US Army Corps of Engineers
Philadelphia District & Marine Design Center

Cobbs Creek Fish Passage

Cobbs Creek Fish Passage

Published May 5, 2014
The Woodland Avenue Dam is the first impediment along Cobbs Creek preventing fish passage. Stored sediment behind the dam must be controlled during removal to prevent adverse upstream impacts.

The Woodland Avenue Dam is the first impediment along Cobbs Creek preventing fish passage. Stored sediment behind the dam must be controlled during removal to prevent adverse upstream impacts.

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS: PA-5

APPROPRIATION / PHASE: Construction, General

BUSINESS PROGRAM: Environmental Infrastructure

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

DESCRIPTION: PWD and the Corps partnered to design and construct the best alternative to reestablish fish passage along Cobbs Creek at the Woodland Dam. The
Woodland Dam, also known as Old Swedes Mill, is a low concrete structure managed by Philadelphia. Modification or removal of the small dam would restore fish passage and improve the aquatic habit along this reach of stream. Following the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the project team evaluated several alternatives to restore fish passage: 

  • No Action
  • Dam Removal (Full or Partial) 
  • Fish Ladder

The Woodland Dam is located just upstream of the Woodland Avenue Bridge across Cobbs Creek. The Woodland Dam is located approximately 5.4 miles downstream of the confluence of Cobbs Creek and Indian Creek. The dam is also the first impediment to fish passage along Cobbs Creek. The project limits extend from the bridge upstream approximately 750 feet. 

The project has been deferred pending the City’s ability to obtain the necessary easements for construction. Incomplete and insufficient real estate
records are preventing the City from obtaining the easements without taking legal action. Obtaining easements is the responsibility of the local
sponsor. The Corps will need to finalize Plans and Specifications and obtain permits for construction once the City obtains the easements. The project
will include partial removal of the dam plus stream restoration to stabilize the channel and entrap river sediment or approximately 750 feet upstream
of the dam. 

PROJECT GOALS: The purpose of the Cobbs Creek Fish Passage Restoration Project is to investigate, select, and construct the best alternative to reestablish fish passage on Cobbs Creek. 

NON-FEDERAL SPONSOR: Philadelphia Water Department

DATE OF PROJECT AGREEMENT: 6 Aug, 2009 

PROJECT MANAGER: Scott Sanderson