Darby Creek Dam Removals and Habitat Restoration

State TrusteePennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
State TrusteePennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Case Name:


United States of America

Restoration Types:

Habitat Enhancement


Affected DOI Resources:

Migratory Birds




Monitoring / Completed

Project Description

Darby Creek is a 26-mile long tributary of the Delaware River in southeastern Pennsylvania. As with many other rivers and streams in the Northeast, Darby Creek was dammed to provide power to mills. These barriers disrupted the flow of the creek, decreased water quality, altered the surrounding ecosystems, and blocked anadromous fish passage to upstream spawning grounds. Over time, the dams had become derelict and served no useful purpose. Between 2012 and 2013, the Darby Borough, Hoffman Park, Kent Park Dams were removed, opening up 9.7 miles to flow freely to the Delaware River. This greatly improved aquatic connectivity for migratory fishes including American shad, river herring, and striped bass, and alleviated flooding in nearby communities. In addition, the remnants of an abandoned railroad bridge were removed, an 800-foot length of stream channel was realigned, and approximately 10 acres of riparian habitat was restored. The riparian restoration included stabilizing the banks with boulders, rocks, and coconut fiber coir logs, and reintroducing native plants through a combination of wetland and meadow seeding, and planting shrubs and trees. For several years after the project, the fish community was monitored and the restored riparian zone was maintained to control invasive species. This $1.6 million restoration project was primarily funded by the M/T Athos I oil spill settlement, with additional funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's (PA DEP) Growing Greener Plus Grants Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

Restoration Land Ownership


Parties Implementing Restoration

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

DOI Project Representatives

Fish and Wildlife Service

Representatives of the M/T Athos I Oil Spill Trustee Council standing on the remnants of a dam to view the rerouted channel in Darby Creek., Credit: NOAA

Before (left) and after (right) photos of Darby Creek where the Kent Park Dam was removed and the shoreline was restored. This project was primarily funded by the M/T Athos I oil spill settlement., Credit: American Rivers

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Restoration Documents

Document NameDocument Date
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Map View


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