Jun 13, 2014

South Whitehall's Dilemma

The photographer and her assistant were photographing the newlyweds by Wehr Dam. She told me last Sunday morning that it is her favorite backdrop. Besides myself watching her work, was an elderly couple, who visit the dam every Sunday, to relax and appreciate the beauty. Unbeknown to them, their sanctuary is being threatened. The Wildlands Conservancy has targeted Wehr for their next dam removal project. I had seen the elaborate presentation they gave Allentown City Council, about the little dam in Lehigh Parkway. They used a professionally produced power point presentation, and brought in expert witnesses. They even had Allentown's brand new park director testify, although he had yet to even explore the park himself. Dam removal is fashionable, the only problem is that it destroys history and beauty, which you can't buy in a catalog. In South Whitehall's case, the township history is essentially that of the mills, which were built along both the Jordan and Cedar Creeks. I visited the dam again this week with a committed environmentalist. Although an advocate of dam removals, he agreed to survey the dam and adjoining covered bridge. He told me that in this case, the beauty and history trumped any environmental benefit, and that this was one dam that certainly should remain.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

MM,
Thank you for all the work onirreplacible historical treasures? There is yet another edited out weekend upon us that is to become some sort of sales pitch? I predict there will be no crime in the epicenter worth reporting to the main salesmanship TOOL the gag? There main accomplisment and distribution will be for the same old cupon clippers? I personally only used it for years for my dog droppings?

redd
patent pending

Dammit Jim said...

It's got to come down, it is impeding fish movement and is causing harm to the creek, get with the times molovinsky this is just a dam not a historical item.

michael molovinsky said...

Jim @11:49, take a ride on Wehr Mill Rd, and visit this beautiful vista. unfortunately, the mill is gone, but the dam still stands, after 100+ years. many fishermen, for many generations, have their favorite spots, both above and below the historic dam.

Michael Siegel said...

Michael, removing this dam is a complete waste of money. The base flow has historically disappeared almost every year in this area and removing the dam will not help but only worsen the problem. I would demand the the Conservancy prove that the base flow will return all the way to Mauch Chunk Rd if the dam is removed. Use this as your defense because I am right and they are wrong and I have the degree in geography/geology to prove it.

michael molovinsky said...

m siegel@1:29, beyond publicly accusing them of deliberately providing false information to allentown city council, i will not argue science with the conservancy, because they feel entitled to be untruthful. instead, i'm hoping that the commissioners were serious about respecting history, as they indicated in the king george controversy.

Guy Williams said...

So the the expert said 'The beauty and history trumped any enviromental benefit'. Good for both of you. Chances are he may not have said that had you not been such a vocal opponent of dam removal. Thank you Michael for your dedication on this issue.

michael molovinsky said...

guy@2:41, i'm not a general opponent of dam removals. i did not protest the dam removal at jordan park, or near the fish hatchery. i did oppose the removal of the wpa's robin hood dam, because it was built as a companion for the bridge. likewise, i'm opposed to demolishing wehr dam, on historical and aesthetic reasons.

Baraba Sue Ellen Rodriquez said...

Will you help pay to restore the dam and mitigate the dangers associated with the dam? probably would nee dan entire replacement since the dam is leaking through the middle of it. Then again not much history remains, the dock was removed, the mill torn down decades ago, the aged old oak tree removed by PPL

michael molovinsky said...

baraba@5:44, the history still there, even if the old oak tree is missing. the wildlands called the robin hood dam dangerous, and it was only 14 inches tall. they said they did a bridge scour analysis, when they hadn't, they said the dam was built by the usgs, when it wasn't. save the lies and scare tactics for the commissioners. they said that tearing down the wehr dam was their highest priority; what they mean is harvesting the grant to tear down the dam is their highest priority, so that they can pay themselves a percentage for administrative fees.

Anonymous said...

Hoping that Michael demands total 100 percent transparency on this issue. Seems like this decision was made behind close doors.

michael molovinsky said...

@6:07, it is disturbing that one of the commissioners asked the conservancy how to handle sentimental residents, and that the conservancy volunteered to conduct educational meetings. it's also disturbing that the commissioners gave the conservancy permission to keep planning for the dam's removal. i will proceed, never the less, as if the commission still has an open mind, and hope for the beauty and history of the township, that they do.