Rock Arch Rapids are man made structures that utilize rocks to create gently sloping pools and small falls that mimic natural rivers. The ramp enables fish to naturally swim pass an impassable structure like a dam. This is a critical solution for migratory fish that swim up and downstream to spawn.
The picture below shows the original Lock & Dam #1, located on the Cape Fear River. The “Lock” is located on the left and enables the river to be passable for boats. The “Dam” is located on the right. This structure does not allow for migratory fish to pass on their own.
The next series of pictures illustrates the changes made to Lock & Dam #1 to make it more fish friendly. Notice how the Rock Arch Rapids installed mimic natural rapids and enable fish to pass beyond this historically dammed area to spawn.
In 2012, for the first time in 100 years, with the help from Cape Fear River Watch and the Striper Foundation, Striped Bass swam past the dam on their own. We were humbled to be a part of this historical moment.
What’s next? There are still 2 more dams along the Cape Fear River that inhibit migratory fishes. With the help of our friends and partners we hope to some day have Rock Arch Rapids located at all 3 Lock & Dams in the Lower Cape Fear River.