Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Dam repairs

indian lake dam

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!

conklingville dam

The Conklingville Dam. Photo by Zachary Matson

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park. Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.

2 Responses

  1. Daisy says:

    Would like to hear whether hydro electric will be considered in any way, shape or form at these dams.

  2. John Betthauser says:

    Good afternoon , my name is John Betthauser, a number of years ago , I purchased a very old tractor from up your way , it was used for disc and dragging then seeding the supporting side hills and burms for the many dams in New York State .
    I was wondering if there were any pictures of the building of the dams in your area ?
    And could you share them?
    I have my tractor nearly restored and yes, it was a golden yellow color , and in 1922, that was a different color for International harvester . My tractor is a 1922 IHC model 8-16 kerosene .

    Please advise

    And thank you so much !

    John Betthauser

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