What's a Weir?

Bosher Dam near Bon Air in Richmond was the first large multipurpose dam in Virginia, built in 1835 as part of the Kanawha Canal system meant to help navigate the rocky rapids of Richmond. Located just west of The Willey Bridge it is a lowhead dam, also called a weir, and what paddlers ruefully call a "drowning machine." This 12-foot-high stone structure spans the entire river and you can see it as you drive over the Willey bridge today. In recent years, hundreds of these lowhead dams have been removed from American rivers in an effort to restore the traditional spawning grounds of native fish, with notable nearby dam removals occurring in Charlottesville and Fredericksburg.

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