Frustration Mounts Over Dam Removal Project
29 July 2016
West Milford, W.Va (WDTV)-- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
provided an update on the dam removal project along the West Fork
Meeting with the Clarksburg Water Board, officials said they are
almost finished with the West Milford and Highland dams, while
work on the Two Lick Dam continues.
Those leading the charge for the project say this was necessary to
make the water cleaner, more accessible, and safe. Three people
drowned in the Highland Dam in 2000.
Many West Milford residents, though, are frustrated with the
"I told them ten years ago, my dad told them ten years ago, 'if
you take the river out, the road is going to fall,'" said Michael
Petitto, a West Milford resident who lives next to what used to be
the Highland Dam.
His warning to the Clarksburg Water Board came true. When the
Highland Dam was removed earlier this year, water levels dropped,
hydraulic pressure lifted part of Hide-A-Way road, and the road
leading to his house caved in.
"We've been working with the land owner there," said Nick Millet,
a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We're
actually finishing up a temporary road for him so that their
family has access in and out of their property."
Petitto appreciates that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has
accepted responsibility, but he says frustration in West Milford
is at a new high.
"It was a total complete waste of money," says John Stenger, an
vocal opponent of the project.
Carl Evans, the owner of Evans Service Center in West Milford,
says his building is off its foundation.
"Hydraulic pressure has caused the bank to start slipping in and
settling in, which has caused the foundation of my building to
settle in," said Evans.
Millet says he has been in contact with Evans and the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service is working to rectify the problem.