Remnants of the breached dam spanning the Susquehanna River between Oakland and Susquehanna Depot will likely be removed next year. The dam, which gave way in its center nearly 15 years ago, is a hazard with rebar jutting from the 130-foot breach of the 655-foot dam.
On Friday, Governor Tom Wolf announced 100 new project approvals through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) for environmental and infrastructure projects funded by the Act 13 Marcellus Legacy Fund. Among the approvals under Greenways, Trails and Recreation section was $98,000 for the dam deconstruction to create a free-flowing North Branch Susquehanna River Water Trail.
Susquehanna Borough Councilman and avid outdoorsman Dana Rockwell said the removal of the dam “will greatly improve river ecology, with a new 50-mile, dam-free section (of the river) between Oneonta and Binghamton, NY.” In 2017, Rockwell kayaked the entire length of the Susquehanna River.
In addition, the remnants of the breached dam have created a hazard for boaters and kayakers. “Safety is a big deal,” Rockwell said. “The dam is extremely dangerous for boaters and fishermen.”
He also noted the dam removal will be a good addition to the Ira Reynolds Riverfront Park. The river upstream from the dam still contains old sediment and flood debris that has collected for over the past 100 years, offered Rockwell.
In July 2018, key players from agencies interested in removing the breached dam came together to discuss ways to address the problem. At that meeting, Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy, of American Rivers, said her organization has had the River Bounty owned dam on its radar for several years The current condition of the dam, Segedy said, poses a real hazard to boaters.
“CFA funding for Act 13 projects provides communities throughout the commonwealth with critical support in improving recreational spaces and addressing necessary environmental and infrastructural upgrades,” said Gov. Wolf. “These investments result in safer and transformed neighborhood spaces for Pennsylvanians – keeping the state the best place to live, work, and play.”
The 100 Act 13 projects approved Friday are in 38 counties. The total funding amount is more than $10.4 million. Grants shall not exceed $250,000 for any project. A 15% match of the total project cost is required
The projects are designated for specific initiatives as follows:
*Flood Mitigation: 10 projects approved; $1,379,295 total;
*Greenways, Trails and Recreation: 78 projects approved; $8,010,727 total;
*Sewage Facilities: Two projects approved; $40,976 total;
*Watershed Restoration and Protection: 10 projects approved; $1,035,784 total.