Top nav

James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 6.26'
Flow: 9270 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond


Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 6:48am
Low Tide: 1:36am

Twitter Feed @RichmondOutside

Instagram Feed @RichmondOutside

  • Have you checked out the new RichmondOutside podcast? riversideoutfittersrva ownerhellip
  • Really great day working with tons of volunteers clearing Evergreenhellip
  • Cool newish sign at the north entrance to the Bellehellip
  • New hardware atop Belle Isle will at least make ithellip
  • Ralph White minced no words when it came to jrpshellip
  • Friend of the program rvatrees gets ready to climb ahellip
  • Saw evidence of the growing controversy surrounding laruspark on ahellip
  • The pawpaws are in along buttermilktrail They should ripen inhellip
  • If you dont follow jamesriverpark you should The incomparable sandysdadhellip
  • Wish I could have gotten closer to this fella tohellip
  • Riding the wissahickon in philly is a blast every timehellip
  • The richmondoutside road trip arrived on the potomacriver in timehellip
  • Repost from Richmond fly fishing guide knotthereelworld  Floating thehellip
  • Met a new friend on the pooploop recently Taciturn fellowhellip
  • We have our first chick at the rvaospreycam ! Bornhellip
  • Big day at the rvaospreycam! Todays the first day thehellip
  • Looking for something to do on a gorgeous Sunday? Itshellip
  • Caught this screenshot abt 30 min ago on the rvaospreycamhellip
  • Dont forget the vaflyfishingfestival this weekend in Doswell Va! Theyvehellip
  • A little Chickahominy Lake flyfishing Excited for the vaflyfishingfestival thishellip
Posted In: Fishing, Paddling

Damnation: Appomattox River loses a major impediment

Andy Thompson

July 15, 2014 4:02pm
An excavator with a special "concrete muncher" attachment goes to work on the Harvell Dam.

An excavator with a special “concrete muncher” attachment goes to work on the Harvell Dam.

Around noon today I headed down to Petersburg to check out the progress on the removal of the Harvell Dam on the Appomattox River. The dam has been there since at least 1930, and for the past 20 years, Alan Weaver, fish passage coordinator for the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, has been working with the owners to try to get fish, migratory fish specifically, past the dam. For the last 10 of those years, Weaver told me, the goal has been to see the dam removed.

Well, as you can see from these pictures, today was a big day for Weaver and all the other partners involved in the project.

If you were expecting to see water rushing through the breach, that hasn’t happened yet.

“The river is so low that it’s not going to be a dramatic burst of water going through because we’ve already got the water controlled through this powerhouse on the side,” Weaver said. “The river will go to the lowest point, but as far as how dramatic it will be, I don’t know.”

A before shot of the Harvell Damn from a couple of years ago. Credit: Alan Weaver/DGIF

A before shot of the Harvell Damn from a couple of years ago. Credit: Alan Weaver/DGIF

By the end of the week, however, the concrete rubble should be cleared away up and down stream of the breach, and for first time in over 80 years, the Appomattox will begin to establish a “new normal” water level in the area. Currently, the dam holds a pool about nine feet higher on the upstream side.

Come spring migratory fish, such as American and hickory shad, American eel, and river herring will find 127 miles of upstream habitat for spawning. Very cool stuff, if you ask me. (It’s a shame the old Harvell didn’t come down in time to make this documentary about dam removal.)



About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?