Union City Dam
DESCRIPTION: The Union City Dam was completed in 1971 by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Its 1,430 foot length spans the full width of French Creek and serves to protect areas downstream from excessive flooding during times of heavy melt, runoff, and rainfall. In summer the spillway channel at the northwest end of the dam supports a breeding colony of about 35 pairs of Rough-winged Swallows. The birds utilize the weep-holes in the channel's steep walls for nesting cavities. Grassy hillsides along the creek and stands of mature mixed and deciduous woods provide a variety of habitats for common breeding birds-Indigo Bunting, Field and Savannah Sparrow, Gray Catbird, Rufous-sided Towhee, Eastern Wood Pewee, and Yellow Warbler. Upstream from the dam to the north, low-lying farmlands in the French Creek valley are dry for the better part of the year. However, at times of heavy rainfall or runoff, they become giant catch-basins for the waters drained from a 200 square mile area. These lands are completely submerged for short periods. When high, floodwaters extend upstream for five miles or so to an area southwest of Wattsburg locally called Baldwin Flats. Ideally, flooding coincides with the peak of northern flights of waterfowl in the early spring. Most species which migrate through Erie County can be found on these floodwaters. Tundra Swans, Canada Geese, and several varieties of puddle ducks are often common where they find food plentiful along the flooded cornfields in the valley. Diving ducks, loons, and grebes also use these waters as a stopover, but are generally less abundant. Waterfowl can best be seen from the dam itself, from the Wattsb urg -Waterford Road, from Baldwin Flats, or from the northeastern section of Middleton Road. Middleton once continued from Route 97 and connected west-east to Kimball Hill Road (see dotted line on map). With the construction of the dam both sections dead-end. They are usually not passable by car. Baldwin Flats can be observed with a spotting scope from Route 8 and from Arbuckle. Fluctuating water levels at the dam support many species of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife.

DIRECTIONS: Union City Dam can be reached from Route 97 four miles east of the intersection of Routes 97 and 19 south of Waterford or two miles west of the intersection of Routes 97 and 8 in Union City. It is located on Middleton Road, a north-south dirt road (currently unmarked) which meets Route 97 just east of French Creek. The dam entrance is approximately one mile north of Route 97 on Middleton.


Maps - other than Google (Click on map for larger view)



Posted: 2009-10-24 00:00:00