This fall the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District commenced construction at the Hawkinsville Dam in Boonville a few miles outside the Blue Line. The project includes upgrades, totaling about $1.7 million, to improve the dam’s safety and stability.
I haven’t written about the project because it falls outside the Adirondack Park, but it marks the start of a series of long-needed upgrades to the regulating district’s portfolio of dams, including some of the most iconic in the Adirondacks.
Conklingville Dam, which created the Great Sacandaga impoundment in the 1930s, has received around $20 million in state funding in recent years for the largest upgrade in the dam’s history. I visited the dam at the end of September for a valve test, descending into the heart of the dam where original hand-crank valves open the gates that let water through.
Those valves and gates may be replaced or upgraded as part of the planned overhaul.
This morning I visited the Indian Lake Stone Dam (pictured above) with John Callaghan, the district’s executive directive, and Robert Foltan, chief engineer. That dam was built in 1898 by logging companies. The dam’s original timber gates still sit under water, funneling water downstream. The regulating district is about 90% done with design plans and plans to go out for construction bids next year, beginning construction as soon as next fall.
Another project to upgrade both Old Forge and Sixth Lake dams is not as far along in design, but construction could begin at those sites as early as 2024. Taken together, the planned upgrades at the regulating district Adirondack dams mark a major investment in some of the park’s most critical infrastructure.
I’ll follow the projects as they develop and plan to explore them in much more detail in the magazine next year. So stay tuned!
Editor’s note: This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.