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First Step in Dam Removal is Determining Ownership

October 31st, 2013 by WCBC Radio

Before anything can be done- beit creating tourism opportunities or removing it- a deteremination has to be made as to who own the Blue Bridge Dam between Cumberland and Ridgeley. Before the current industrial dam, built in 1959, there was the C&O Canal Dam, built in the 1840s at the confluence of Wills Creek and the Potomac. There has been some discussion in recent months about the best future use of the dam- however the ownership question has slowed the process.  State Senator George Edwards contacted the state Attorney General’s office for some clarification on the ownership question- however the issue remains unresolved. In a letter from Adam Snyder, chief council opinions and advice, he states that this isn’t so much a legal issue as it is a need for a title search. That process has proven convoluted and complicated.  In an attempt to find an answer, Snyder said the AG’s office will have a team of lawyers to review construction, regulation and ownership. Advocates for removing the dam maintain that the action has the potential to inject the community with new opportunities.  In addition to the ownership question- any  future usage of the river waters hinges on the results of water quality and sediment sample testing that must be completed to determine the amount of toxins present. American Rivers, an organization in Washington, D.C., that assists in river cleanups, hopes to raise the funding needed to allow testing to begin in the near future.

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