Field notes from Bushkill Creek

A look at the major events leading up to removal of the century-old dams.

August 2005:

Martins Creek power plant spills 100 million gallons of ash slurry into the Delaware River.

November 2005:

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection sues plant owner in Commonwealth Court over ash leak.

Fall 2010:

Lafayette College faculty and students begin studying effects of removing dams on Bushkill Creek.

May 2016:

Plant owners agree to $1 million settlement agreement, overseen by Delaware River Basin Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. The settlement will fund freshwater mussel restoration and removal of the Bushkill Creek dams.October 2016: Lafayette College formalizes its role as a project partner.

September 2017:

Delaware River Basin Commission selects Wildlands Conservancy to manage Bushkill Creek restoration project.

Spring 2023:

Completed design, permitting, and construction of the project.

July 7, 2023:

Work begins to remove Lafayette’s dam, the first and most critical of a series of dams upstream of the confluence of the Bushkill Creek and Delaware River.

September 2023:

Work begins to remove the dam at Simon Silk Mill, upstream of the Lafayette dam.


Freshwater mussels will be introduced to the area waters. Also, the Easton-owned dam, between Lafayette’s and Simon’s dams, will be removed in the summer.