Thanks to the efforts of the Valley View Foundation, Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and other project partners, the segment of the East Fork Little Miami River that flows through the heart of Batavia has been restored to a more natural state following the removal of a low-head dam which has impeded the river since the 1940s.
Similar to other Depression-era dams built across the nation, the Batavia dam was constructed to provide a local water source. Batavia ceased utilizing the dam for such purposes years ago and the defunct structure remained imbedded in the river, degrading habitat and posing a significant threat to the public.
Public safety and stream restoration were the primary goals for this project. Many communities across Ohio are opting to remove defunct low-head dams. To date, over 65 low-head dams in Ohio have been eliminated, including one in the Village of Williamsburg. Funding for the Batavia project was provided by Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP) and a grant from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to improve river habitat, specifically for fish and endangered mussel species. Removal of the dam provides immediate habitat improvements and over time, the diversity of fish and mussel species will also improve.
Activities to remove the dam began in the Summer of 2019 with a notching of the structure to lower river levels and relocate mussels found behind the dam and along the newly exposed banks. Clermont County residents can now enjoy safer recreation along the river, and the East Fork will flow freely for 20 miles to its confluence with the Little Miami River near Milford.