Miller said there is money in the state’s capital funding for the removal of the dams in Danville this year.
He said removing the dams improves water quality when rivers act like lakes for nutrient transport, removing sediment, etc.
“There will be a free-flowing river through this section that will allow the migration of fish downstream,” Miller said. “It will be healthy for all species.”
Miller said removing the dams will allow fish to move up about 175 miles of stream.
“There will be more fish floating upstream instead of stopping at the dam,” he said.
“It should actually improve conditions and spawning,” he said.
The pools of water created by the dams won’t be there anymore and it will be a change for boaters and those who fish, Miller acknowledges. But in terms of the river health and water quality, the Vermilion and North Fork rivers will remain healthy river systems with a high-quality habitat, he said.
Miller said someone will be able to launch a canoe anywhere upstream. Canoeists would be able to canoe down the Vermilion River from the Middle Fork, which is already popular with canoeists, all the way to the Wabash.
The area will be able to promote more recreational activities, he added.
Past city action, discussions
City officials have wanted the dams removed because they serve no function and drowning deaths have occurred there. The dams also pose a danger to emergency responders. Removing the public safety hazards would reduce the city’s maintenance costs.
In March 2012, the city council requested $60,000 through the National Fish and Wildlife Service in Fish Passage Program funding to assist with the costs associated with monitoring the response of the river environment to the removals of the Vermilion River and Ellsworth Park dams.
Sediment transport, fish species, bugs and other items were to be monitored.