Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Woodcock Creek Dam
Woodcock Creek dam does not look like what you probably think when you hear the word 'dam'. And not just because, unfortunately, you're more likely to hear it as a swear word. It looks nothing like the images you may have seen of the Hoover dam out west. From the downstream side, it looks like a steep hill with a flat top. At a glance, you would never know there was a big lake behind it. At the bottom of the hill on the downstream side, there is a pipe sticking out through which the Woodcock stream exits the lake. On the lake side, the slope of the hill is covered with rocks to reduce erosion. There is a control tower about 20-30 feet away from the access road on top. We were not allowed to go into the control tower because we would have had to pass a bunch of background checks. Apparently, regulating the water flow is not something the government wants to trust to any random person off the streets. The dam was put in place to control flooding, keep an eye on the water quality, and to provide a lake for recreation. Fish are not harmed when they try to pass through the dam; they can just swim straight through the holes used to regulate the water level. There are no huge turbines (we were told that the turbines themselves aren't what harm the fish; it's the extreme changes in water pressure caused by their spinning) because the dam is not used to produce hydroelectric power.