American Rivers was awarded $275,441 for the Removal of the Paper Mill Dam on Cacoosing Creek.

Paper Mill Dam Removal

Cacoosing Creek is an 11.4-mile-long (18.3 km) tributary of the Tulpehocken Creek in Berks County, Pennsylvania in the United States.

It starts in Fritztown and flows northeast, separating Spring Township and Sinking Spring on its southeast side from South Heidelberg and Lower Heidelberg Townships on its northeast side. Just above its mouth, removal of the Paper Mill Dam is underway.

Paper Mill Dam Removal

Around 1825 Henry Van Reed built the dam and paper mill at the confluence of the Cacoosing and Tulpehocken (the “place of owls” and “land of turtles” according to The Story of Berks County, published in 1913).

The Lenape were here first, hunting, fishing, traveling and living along these creeks and rivers. When the Van Reeds settled in Berks County around the time of the Revolutionary War the Lenape had already lost all claims to their ancestral lands thanks to agreements broken by European settlers.

Paper Mill Dam is approximately 8 feet high and 120 feet long. The spillway is an ogee-type concrete cap constructed in 1959 over an older timber crib dam that dates prior to 1919. The impoundment is approximately 2,800 feet long with mixed forest riparian zone and agricultural uses in the uplands. The project will reconnect more than seven miles of river for the benefit of American eel, trout, blacknose dace, white sucker, and public safety and recreation.

Below: View of Paper mill building from right bank, just upstream of dam (9/20/2011).

Paper Mill Dam Removal

Once considered a radical idea, dam removal is now mainstream, thanks to the work of American Rivers and other partners. These dam removals have restored free-flowing rivers and improved fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, public safety, and recreation. Nationwide more than 1,700 dams have been removed to restore rivers, and Pennsylvania leads the nation in dam removal.

Work to remove Paper Mill Dam on Cacoosing Creek in Berks County, PA is underway. American Rivers is managing the dam removal project in coordination with the PA Fish and Boat Commission and the PA Department of Environmental Protection.


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