A collaborative effort is underway to assess the removal of the first three dams on the Bushkill Creek in Easton and thereby restore the creek to a more natural and healthy state. All three dams are “run-of-river” dams that formerly provided power to mills that no longer exist. These dams present safety hazards and provide no ecological or economic benefits and are thus considered candidates for removal. The project area for the dam removals is from 3rd Street to 13th Street and coincides with the Karl Stirner Arts Trail (KSAT) an important stakeholder in this project.
The project was initiated based on the Consent Order and Agreement resulting from natural resource damages related to the PPL-Martins Creek ash spill of 2005. Funds are specifically designated for the Bushkill dam removals as well as other projects. Additional funding has been obtained through the William Penn Foundation’s Delaware River Watershed Initiative. The removal is a joint effort of Lafayette College, the City of Easton, the Silk, Wildlands Conservancy, American Rivers, Bushkill Stream Conservancy, PA Fish & Boat Commission, and PA Department of Environmental Protection.
The removal of the first dam (Dam 1) owned by Lafayette College also provides a unique opportunity for revitalization of the surrounding area. Students in Lafayette College Environmental Science and Studies Capstone (EVST 400) proposed a restored green space near the dam with a focus on improving the entryway into KSAT and creating a welcoming environment for all members of the Easton community.