American Climate Partners (then known as the Center for Natural Capital, created the Rapidan Institute in 2020 to focus on comprehensive fisheries and floodplain habitat restoration in the Rapidan and Robinson River Valleys. The Institute’s strategies include the enhancement of soil, plant, and animal biodiversity; river reconnection and whole floodplain restoration; and the development of emerging conservation-friendly agricultural and environmental markets.
At the same time, with the help of ten supporting Founders, we launched the Rapidan Fish Passage Project with the goal of reconnecting the Rapidan River headwaters and tributary rivers and streams with the Atlantic Ocean, and once again sharing the river with migratory fish such as American Shad, Alewife (herring), American Eels, and others. This project is considered the largest dam removal effort in North America, according to American Rivers, a nonprofit that has been at the forefront of protecting and restoring rivers for nearly 50 years.
In 2021, we completed Phase 1 due diligence and submitted a proposal to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and other state and federal agencies. In 2022, we completed our purchase of the Rapidan Dam. In 2023, submitted an application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to surrender the hydropower license for the dam, required before we can begin alterations of the former power-generating dam; we also submitted funding proposals to two different federal agencies. And in 2024, we hope to begin the design and permitting process for modifications to the dam.
Please consider a gift to help us meet 2024 project expenses of $50,000 or more, which we expect to incur before any federal funding is received.