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Posted: March 27, 2017

Tait Station low dam project to improve Great Miami River access and safety

By next summer, paddlers may be able to launch upstream of downtown Dayton and float all the way to West Carrollton without a single portage.

That’s because the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is planning to remove the Tait Station low dam, near the University of Dayton Arena, this summer.

Tait Station Low Dam was built by DP&L in 1935 to supply cooling water as part of a power plant.  In the 1980s, DP&L shut down the plant, and transferred ownership of the low dam to the Miami Conservancy District (MCD) in 1990 for recreation.

The dam no longer serves any purpose and needs extensive repairs totaling $5 to $8 million. Removing the dam will improve river access and safety.

Low dams provide a pool of water upstream for recreation but they have drawbacks. They are notoriously dangerous. Boaters can get trapped at low dams, and the dams can slow river flow, impacting the river’s health.

“Removing Tait Station Low Dam is a real positive for the paddling community,” says Sarah Hippensteel Hall, MCD manager for watershed partnerships. “More people will be able to access the river. We should see more – and healthier – fish, and the river will look better as it returns to its natural state.”

The 2015 US Army Corps of Engineers report on the Great Miami River Corridor recommended the removal of the low dam as did the 2016 Dayton Region Priority Development &Advocacy Committee, (PDAC) administered by the Dayton Development Coalition. Both the City of Dayton and Montgomery County passed resolutions supporting the dam’s removal.

ODOT is removing the dam to restore the Great Miami River. The project will offset expected adverse impacts in another nearby ODOT river project. The exact date of the dam removal will be determined by several factors, including permit approvals and weather.