Credit: Frank Chitwood Pictured: US Fish & Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, The Friends of Big Canoe Creek, Coosa Riverkeeper, Geological Survey of Alabama, Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, and Alabama Power Company
Service and its Partners Remove Another Dam in Greater Birmingham Area, Improves Aquatic Habitat
Big Canoe Creek is home to some of America’s rarest aquatic species. A project sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is already dramatically improving water quality and habitat of the creek, giving those imperiled species a better chance at recovery.
The Service joined its partners in removing the Goodwin’s Mill Dam from Big Canoe Creek. The dam was constructed in the early 1900’s to impound the waters of Big Canoe Creek to power a grist mill. That mill was abandoned in the 1930’s, but the dam has continued to impound the water and create a fish passage barrier. “Recent surveys show a dramatic disparity in fish species diversity above and below the dam, highlighting the dam’s impact on water quality and habitat suitability. In addition to blocking movement of fish, dams create deep pools that can fill with sediment, reduce oxygen levels and raise the temperature of the water,” explains Service biologist Eric Spadgenske.
The removal of Goodwin’s Mill Dam was one of the first projects identified by the Panama City Field Office’s Strategic Habitat Unit (SHU) Initiative. The SHU initiative is a strategic way biologists look at rivers and streams in an effort to keep them in good condition for both fish and wildlife, and humans.
Chris Metcalf is a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Panama City Field Office. A stream restoration expert, Chris was the Project Design and Construction Manager. “Removal of the Goodwin’s Mill dam will promote hydrologic and habitat connectivity to support a fully functioning stream system and access for recreational users," explained Metcalf. Continue reading ...