Pigg River
Restoration Project

Our latest projects kicked off Monday, August 29, 2016 in a big way.  It is the demolition of the Pigg River Dam, in Franklin County.

Dam is 200 feet across by 25 feet tall.  FORVA bought it a few years ago to tear down.  Removing this dam will open up 70 miles of free-flowing river.  It is a million dollar project.  Bill Tanger is the project manager.

Location: Near Rocky Mount, VA at the bridge on Power Dam Road. The dam is about 4 miles from the courthouse.  Click here for map

We will be there for the next two weeks each day.  Probably for the next two months.

Here are a few shots from today, Tuesday, August 30, 2016.

Good progress on hammering away the right side of the cut we want to make on the dam.  Essentially no debris or trash flushed down.  Also virtually no sediment.  This is convenient as it allows us to get as much of the dam out as we can before we need to drag down the woody debris.

Lots of bystanders, visitors and curious people. Lots of stories about what we might find behind the dam.  Stay tuned for more stories from the Pigg River Mystery Dam in Franklin County.

At our annual meeting this year, I should have a nice slide show of this project for a short program.

Here is our Friday, September 9, 2016 wrap-up photo set...  all shots taken today, 9-9-16.

woody debris in field:  the pile grows

moving wood

loading wood

pick up sticks

stream restoration

left side of dam with stream

We will return Monday morning for more fun in the river.

Anyone wishing to volunteer, please let me know.  We need river clean-up volunteers, chain-sawyers, brush cutters and various other help. 

 -------- Bill Tanger

Sep 18 at 10:15 AM

    Here are some shots from this past week of 9-12 through 9-16-16.

Debris channel cut 09-12-16

Lots of Debris

Opening River Channel 09-12-16

Clearing River Channel 09-12-16

River channel 09-12-16

River cutting 09-12-16

    We continue to remove concrete and woody debris.  The woody debris is piling up in the cornfield.  We have found uses for the concrete.

    We are attacking poison ivy on the old powerhouse.

    We continue to solve problems and restore the river.  Every day it looks more like a river than the day before.

    Upstream the sediment is moving downstream.  Downstream the sediment is creating new benches and the beginnings of new wetlands.

    Stay tuned for more shots next week...

--------    Bill Tanger, Project Manager

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Friends of dambusters:

    Here are shots for the week ending on 9-22-16.

In sum:

    The concrete work is done, with a 65' wide channel at the dam.

65' wide Channel at the Dam

Motley Crew

    The woody debris is being cleaned up some so the chipper can handle it. 

    We have roughed in a boat ramp. 

New Boat Ramp

    We are having Hill Studio work on a site plan for the historic powerhouse.

    We continue to assess and work the streambanks to remove more woody debris and clear the channel. 

Upstream Looking Down

Upstream Looking Up

Channel Evolution

New Braiding

    We will be adding more signage upstream as a safety precaution. 

    Stay tuned for more shots next week...

        --------    Bill Tanger, Project Manager

Monday, October 3, 2016

    Here are some shots after the high water event of 9-30-16, when the flow got up to 4,000 cfs at the Sandy Level gauge.  That would translate to over 800 cfs at the dam area.

    In any case, the high water is continuing to eat at the banks, sometimes bringing whole sections sliding down with trees attached.

    Below the dam, sediment continues to create new wetlands.  The channel continues to shift about, undecided, and will continue to do so for several years or more.

    I continue to pull out tires, pick up trash and clean up graffiti.

    We will need to do more chain-sawing of miscreant logs that are blocking the channel.  We will also need to pull some of the larger trees back out of the channel.

    The channel has cleared out the sediment in front of the boat access location, at least for the moment.

    Our biggest problem of the moment is trying to find a place for the disposal of the woody debris in the cornfield.  No one wants it, so far.

News video on Youtube:


   More shots from the riverbanks in a second email.

   Bill the Riverman

Monday, October 4, 2016 Today at 10:32 AM
From:  Willard Smith
To: Bill Tanger

Thanks Bill. Looks good. Everything appears to be going as the studies predicted so far.


Will Smith, Restoration Biologist
U.S. Department Of The Interior
Office of Restoration and Damage Assessment
Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program
Restoration Support Unit
P.O. Box 25007 (D-110)
DFC, Bldg 56, Rm 1560
Denver, CO 80225

Saturday, October 08, 2016 5:03 PM

Pigg River after High Water Event #2 - 10-8-16: lots going on!

woody debris is now mulch debris to be moved out next week

wetland buildup with small waterholes to left

runoff from pond above; trees hung up in channel

looking upstream; tree collapse in progress

runoff from pond above

steeper bank sloughing into river

Met with next door property owners Friday about historic preservation work.

Joining Franklin County Historical Society to work on kiosk presentation.

Mulch to be taken to paper mill next week.

Will be gone to New England this coming week and back Monday, October 17.

Enjoy the photos. Come see us.

----- Bill & the Dambusters