Daniels Dam Eel Ladder – Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Daniels Dam Eel Ladder – Maryland Department of Natural Resources


[sound of water rushing over dam] Hi, my name is William Harold, I work with
Maryland DNR. I’m here today at the Eel Ladder at Daniel’ s Dam on the Patapsco River. This is a project that DNR built using funding from the Maryland Port Administration. The purpose of this project is to improve
passage of American Eels up and over Daniels Dam Which currently serves as a migration barrier keeping eels from reaching habitats up stream. So here’s the eel ladder. It’s a structure
that goes all the way 30 feet down into the river below the dam here. If we open it up and take a look we can see how it works. So it is essentially a big gutter, full of
water. As a substrate for the eels to climb up
there this plastic mat called Enka mating It is intended purpose is erosion control
mat. You put it down, like can plant down to plant grass through a steep slope or something. But it works really well on something for
small eels to climb up. On eel ladders, typically the eels are
climbing they’re not swimming. They’re kinda moving like a worm or a snake through that climbing substrate. So we have a pump that sends water to the
ladder through this spray bar. The spray bar directs the water into two directions
some going down the ladder providing the flow for the eels that are working their way up
and some going down into the holding tank to keep washing them down to the other side. We don’t have any climbing substrate on
this side because we don’t want the eels to turn around and go back. Once they get to the top is kinda to the point
of no return. They wash on down through this funnel, which
you can see here, and then down a pipe into a holding tank. So after they’ve completed that journey,
someone from DNR usually myself, comes once a day and checks for eels in this mesh bag
right here. So we’ll do that now. Take the bag off and we look inside. And low and behold we have a few eels. So these right here are juvenile American
Eels, there appear to be three of them in here. They made it all the way up the Patapsco River,
out into the bay, up the ladder to this point. Trying to make it upstream to find new habitats. The American Eel is a migratory fish, similar to a shad, salmon, herring. The difference is that their a catadromous fish. The salmon, shad and those sort of things are anadromous. They spend their life living in the
ocean and coming into fresh water to spawn. The eel is the opposite of that, they spend most of their time living in growing in fresh water and move out into the ocean to spawn. These small eels are using the ladder are
trying to make up the Patapsco River to live and grow before moving back out to sea to spawn and make more eels. [sound of water rushing over dam]

5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. So, late to the party here, but is the DNR considering eventually removing the Daniels dam to restore the river flow all the way to the confluence of the Patapsco and the north fork south of the Liberty reservoir? I know that the Bloede project is underway at this point which would leave Daniels as the last remaining interruption on the river.

  2. We started monitoring ours this year, first time for everyone of us. so far we had five eels migrate to date. Interesting how this process actually works. We are in the Town of Hope Mills, I am their PW director, our office is in charge of the monitoring and maintenance of eel ladder and components.

  3. When is DNR going to create a better parking solution for this area of the Patapsco State Park? Currently the large gravel lot that used to provide adequate parking space is barricaded off and the roadway is littered on both shoulders with what looks like at least a hundred "Towing Zone" signs that are spaced about 20 feet apart in all directions on both shoulders. This only leaves the public with about 15 "Legal" parking spaces.

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