Bloede Dam

Bloede Dam  

Maryland Department of Naural Resources partners met on June 7th to review bids for the Bloede Dam. There will be more discussions before a final decision is made and work moves forward - keep tuned to this page for more details!

Why Remove Bloede Dam?

  • Improve public safety (human deaths & injuries have taken place at the dam)
  • Complement upstream restoration work (Union & Simkins dam removal)
  • Improve fish passage (ladder has been unsuccessful & expensive to maintain)
  • Improve stream connectivity for fish and aquatic organisms

Current Progress - Bloede Dam Removal Project

DNR and its partners are moving forward with the removal of the Bloede Dam. Work is expected to begin October 2016. The work will occur in three phases. The first phase is the relocation of the 42" main sewer line which runs through the dam. This will result in the closure of a portion of the Grist Mill Trail for approximately 18-20 months. The initial phase will also require the removal of approximately 7 acres of trees in the vicinity of the dam and the Grist Mill Trail. ​ A Forest Conservation Plan has been developed to ensure successful reforestation (more details to come). During all phases of the project, visitors can expect to see and hear increased truck and construction activity between Illchester Bridge and Bloede Dam. 

Work to remove the Bloede Dam structure and retrench a 12” sanitary line that crossing the Patapsco upstream of the dam is expected to start in late fall of 2017 (phase two). ​This phase is anticipated to take approximately 3 months - with all work being completed by December 2017. The final phase of the project entails final reforestation efforts, as well as installation of two scenic overlooks and interpretive signage. Please stay tuned to this website for details on construction work and trail closures. See the links below and to the left for additional details.

Materials presented at the Open House can be downloaded by clicking the link below:
Bloede Dam Removal Open House on January 29 (13MB sized file)
Bloede Dam Public Comments Response 2015

DNR and it's partners have completed the following tasks for developing the design plans:

  • Put project out for bid
  • Completed 99% design plans and submitted for permits
  • DNR held an open house on January 29th 2015 to present the 60% design plans and inform the public of important topics which could impact them.
  • Posted responses to comments received at the open house.
  • Estimated sediment volumes using MD Geological Service seismic survey data and soil borings.
  • Analyzed sediment cores for physical properties and pollutants.
  • Met with permitting agencies to discuss the Bloede Dam removal options.
  • Met with Baltimore and Howard County Department of Public Works to discuss options for minimizing impacts to the sewer line.

Looking ahead, DNR and it's partners will work on the following tasks:

  • Contractor selection
  • Finalize all necessary permits and coordinate with project partners
  • Begin relocation of sewer lines

Tentative timeline:

  • Review bids - May 2016
  • Select contractor - September 2016
  • Begin sewer line relocation - October 2016
  • Begin dam removal - Fall 2017

Bloede Dam Project

Problem: The Bloede Dam is located within the Patapsco River State Park and was built in 1907. The dam is a public safety concern (deaths have occurred), an obstacle for fish passage, and it fragments river continuity and aquatic habitats.

Responsibility: Bloede dam is owned by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Process: A feasibility study was commissioned to evaluate the dam's negative impact on the ecology of the Patapsco River and issues of public safety. After a thorough analysis and public input (2011-2012), the Department and project partners made the decision to move forward with the Bloede Dam removal with passive sediment management.

Goals of the Bloede project:

  1. Restore Fish and Aquatic Organism Passage
    The Patapsco River once supported large runs of shad, herring, and American eels, but the construction of dams has blocked these historic migrations. The fish ladders constructed in the 1990's have proven to be ineffective at passing fish – especially American eel.
  2. Improvement of Public Safety
    The Bloede dam is a significant public safety hazard, several deaths have occurred at or near the dam.
  3. Consider Historic, Cultural and Recreational Values
    The Bloede Dam was built in the early 1900’s and is part of the Patapsco’s rich history. It is also a major feature of the Patapsco Valley State Park. Similarly, herring, and shad were once abundant and a staple of settlers in the Patapsco Valley. The cultural significance of each of these will be commemorated as part of this project and recreational boating and fishing values promoted.

Our Vision

With the removal of all or most of Bloede Dam, the department envisions a restored Patapsco River System with a wide range of benefits and long-term cost savings. It is recognized that this decision is not without potential adverse impacts.

A significant historical structure in Patapsco Valley State Park will be lost, there will be short-term impacts to the ecology of the river, fishing and other recreational opportunities will be affected, and there will be temporary inconvenience to park visitors.

However, there will be long-term ecological benefits to the Patapsco River and the Chesapeake Bay, including:

  • Passage of anadromous fish and eels, thus achieving fish passage objectives
  • Improved recreational opportunities (fishing, canoeing, kayaking, tubing) and enhanced public safety (removal of drowning hazard and elimination of dam-related injuries)
  • Healthier populations of native fish species
  • Increased diversity of aquatic insects
  • Cooler, oxygen-rich waters that improve the fishery
  • Long-term cost savings related to ongoing maintenance and repair of the dam structure and an ineffective fish ladder
  • A more scenic and natural setting; the present dam aesthetics that some find attractive will be replaced over time with a rocky, more natural cascading river environment and setting

To address the loss of a cultural and historic resource, a portion of the dam structure will be retained on the Howard County side with the placement of appropriate interpretive displays on location and possibly another interpretative display on the Baltimore County side.

The Department invites you to continue to submit written comments on this project, please email:


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