After more than two years of planning and design, the City of Lynchburg today announced details of the College Lake Dam Removal Project. In partnership with the University of Lynchburg, the City of Lynchburg Department of Water Resources will hold a virtual town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12.
The Zoom event will give the community a chance to voice concerns and ask questions about the various stages of the multi-year project.
To register for this event, please check the social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) of the City of Lynchburg, Lynchburg Water Resources, University of Lynchburg, and AECOM. If you are not on social media, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project’s goal is to remove the high-hazard dam and restore the resulting lakebed to a thriving environment where Blackwater Creek can re-emerge after more than eight decades.
The city and University will transition the lakebed into a wetlands ecosystem and learning laboratory: a place where students, residents, and tourists can study urban wetland ecology and enjoy time in nature. In the process, public safety will improve and water quality improvements in the urban environment will be showcased.
Dr. Laura Henry-Stone, associate professor of environmental sciences and sustainability and director of sustainability, has served as the University’s liaison to the city since the August 2018 flood. She’s thrilled with the team’s work and excited about the ecosystem’s future.
“I have been fascinated with College Lake and the ways in which it has changed since I moved to Faculty Drive on the day the derecho came through Lynchburg in June 2012,” she said. “From the beginning, I have daydreamed about the future of this ecosystem as it transforms into an urban wetland with limitless educational, research, and recreational potential for the University and beyond. With the dam removal, we have an opportunity to pursue responsible stewardship of our shared environmental resources and infrastructure.
“Faculty and students have already been studying water quality and hydrology and other ecosystem characteristics and will be able to monitor changes as they unfold over the coming years, contributing to a growing body of knowledge about how best to conduct urban dam removals throughout the U.S. While there may be some inevitable negative environmental impacts initially, we expect that the Blackwater Wetlands that will replace College Lake will be a much healthier ecosystem in the long run.”
The community is invited to use this interactive opportunity to learn about College Lake Dam, its environment, its history, its flood zone, and the project to remove it.