construction team to inform changes to the design, revise the permits, and observe the installation of the revised stream restoration design.

Kleinschmidt’s dam removal design and construction experience contributed to the development of simple, time-sensitive design changes based on site conditions. Kleinschmidt’s communication and observation efforts resulted in the restoration of ecological connectivity at this site.