Juliette residents hosting ‘spring fling’ to save historic dam

JULIETTE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Juliette residents are banding together to save what they refer to as a piece of history. The federal government is requiring the company that owns a dam in the heart of town to make modifications or shut it down. 

Fishing might as well be Ricky Worth’s’ middle name.

“Save it. Why take something from you?,” asked Ricky Worth. 
He’s obsessed and comes to the east Juliette Dam to cast his rod every chance he gets.
“It’s our habitat. It’s our playground. It’s where we fish and we swim. We camp out, we bring the kids the families, it’s just what it is,” Worth said. 

He and others in the city are fighting to keep the dam open. 

In October, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission slapped the dam’s owner, the Eastern  Hydroelectric Company, with an order to make a fish ladder. 

That’s an access route for migrating fish. If the company doesn’t, the feds will shut the dam down. 
(SS:) “From a functional aspect, this river serves as a barrier for further upstream migration of the shad.”

Several specifies of fish, specifically the American Shad, travel upstream through the Ocmulgee River during the spring, and the dam makes their journey more difficult.

Fishermen spend hours out here fishing for American shad and other types of fish species. They actually crest right there bottom of the dam, and that’s why residents say they’ll do anything can to save it.

There are some naysayers who say the dam needs to be torn down. 

The American Rivers conservation group says removing it is the most cost-effective solution for restoring fish passage on the river.

Now residents have stepped in wanting to make a difference. 
“Whatever money it takes. If it’s $500 we raise or if it’s half a million, we want to contribute it to that,” Delores Hayes, the chairperson for the spring fling to save the dam, said. 

They’re hoping they raise the half a million dollars it’ll take to build the fish ladder and save the nearly 100-year-old dam. 

“So we’re trying to keep Juliette alive the way it was. That’s why people come; for the history,” Hayes said. 
“The community, the county, and surrounding people want this to stay here. It’s a historical place,” Worth said. 

41NBC reached out to Eastern Hydroelectric Company for comment, but we haven’t hear back. No word yet on when federal officials will take any action. 

Until they do, Juliette resident are hosting a save the dam ‘Spring Fling’. It’s April 25th & 26th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on McCrackin Street. There will be food, games, and activities for the kids. Money raised will go toward the necessary dam improvements. 

Categories: Local News, Monroe County

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