LEHIGH TOWNSHIP—The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) has plans to remove the Lower Klondike Dam contained within State Game Lands #312 later this year, states a letter submitted as correspondence to the Wayne County Board of Commissioners Thursday, April 11.
The letter notes the Lower Klondike Dam is located on the Lehigh River which acts as the border between Wayne and Lackawanna Counties.
Chip Schaffer of PGC's Engineering Division explained the Game Commission acquired the property last autumn through Wildlands Conservancy.
The dam and its attached property were surrounded by State Game Lands #312 prior to the purchase.
As part of the acquisition, PGC agreed to remove the dam, classified as “high-hazard” by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP).
The lake has been drained for several years, said Schaffer.
Gouldsboro is located a short way downstream, and in the event of a major storm the structure could retain water and potentially burst, the engineer explained.
PGC, with help from the Wetlands Conservancy, plans to remove a 400-foot wide section of the earthen embankment, the concrete spillway and outlet pipe.
As part of the permit application process, PGC notified the Commissioners of Wayne and Pike Counties, as well as the Supervisors of Lehigh and Clifton Townships.
The project is expected to begin in August and conclude by September, should the appropriate permits be awarded.
Schaffer explained demolition can't begin any sooner than that as there are bald eagles roosting in the area. PGC must wait until after the hatchlings fledge to begin.
Once the dam is removed, the river will be able to flow freely through the area, said Schaffer.
With the lake removed the bed has already begun to regenerate and the hope is that will continue to flourish.
“That's what we want to have happen,” said Schaffer.