Bloede Dam FAQ and History


Frequently Asked Questions


Why is this project important?

It is important to improve fish passage, public safety, and reduce costs.

Why does the current fish ladder not work very well?

Fish ladders in general are not always effective at passing fish. Compared to a river that may be 100 feet wide, a fish ladder entrance is only 3 feet wide and often the water going though it is too fast for most fish. The ladder on the Bloede dam is the longest and tallest ladder in the State, so these issues are magnified. In addition, the flashy nature of the Patapsco means increased storm damage to the ladder compared to other fish ladders in the State.

What will the river look like if the dam is removed?

We get asked this question at every dam removal we do. In most cases, once the dam is gone, the river will look very similar to what it currently looks like just below the dam. 

How will removal affect fishing downstream?

Following dam removal, we can expect to see 1 or 2 years of decreased fishing success while popular fishing areas are temporarily filled with sand and gravel. After this period, fishing will return to normal and in most cases – better then before.

Are the sediments behind the dam polluted?​

No. Many core samples were taken and analyzed by MGS to test for contaminates.

Does the State plan to also remove Daniels Dam?

Not at this time. However, fish passage, safety, and maintenance issues at Daniels could result in a feasibility study sometime in the future.


Bloede Dam History


Historical Outline of Bloede Dam

  • In 1900 Victor Bloede developed the Patapsco Electric Manufacturing Company to provide electric power to Catonsville and Ellicott City. 
  • The dam was built in 1907 by the Ambursen Hydraulic Construction Company.
  • One of the first dams to incorporate submerged internal turbines.
  • Hydro generation discontinued in 1932 due to clogged intakes by sediment.
  • In 1938, the dam and surrounding property were sold to the State Board of Forestry and later incorporated into the Patapsco Valley State Park.