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Dam Removal Expert

Geoffrey M. Goll, P.E.

Can you mention some of the most interesting dam removals you have carried out?

The removal of five dams on the Musconetcong River in NJ have been very interesting due to the multi-dam removals on one river.  From the stakeholders involved to the benefits of improved water quality and return of American Shad(Alosa Sapidissima) following the removal of the lower three dams was rewarding.   The Columbia Lake Dam Removal, also in NJ, was challenging due to four impacted bridges, requiring protection, while at the same time ensuring fish passage and sediment management.   This first blockage, also saw the return of American shad soon after the dam was removed.

Columbia Lake Dam Removal before and after.

What is your main expertise?

My primary expertise is in water resources engineering, with a background in geotechnical engineering.   I work in many areas of water resources, including sediment management, stream and river restoration, stormwater management and green infrastructure, freshwater wetland/coastal marsh design, dam design, and, most importantly, dam removal.

What is the most proud moment in your career regarding removing dams and why?

There are many proud moments I have had throughout my career in dam removal, including collaborating with our people at Princeton Hydro on design, working with our clients who are so passionate about their mission, and the dam owners’ who were finally released from the stress of owning a costly structure and liability.  One of my proudest moments the first time I heard the news that American shad had returned to a river that had blocked from their historic spawning grounds for nearly 300 years!

What is your take home message for upcoming project leader/managers in Europe?

Surround yourself with people “smarter than you”, including experts in engineering, science, cultural resources, stakeholder engagement, regulation, and construction.   They will help you make informed decisions.  And be cognizant that dam removal is not just about the river and its biota stakeholders, but also, and equally important, about human stakeholders.

Anything else you would like to share?

Regardless of where you are on Earth, any of my team at Princeton Hydro can speak with you about your questions, challenges, and interests.  Our “why” says it all; “we’re committed to improving our ecosystems, quality of life, and communities for the better.”  We can help.

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