From the Burlington County Times dated August 12, 2008

Mount Holly seeks grant to repair dam

By DANIELLE CAMILLI
Burlington County Times
MOUNT HOLLY — The township has applied for a $2 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund repairs of Mill Dam on the Rancocas Creek.

In May, the Township Council decided to move forward with the repair of the dam off Pine Street. Since then, officials have been working to secure funding for the costly project, Mount Holly Manager Kathy Hoffman said yesterday.

She said the 4 percent federal loan would be used to rebuild and stabilize the structure.

“We're also talking to various other organizations about funding,” Hoffman said.

Earlier this year, officials said they would reach out to the Burlington County Board of Freeholders and other municipalities and groups with an interest in the north branch of the Rancocas Creek.

The creek water level and flow were significantly impacted last spring when the township opened the gates on the old dam in an effort to determine whether the council should repair or eliminate it. The dam was built in the early 1900s to divert water to the town, not prevent flooding.

With the gates open, residents reported the lowest water levels in the creek in decades.

After seeing the results, the council decided to move forward with the repair of the dam. The gates have since been closed and the water level has nearly fully recovered, officials and residents said.

Hoffman said the council hopes to have the dam repaired by 2010.

Once repairs are completed, the township can install a fish ladder on the dam. The township has already secured $427,000 in federal funds for the installation. Those funds are specifically earmarked for the fish ladder, not dam repair.

The council recently has applied for a National Fish & Wildlife Fund grant for the matching funds it needs to proceed with the ladder project, Hoffman said.

A fish ladder would allow fish to use a series of water-filled steps to cross the dam as they migrate upstream from the Delaware River.

E-MAIL: dcamilli@phillyBurbs.com