A grant from the Army Corp of Engineers will fund a project to remove the Elkhart River dam near Waterfall Drive.
The dam was built in the late 1800’s. It currently works, but a review by the Army Corp of Engineers found that it’s likely to fail in the next few years.
Daragh Deegan is the aquatic biologist for the city of Elkhart. He said the dam isn’t really a dam anymore.
“It was put in for the purposes of diverting water into raceways that used to exist in downtown Elkhart for mills and hydropower, but those raceways no longer exist so the dam itself doesn’t happen anymore.”
Deegan said removing the dam will immediately improve the ecosystem for fish and other aquatic life in the river. It will also allow form more of a free flow for kayakers and other recreation.
The removal project will cost around 1.3 million dollars, most of which is covered by the Army Corp through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The cost to the city would be about 650 thousand.
Deegan said they are seeking other grants to cover some of the cost. By comparison it would cost more than 3 million dollars to replace the dam.