Watershed Authority receives grant for Elba Dam removal project

Published 11:00 am Friday, May 31, 2024

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The Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority (CPYRWMA) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $1.7 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a $1.93 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to support the removal of the inoperable Elba dam on the Pea River.

The dam is a hazard to people, fish and wildlife. The damaged dam poses a safety issue to the community as a navigation hazard, potential source of contaminants, and by increasing flooding risk to the town of Elba.

The dam is also the only fish passage barrier in the Choctawhatchee River basin and removal will result in an increase in access to habitat types used by threatened and endangered fish and mussel species in the watershed.

This significant grant underscores CPYRWMA’s commitment to environmental conservation and restoration efforts within the watershed.

The Elba dam removal project is a crucial step towards restoring the natural flow and connectivity of the Pea River, benefiting aquatic habitats and native species. By eliminating barriers to fish migration and improving river health, the project aligns with CPYRWMA’s mission to promote sustainable watershed management practices.

Key highlights of the grant-funded Elba dam removal project include enhanced river ecosystem, fish passage restoration, and community engagement.

“We are honored to receive these generous grants from NOAA and the USFWS, which will enable us to make significant strides in restoring the Pea River and its surrounding ecosystem,” said Lisa Harris, Executive Director of CPYRWMA. “The removal of the Elba dam is a joint effort between the authority and many partners, including agencies, local stakeholders, conservation groups, and universities. Local, State and Federal legislative leaders were also instrumental in this effort. The project represents a pivotal moment in our ongoing efforts to conserve and protect our watershed for current and future generations.”

For more information about CPYRWMA and its conservation initiatives, please visit cpyrwma.com.