ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Excavation crews removed a low-head dam on Cedar Creek at the Mackel Nature Preserve on Thursday morning.

The group responsible for the dam’s removal is ACRES Land Trust, a non-profit that focuses on land preservation in northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio and southern Michigan.

Prior to Thursday’s removal, the dam created a strong current that was nearly impossible to escape. As a result, it presented a safety hazard for paddlers and children. While there are not any known injuries or deaths from the Cedar Creek low-head dam, ACRES Executive Director Jason Kissel says similar structures have caused problems around the state.

“Low-head dams across the state have killed several Hoosiers, they get caught up in the undertow,” Kissel said.

A look before and after part of the low-head dam was removed near the Mackel Nature Preserve

Kissel adds the dam has been present for decades, perhaps being built as early as the late 19th century. While this project has been on the radar for a few years, Kissel and ACRES were only able to act this year after obtaining permits and confirming that the excavation will not cause more harm.

Along with improving safety, removing the dam opens fish passageways while allowing the stream to flow uninhibited.

Thursday’s excavation is expected to last all day.