Major Dam Removal Project Begins on Little Mahoning Oct. 4

Fri, Oct 1st 2010, 11:40. Filed under News Releases.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Partners Remove Savan Dam to Restore Stream

Blairsville, Pa. – October 1, 2010 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) and several partners will remove a 70-year old dam on Little Mahoning Creek beginning Monday, Oct. 4. The removal of Savan Dam in Grant Township, Indiana County, will restore the natural flow of Little Mahoning Creek and create a healthier environment for fish and other aquatic life.

This significant stream improvement project will be carried out by WPC staff in partnership with staff and volunteers of the Little Mahoning Creek Watershed Association and the Department of Environmental Protection. The 100-foot dam will be removed using both a large excavator and manual labor, with major removal activity taking place on Oct. 4 beginning at 8 a.m. Project leads will be available throughout the day to respond to questions from the media.

“Savan Dam has existed on Little Mahoning Creek for more than 70 years, and is well-known in the area. Unfortunately, the structure has been steadily crumbling while also serving as a barrier for fish and other aquatic animals seeking to move upstream,” said Nick Pinizzotto, WPC’s associate vice president for watershed conservation and conservation services.

The Conservancy will work with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to create wildlife habitat in the newly restored section of the stream after the channel has taken its natural course.

The project represents a high point in a multi-year, $1.5 million project to improve the 114-square-mile Little Mahoning watershed. “The dam removal is the next major project following a long list of habitat enhancement and sediment-reducing practices that we have already installed with the help of many local partners and landowners. Our goal is the overall protection and improvement of this outstanding watershed, and this project represents a significant step in that direction,” said Pinizzotto.

To date, WPC and its partners have completed a comprehensive assessment of the entire watershed; improved more than 20 miles of the stream; and worked with numerous landowners to reduce impacts to the Little Mahoning watershed and improve water quality. The Conservancy also has completed five projects that improve in-stream habitat for fish, mussels, aquatic insects and eastern hellbender salamanders.

Directions to Savan Dam: Take Route 119 N to East Creek Road. Turn right onto East Creek Road and follow to Leasure Run Road. Turn Right onto Leasure Run Road and then right onto Richmond Road, crossing over Little Mahoning Creek into Rochester Mills. Take the first right onto Savan Road and follow to site. The address is 407 Savan Road, Rochester Mills, PA 15771.


About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC helped to establish ten state parks and has conserved more than 228,000 acres of natural lands and waterways. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Mill Run, Pa. that symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 140 community gardens and greenspaces that are planted with the help of 10,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit

Media contact:
Stephanie Kraynick
Director of Communications
(412) 586-2358


The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3)
of the Internal Revenue Code, and 100% of your donation is tax-deductable as allowed by law.