Concern Rises Over Dam Safety

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With warm weather on the horizon, concern is rising over boater activity around a low-head dam on Cypress Creek in Florence. Engineering work to re-design the dam is underway, but city leaders say they want to get the word out to stay away from the dam, at least for now.

On most days, the water that flows over the Cypress Creek dam seems relatively calm. But just as the weather can change quickly, so does the water. Lauderdale County EMA Director George Grabryan says for in-experienced boaters and kayakers, that change can be deadly, “If the creeks are high, you need to stay out of that area. I know it may seem fun, but when something goes wrong, a lot of times it goes tragically wrong.”

After recent drowning’s at the dam by boaters, city leaders in Florence gave the go ahead to re-design the water flow over the dam on cypress creek. According to Spokesperson for the City of Florence Phil Stevenson, “Even though we have signs and we encourage portage around the dam, it just seems like there are those that want to ride over it. So we have got to do something about it.”

However city leaders say that the design process will take months for engineering and permit work to be completed. In the mean-time, emergency personnel are asking boaters to use caution around the low-head dam on Cypress, it could save their life. “If you apply common sense, and knowing what you are truly capable of, not what you think you’re capable of, that will really make a difference for you,” says Grabryan.

Director Grabryan says to always wear a life jacket while paddling any water way, and a helmet is not a bad idea either if you’re on a creek.

Florence city leaders are asking all boaters to use the walk around located at the dam until after work can be done to improve safety there. No word on when that will take place.

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