The City of Franklin and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation began demolition of the City's Harpeth River Lowhead Dam on Wednesday.
The project removed the only barrier on the Harpeth River, making it one of the few rivers in Tennessee that is now entirely free flowing.
"This is the second dam removal of its kind in Tennessee so it's a big thing," said a Franklin representative.
The project is supposed to improve water quality and habitat for the more than 50 native fish species living in the Harpeth.
The project will also improve public access and enhance recreational opportunities on the Harpeth for fishing and paddling.
"It's part of our larger water system called the 'Harpeth River Blueways' which has an access point, public access point, every 5 miles," said Dorie Bolze the executive director of the Harpeth River Watershed Association.
Water recreation and canoe/kayak launch is temporarily prohibited during construction.
The Harpeth River Watershed Association is installing a Dam Cam that will tape the entire demolition process. This will enable the public to view this project while the area is off limits as a construction site. To see the Dam Cam go www.harpethriver.org/damcam.
The project is expected to be complete in fall of 2012.
The total cost of the project is $870,000, with $350,000 in federal grants to the Harpeth River Watershed Association from collaborative funding programs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, and the National Fish Habitat Partnership for projects to improve fish habitat.
Earlier this year the National Fish Habitat Partnership named this project in their "2012 Ten Waters to Watch list." The Department of Interior also named this project as a model of America's Great Outdoors River Initiative to conserve and restore key rivers across the nation, expand outdoor recreational opportunities and support jobs in local communities.
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