Biologist Andrea Leslie reflects on the Cane River dam removal


I’m Andrea Leslie and I work for the North Carolna Wildlife Resources Commission. We’re at the site of the Cane River Dam,
the former Cane River Dam where the was an old dam that was constructed more than 100
years ago, and it was taken out very recently, and the abnormal and unstable geometry behind
it that was at risk of failing and delivering a lot of sediment downstream to habitat for
lots of fish and mussels, including one endangered species, the Appalachian elktoe, and a very
rare salamander, the hellbender, Eastern hellbender. Sediment can bury habitat for those animals. So, for the hellbender for example, the hellbender
needs large, flat shelter rocks to hang out under and to nest, and those rocks need to
have a clean opening underneath them, and if you have a lot of sand or silt move down,
that can bury that opening and just disable those animals from being able to have appropriate
habitat for nesting and shelter.

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