Ward Mill Dam Removal

Client: Blue Ridge Resource Conservation & Development Council, MountainTrue, and American Rivers
Location: Watauga County, NC


Wildlands  partnered with the Blue Ridge Resource Conservation & Development Council, MountainTrue, and American Rivers to remove the Ward Mill Dam, located in Watauga County, NC. The dam was a concrete and rock structure approximately 25 feet high and stretching 110 feet wide across the river. The on-site historic mill and powerhouse, which served the community for over a century, was preserved and protected in place. The removal of the dam has reconnected 35 miles of aquatic habitat in the mainstem of the Watauga River, dozens of miles of tributary reaches and has returned free-flowing aquatic habitat and greater resiliency for the eastern hellbender, native fishes, mussels, and other riverine species. The North Carolina and Southeast Aquatic Barrier Prioritization tools highly ranked Ward Mill Dam as a removal priority for the connectivity benefits.


Wildlands conducted assessment and sediment analyses to evaluate impounded sediment volume, sediment potential for contamination, and to analyze the ability of the Watauga River to assimilate sediment release from the dam removal and develop a sediment management plan. Wildlands used USGS gage flow data, sediment grain size distribution analysis, and hydraulic and sediment transport modeling to support project recommendations.

Hoosier Dam Removal Project

Client: 130 of Chatham, LLC
Location: Chatham County, NC


In the fall of 2018, Wildlands worked with Unique Places and Schnabel Engineering with help from USFWS to remove the 94-year old hydroelectric dam located on the Rocky River in Chatham County, NC. The dam was removed as part of a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant to restore the Rocky River and open up 18,000 linear feet of habitat between two critical habitat areas of the endangered Cape Fear shiner. Wildlands was responsibility for the existing conditions assessment (including a Tier 1 sediment study), a sediment management plan, a biological assessment of the Cape Fear shiner, construction plans, and construction administration.


Read more about this project by clicking the following link: https://www.uniqueplacesllc.com/hoosier-dam-removal