WAYNESBORO, Va. (AP) - A new study shows the removal of a large dam in Virginia has benefited American eels.
Research recently published by the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service shows that the removal of Embrey Dam on the Rappahannock River increased American eel numbers in headwater streams nearly 100 miles away.
American eels migrate from their spawning grounds in the Atlantic Ocean to freshwater streams along the coast. Dams were thought to slow or even stop the migration.
Researchers studied eel populations in Shenandoah National Park streams before and after the dam's removal in 2004. The study shows significant eel increases beginning two years later and nearly every year since.
USGS biologist Nathaniel Hitt says the study shows benefits of dam removal can extend far upstream.