Interview with Jim Thompson, MD Dept. of Natural Resources - Fisheries Service

Monday, December 15, 2008

1.Please provide a list and very short summary of the project(s) you have worked on and their status.

Octoraro Dam removal - removal of a rubble dam to open 14 miles of habitat to shad and herring
Puckum Branch removal - earthen dam removal to open habitat for herring
Raven Rock dam removal - concrete dam removal to open habitat for brook trout

2.When approaching a dam removal project, what is the first thing you have to know, the first step, the first thing one should tackle?

First thing I need to know when approaching a new project is which species does the removal benefit and how many miles/quality of habitat is upstream.

3.Considering all the cases you've encountered, what makes the strongest argument for removal?

Safety followed by Natural Resources Benefits make the best cases for removal.

4.In your campaign(s), how important was it to have alternatives or replacements for what was lost in dam re-operation or removal?

Having replacements for lost functions has not been an issue for me.

5.What lessons have you learned?

I've learned that removing dams in MD takes a lot longer then I would have liked or hoped for.  It's still a new and untested process here.

6.If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?

Not sure there is anything I could do differently.

7.Who are your river restoration heroes, and why?

American Rivers folks are my heroes because they are not bound by the same forces that I am being a State employee.  They are able to provide funding, pressure, and education to assist in removals.

8.Do you anticipate any repercussions for river restoration efforts from the financial crisis?

I anticipate the current financial crisis will slow restoration efforts.

More information: 

Dam Removal: Learning from the Pros

WRR Dec. 2008

Jim Thompson
MD Dept. of Natural Resources - Fisheries Service
Fish Passage Program
580 Taylor Ave B-2
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-260-8269 (tel)
410-260-8279 (fax)