Bishopville Dam Removal and Habitat Restoration Project

Bishopville Dam Removal and Habitat Restoration Project

Bishopville, MD

In a cooperative venture with Maryland Coastal Bays Program and Maryland Department of Natural Resources, we designed and constructed a project that removed the sheetpile dam and replaced it with a system of weirs.  

The dam has existed in various configurations since the 1870s along the Bunting Branch of the St. Martin River. It served as a barricade to natural stream flow in this 13.5 square mile drainage area, creating stagnant waters in the five acre pond, impounding high volumes of sediment and pollutants, and creating an obstacle for migratory species.

The purpose of this project was to restore fish passage to the St. Martin River through establishment of an offline pond and 600 linear feet of stream restoration.  The stream restoration design increased water storage and treatment through a series of in-stream riffles and pools sized to maintain live flow at a depth appropriate for fish movement.  Construction of this project required use of sand bags and pumps to dewater the pond as will be required at the Arboretum project. This project also required work in both the wet and the dry in order to construct riffles above and below the dam.

Removing the dam barrier and installation of the riffles created nearly seven miles of accessible stream for catadromous eels, alewife, and the blue back herring, which have been named the three species of concern by National Marines Fishery Service. The project was constructed over a four month period in late 2014 with the addition of another weir down river in 2017. Within a month of project completion, alewife were seen upstream of the dam.

 Click below to see the video

We are extremely excited to share this video created by Maryland Department of Natural Resources showing off the great work done by not only Underwood, but by our partners and volunteers. Check out the link below to see the unbelievable transformation making this one special project.