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Corps Blows Hole In Last Dam On Rappahannock River [View All]

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-04 11:00 AM
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Corps Blows Hole In Last Dam On Rappahannock River
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FREDERICKSBURG, Va. "For the first time since before the Civil War, the graceful Rappahannock River flowed unchecked Monday from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay after Army explosive experts blasted open a 130-foot section of the Embrey Dam.

One minute, a glistening wall of water 22 feet high and 700 feet wide flowed over the dam into the gently running, greenish-brown water of the Rappahannock. Then, after one mini-blast and a second, much larger one an hour later, the lake behind the dam surged forward, sending churning white spray and muddy water past thousands of people gathered on the riverbanks to witness the spectacle.

"Today is the day we let the fish run upstream; today is the day we let the river run free," exclaimed John Tippett, executive director of Friends of the Rappahannock, the local environmental group that spearheaded a multiyear effort to restore the river's natural flow."


As early as the 1700s, settlers tried to harness the Rappahannock's rapids to power mills. The Embrey Dam was built in 1910 to create electricity and fuel the industrialization of this agricultural community, about 50 miles south of Washington. But the hydroelectric station that brought power to Fredericksburg for decades was shut down in the 1960s. After that, the impoundment above the dam was used for drinking water, but the completion of a new water treatment center five years ago left the dam without a purpose."


LA Times
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