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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Pigg River Dam removal closer to reality
FORVA plans to improve parking, river access near the site
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Courtesy Photo: The removal of the old power dam on the Pigg River may soon become a reality. The 25-foot dam is in poor condition and creates numerous safety hazards.

Monday, March 3, 2014

At the March 10 meeting of The Creek Freaks of Franklin County, Bill Tanger, representing the Friends of the Rivers of Virginia (FORVA), will present an update of plans to remove the Pigg River Power Dam east of Rocky Mount.

Tanger, a veteran paddler and river guide, has worked on a number of successful river conservation and access projects, including the Roanoke River takeout at Rutrough Road, said Creek Freak Raymond Williams.

"Tanger was instrumental in FORVA's decision to purchase the power dam," Williams said.

Since the purchase, FORVA has been working with the Creek Freaks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Franklin County, Town of Rocky Mount and other groups to partially remove the dam and restore 2.2 miles of the Pigg River upstream of the dam.

The 25-foot dam is in poor condition and poses a threat to downstream infrastructure, including the Franklin County Wastewater Treatment Plant, Williams said.

"The dam removal project will help the county create a blueway section for paddling downstream from Lynch Park by eliminating a safety hazard," Williams said.

FORVA plans to improve the parking and river access near the site of the dam, he added.

The project will benefit the endangered Roanoke logperch and game fish, such as Roanoke bass.

"As someone who paddles and fishes the Pigg River with my family, I am excited about this project," said Creek Freak President Amanda Teer. "I urge anyone who paddles, both members and non-members, to come out and learn more about it."

"It will be exciting to see what kind of rapids are under the silt," Williams said. "No one photographed or drew them before the dam was built in 1915, so there could be drops that make the infamous Pigg River Ramble Ledge look tame. This could be a great step up for local boaters, and it should become a classic family friendly trip."

The Creek Freaks' annual meeting will be held Monday, March 10 at 6:30 at the Essig Center, next door to theĀ Franklin County Family YMCA. In addition to Tanger's presentation, the club will discuss trips and paddling events. Non-members are welcome to attend.

More information may be found on the club's Facebook page.

The Creek Freaks of Franklin County is a paddling club devoted to promoting recreational boating throughout the region with a special emphasis in Franklin County. The club sponsors trips, and works with local governments to create and preserve blueways (natural waterways designated for open usage by the public).

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