sealPurdue News

March 28, 2002

Workshop to cover the basics of maintaining, removing dams

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Many dams built in the Midwest during the late 1800s and early 1900s have broken down over time and need repair. A hands-on workshop April 18 at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Ind., will address the possibility of removing dams as an alternative to reconstruction.

"In addition to saving on the high cost of reconstruction, a dam removal can also provide environmental benefits such as improving water clarity and reconnecting seasonal fish habitat," said Leslie Dorworth, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant aquatic ecology specialist.

The workshop, River Restoration: Practices and Concepts, will highlight various issues concerning dam modification and dam removal in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Information will cover how to modify an existing dam or effectively implement a dam removal by obtaining local community support, obtaining necessary permits, securing funding and providing for long-term maintenance and monitoring.

"Dams need constant maintenance and repair," Dorworth said. "The risk of loss of life to those living near a dam or using the waters for recreational activities, reinforces the importance of keeping them safe."

The workshop, sponsored by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, Purdue University Calumet and Chicago Wilderness, will provide critical information for those involved in many aspects of dam maintenance and community planning.

Experts from a range of fields and a variety of perspectives will share their knowledge over the course of the day's presentations. An Illinois Environmental Protection Agency representative will provide legal details and answer questions regarding dams and their removal. Private consultants, government agency representatives and academic researchers will present biological, socioeconomic and civil engineering information on the effects of dam removal. Representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources also will present urban and rural perspectives on dam removal and modifications.

The workshop will be at The Center at Purdue Calumet, and the cost is $85. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the session will begin at 8:30 a.m. Lunch is included, and the workshop will end at 5 p.m.

To register, contact Dorworth at (219) 989-2726, or get registration information on the Web. To register by mail, send a check to the Office of the Business Administrator, Purdue University Calumet, 2300 173rd Street, Hammond, IN 46323. Please include contact information.

The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program is one of 30 National Sea Grant College Programs. Created by Congress in 1966, Sea Grant combines university, government, business and industry expertise to address coastal and Great Lakes needs. Funding is provided by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Purdue and the University of Illinois.

Writer: Beth Forbes, (765) 494-2722

Sources: Leslie Dorworth, (219) 989-2726

Irene Miles, media communications specialist, (217) 333-8055;

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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