This project will remove the Worthington Dam on the West Fork River in West Virginia, benefitting the endangered snuffbox and clubshell mussel populations. West Fork River also supports Smallmouth Bass and Muskellunge fisheries, which will benefit from improved access to spawning, nursery, and overwintering habitats. The removal of this dam will open 540 miles of passage. It will improve public safety hazard that has claimed a life recently. Collectively, these projects will also enhance recreation on the West Fork River by making the NPS Water Trail accessible by paddlers for over 1120 miles.
This project is part of a larger strategic effort to restore habitat throughout the West Fork Watershed for the federally listed clubshell and snuffbox mussels and other native mussels and fish. Four barriers upstream were removed on the mainstem of the West Fork River (Two-Lick, Hartland, Highland, and West Milford). The Service is also working with partners to remove the Jane Lew Dam on Hackers Creek, a tributary to the West Fork and the last stronghold for the clubshell mussel in the watershed. All of these low head dams are aging and pose safety risks for recreational users. Numerous people have been killed by the hydraulic roller effect below the dams over the years. The removal or modification of these dams will remove that safety risk and provide connectivity for paddlers using the NPS Water Trail on the river. Cumulatively these projects will open over 1120 miles of upstream passage in the watershed and provide an estimated $560 million socioeconomic benefit to the local community.