Fremont voters approve Ballville Dam removal

CWF11102015damThe Ballville Dam has blocked the Sandusky River since 1913

Fremont, OH – It appears the saga of the Ballville Dam removal has finally come to an end.  For those not familiar with the Sandusky River and/or the Fremont, Ohio area, this dam has been the center of controversy and legal action for a good number of years.  The two polarizing views are those who support the removal of the dam and those who wanted to save it.  On November 3rd, 2015, the people were able to decide the dam’s fate.  Fremont voters approved the removal of the Ballville Dam by an almost 1,000-vote margin.  The results were 2,637 yes votes (61.3 percent) on the removal ordinance, and 1,663 no votes.  Finally, it is settled… and I am thrilled with the outcome.

I am a strong proponent of dam removal in general, but I was especially interested in this dam.  This was due to a host of reasons most notably being; this is a river that runs through the city I grew up in, I have fished this river more than any other body of water, and my family owns waterfront property on the river.  Needless to say, I love the river and wanted to see the fish that swim in it gain an extra 22 miles of unimpeded habitat.  I can’t believe this will finally be a reality!

At some point in 2016, I will be adding a page to the blog that will be devoted to the Ballville Dam and it’s removal.  I hope to create a photo journal of the progress that will go from start to finish and beyond.  I anticipate fish surveys and research will happen for many years to come, if not indefinitely.

Comments

  1. Hi Adam
    How do you know the walleye will continue to swim up stream?
    I fish the rocky structure between fremont and tiffin and it’s getting buried in silt more every year from all the tiled fields. Hope it all works out.

    • Hi Bill,
      I’ve spent countless hours researching and studying other dam removal projects and all of the data the various agencies have produced. I also have my own firsthand data from fishing 5 different Ohio dams, some with regularity, over my lifetime. When I do my entire page devoted to this dam, I will provide a lot more detail.

      I think it is more than safe to say some Walleye will use the same spawning areas they do now. Other Walleye will surely continue to migrate upstream. I am not saying the first year Walleye will go all 22 miles to Tinkers Dam in Tiffin, but I do expect new areas to be found and utilized by the fish to spawn. I also want to note, for me it isn’t just about the Walleye. Numerous species that are imprinted to migrate upstream to spawn, will gain habitat. This is a good thing.

      As you note, the silt issue is a real problem, and I agree completely. My personal feeling is that the dam and the silt issue are separate problems. Removing the dam and returning the river to more of it’s natural flow solves one problem. Dealing with agriculture practices and figuring out the best way to mitigate silt, other runoff, and pesticides, will surely need to be figured out as well.

      The Final Decision for the Environmental Impact Statement has a lot of good information regarding the silt situation. it is worth a read if you haven’t looked at it.

      I hope it all works out as well!

      Thanks for commenting Bill!

      -Adam

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