Programs / Lowhead Dam Removal Project in Franklin

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 improve fish habitat and remove blockages to fish passage.  The removal of the city's lowhead dam made the Harpeth RIver one of the few rivers in TN that is entirely free flowing! The funds were received on behalf of the City of Franklin to remove the structure as part of modernizing its water withdrawal from the Harpeth for drinking water as required in its permit from the state. TDEC (TN Department of Environment and Conservation) conducted the actual removal of the structure. Other project partners included the TN Wildlife Resources Agency, the United States Geological Survey, and  local businesses.

The removal of the city’s lowhead dam was part of a national effort over the past 50 years that,according to a compilation by American Rivers, has seen the removal of over 600 dams around the country . In Tennessee, 25 dams (8 to 160 feet tall) have been removed around the state in the last 40 years. The removal of this 6 foot structure on the Harpeth was only the second on a main river in Tennessee; the other main river dam removal was on the Duck River. All other removals up to this point had been on small streams.