Sweetwater Creek Dam Removal
Sweetwater Creek occupies a unique geological area within the Apalachicola River basin. Just north of Bristol, Florida, this 44-square mile basin is surrounded by steep ravines, springheads, high bluffs and hardwood floodplains. The variety of habitats and intersecting streams and springs results in a rich diversity of both aquatic and terrestrial animals, as well as plants.
Near the mouth of Sweetwater Creek lies the project site, a 619-acre conservation easement. A dam located where Sweetwater Creek enters the floodplain of the Apalachicola River, prevents fish passage and alters hydrological flow for the entire 44 sq. miles. Given its location, it is the lynchpin for all other aquatic conservation work in the basin. With the numerous endemic species present, protection of this creek and its associated ravine/spring seep habitat is critical. In addition to the aquatic benefits, this project site has documented observations of the Torreya Tree, one of the most critically endangered plant species in the US.
To address these threats, SARP and its partners will breach 1,500 feet of levee to improve floodplain connectivity and replace a failing dam with a small single lane bridge. These activities will restore natural hydrologic flow, opening 33 miles for aquatic fish passage, and result in the restoration of 12.6 acres of hardwood bottomland and 8 acres of riparian and ravine/spring steepheads.
* Project removes artificial barriers that restrict passage and/or natural flow of water for some period of the year