US Army Corps of Engineers
Philadelphia District & Marine Design Center Website

Boulevard Dam Removal

Published July 18, 2019


APPROPRIATION / PHASE: Construction, General

BUSINESS PROGRAM: Environmental Infrastructure

AUTHORITY: Section 566 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1996, as amended.

DESCRIPTION: The project site is located in Pennypack Park (part of the Fairmount Park System) along Pennypack Creek, just west of the Roosevelt Boulevard bridge. Currently, the dam inhibits fish passage and creates unsafe stream conditions in its vicinity that threaten public safety and local infrastructure. The project will eliminate the significant pool depth above the dam, reduce the drop below the structure, stabilize the existing eroding stream banks, and create in-stream conditions that favor fish passage. Work efforts include the removal of the top 3.9 feet of dam, the construction of a rock ramp to provide fish passage over the remaining portion of the dam, the stabilization of the existing masonry wall, and the addition of scour protection. Anadromous fish vary greatly (both individually and by taxonomic group) in their swimming and jumping ability and therefore in their ability to surmount hydraulic and/or physical obstacles during upstream migration. Design for upstream passage must therefore always be focused on passing the largest percentage possible of a particular species of type of fish (the target population) in order to ensure that the project is successful. For this project, based on long-term monitoring and extensive local observations, the design target species for upstream fish passage is the river herring (blueback herring [Alosa aestivalis] and alewife [Alosa pseudoharengus]).

To implement this project, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) will complete the project designs using an independent Architectural & Engineering firm. The USACE will provide technical assistance and review of the project designs, ensure compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental regulations, and provide contract oversight (Supervision & Administration) during construction. A project management plan (PMP) developed specific for this effort provides additional details regarding PWD and USACE responsibilities for project implementation.

PROJECT GOALS: The purpose of this project is to investigate, select, and construct the best alternative to reestablish fish passage on Pennypack Creek and to provide for streambank stabilization and protection of an existing sanitary sewer line. 

DESCRIPTION OF TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE: USACE Philadelphia District will provide design review and construction management assistance to the City of Philadelphia for environmental restoration and environmental infrastructure protection under Section 566.

NON-FEDERAL SPONSOR: Philadelphia Water Department

DATE OF PROJECT AGREEMENT: April 2019 (scheduled)