Programs / Lowhead Dam Removal Project in Franklin

Franklin's Former Lowhead Dam Site Is Now A River Access & Historic Battlefield Park

The Harpeth River is one of the few rivers in Tennessee that is entirely free-flowing. See the before and after pictures of the lowhead dam site.


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Lowhead Dam Removal Project Complete. The access point to the river is now open to the public!

The Eastern Flank Canoe Access was a part of the Harpeth River Restoration Project that included the removal of the lowhead dam during the summer of 2012.  

Construction on the timber stair river access began on Friday, October 18th, 2013. TDEC, TSRA, and HRWA worked together to plan the project. Over 50 volunteers, including groups from Bell Construction, Franklin Firefighters and Franklin Parks Department, with support from LP Products, Vulcan Materials and Franklin Kubota, made the installation of the new river access possible.


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The Harpeth River Restoration Project Recognized with 2013 Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award

The Harpeth River Restoration Project was recently recognized with the 2013 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Excellence in Natural Heritage.  


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Watch the dam come down from our Dam Cam time-lapsed video


View 4 minute time-lapse video of the project now!
***Video automatically defaults to optimal web viewing.  Hover your mouse over the video and click  the gear button to choose to watch high definition video instead.


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Print press, news coverage and more!

PRESS RELEASE -President Obama's new America's Great Outdoors Rivers Initiative chooses Harpeth River for TN project. 

PRESS RELEASE- The Harpeth River has been listed on the 2012 TEN WATERS TO WATCH list by the National Fish Habitat Partnership!


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Pertinent project materials and documents

This project’s design is based on Natural Channel Design methods which will replace the 6.2 foot high lowhead dam with a low-profile, in-stream, double cross vane boulder structure to restore the natural “riffle/run and pool” fish habitat in this area, and re-establish natural river flows intended to increase dissolved oxygen levels in the river.  The existing lowhead dam creates a 1.6 mile long pool in the river that has inundated natural riffle/run habitat.  During the summer, oxygen levels have been measured significantly below state standards in the water behind the lowhead dam.  With only a trickle of water over the structure during the summer, fish can not move beyond the lowhead dam.  Other aspects of the plan will stabilize the eroding banks and re-vegetate the streamside zone with native vegetation.

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Lowhead dam removal and river restoration project on the Harpeth River in Franklin

In August 2010, HRWA secured $350,000 from collaborative funding programs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, and the National Fish Habitat Partnership for projects that remove blockages to fish passage and improve fish habitat.  The removal of the city's lowhead dam made the Harpeth RIver one of the few entirely free-flowing rivers in Tennessee!

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