Hoosier Dam was a concrete buttress dam with an attached hydroelectric powerhouse on the Rocky River in Chatham County, NC. The dam was built in 1922 and produced power until January 2016 when a fire destroyed the primary 150KW generator.  Constructed of river stone and reinforced concrete the dam had a total length of 235 feet and an average structural height of 25 feet. 

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) designated sections of the Rocky River upstream and downstream from Hoosier Dam, as well as a section of Bear Creek just below the dam, as Critical Habitat for the Cape Fear Shiner, a federally listed endangered species. The non-impounded sections of the Rocky River and Bear Creek exhibit very high-quality riverine habitat that supports a diverse collection of aquatic species including the Cape Fear Shiner and other species of concern. The dam represented a significant blockage to fish migration and as a result, USFWS has documented declines in the disconnected population upstream of the dam. Unique Places understands that removal of the blockage created by the dam to provide access to these high-quality reaches is a substantial long-term benefit to these aquatic communities.

In 2016 Unique Places applied for and received a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant to complete the environmental, engineering, and construction related components of dam removal.  After an extensive permitting and design period the dam was finally ready to be removed in the fall of 2018.  Unique Places started preliminary demolition work in September 2018. The USFWS Fish Passage team partnered with Unique Places to conduct the demolition of the dam in late October 2018.

As of November 2018, the Hoosier Dam has been removed and the Rocky River now flows unobstructed! You can view photos of our work on the dam and a short video showing progress in our media galleries below.  We would like to thank the following partners, funders and others who made this project a success!

  • Emily Wells, USFWS

  • Sara Ward, USFWS

  • Sarah McRae, USFWS

  • David Hinton, Dam Manager & Historian

  • Hal Jones, USFWS Fish Passage Team

  • Cory Gullett, USFWS Fish Passage Team

  • Vann Stancil, NCWRC

  • Brena Jones, NCWRC

  • John Hutton, Wildlands Engineering

  • Angela Allen, Wildands Engineering

  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Funder

  • United States Fish and Wildlife Services, Partner and Funder

  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Partner

  • NC State Historic Preservation Office, Partner

  • Wildlands Engineering, Partner

  • Arcadian Construction, Partner

  • NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Partner

  • 130 of Chatham LLC, Partner


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Unique Places, in conjunction with the Cape Fear River Partnership, is working to develop the Cape Fear Basin Comprehensive River Trail Plan. This plan is a basin-wide recreation plan that focuses on river paddle trails extending from coastal North Carolina to the central piedmont. The Hoosier Dam Removal project contributes to the Cape Fear Basin Comprehensive River Trail Plan by removing a barrier along a navigable stream and no longer requiring portage. In the future, we hope to see paddlers and camping sites that support multiple day river excursions. The Cape Fear Basin Comprehensive River Trail Plan will help connect the Rocky River to other rivers and tributaries, improving the connectivity of the Cape Fear Basin for recreation opportunities.