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Demolition on deteriorating dam in Susquehanna County

Work is underway in the northern tier to make part of the Susquehanna River safer and more accessible.

OAKLAND, Pa. — A piece of Susquehanna County history is coming down—the old Oakland Dam.

"This dam has been in the Susquehanna (River) since 1929. Prior to that, there was another dam in the same place. These dams provided hydropower, first to the railroad, then to the hospital," explained Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy, director of river restoration for American Rivers, a nonprofit that works to protect and restore rivers throughout the U.S.

The 755-foot-long dam sits on the Susquehanna River between Oakland and Susquehanna Depot. Over the years, the dam has deteriorated, bringing safety concerns. In recent years, the dam developed a 110-foot breach.

"There was rebar exposed, broken concrete, and there are trees that get caught up in there. As for boating, it became a serious hazard," said Dana Rockwell with the Endless Mountains Heritage Region.

Crews started work this week with the help of American Rivers to remove the dam and its hazards.

"Environmentally., it's going to open up 50 miles for a dam-free section of the river. And dams are not good for the health of the river, so that is going to be really significant," Rockwell said.

Removing the dam will create a better environment for wildlife and expand access to outdoor recreation.

Once the project is complete, the borough is set to acquire an acre of land on the south side of the river and use it for a riverfront park.

"They can pitch a tent and camp out for the night," said Roy Williams, president of the Susquehanna borough council. "I think that's huge for our borough. It brings people here—kayakers, boaters, campers."

Demolition is expected to take at least six weeks. The $450,000 project is being paid for with state and federal grants.

The EMHR went out to Susquehanna Borough to check on the Oakland Dam removal project, led by American Rivers and the...

Posted by Endless Mountains Heritage Region on Friday, July 28, 2023

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