- Associated Press - Saturday, July 5, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Two environmental groups have partnered in an effort to find and remove old dams along waterways in Davidson County.

The Tennessean (https://tnne.ws/1ooRma6) reports the Cumberland River Compact and The Nature Conservancy have already located more than a dozen dams in west and south Nashville and plan to map out more this summer. They hope the project will improve water quality in the streams.

Cumberland River Compact Director Mekayle Houghton said one of the first dams up for removal is on Sevenmile Creek. She says the creek is home to the endangered Nashville crawfish and the dam blocks the animals from moving up and down the waterway.

“We would like to see their upstream passage,” Houghton said. “Mostly you want to get it into the headwaters that might be less polluted and the habitat might be a little better. If they can get upstream, it would be much better for their survival.”

Besides impeding movement, Houghton said old dams can cause other problems, including debris collection and stagnant water that gets too warm on hot, summer days.

Many of the dams were built long ago when much of the property was farmland and few other options existed for irrigation. Now, many of the dams are near homes and cul-de-sacs.

Last summer, volunteers with the groups traveled along Richland Creek to find the dams, many of which aren’t visible on maps or in aerial photos.

The conservation groups say there are likely hundreds of the structures that no longer serve a purpose and are detrimental to a healthy watershed in Davidson County.

The groups are working with local, state and federal officials in their effort to get the dam on Sevenmile Creek taken down. Houghton said work on the project could begin in August.

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Information from: The Tennessean, https://www.tennessean.com

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