The water level in the Conewango Creek is down a little more than three feet.
The creek upstream from the low-head dam has receded, leaving waterfront residents with from a few feet to 50 feet of new property.
As the water receded, thousands of mussels faced drying up along the new banks if not for the efforts of a handful of people.
Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry
Crews from Keith White Excavating and Black and Blue Services work on removing more of the Conewango Creek low-head dam on Friday.
Officials from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission headed up the three-day effort to rescue the many freshwater mussels that would be stranded by the dam removal project.
Joining commission officers were agents of the Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Forest Service, and volunteers from the community at large and teachers and students from Beaty-Warren Middle School.
The commission's Chief of the Natural Diversity Section Chris Urban said Wednesday he expected to have to move at least 1,000 mussels left high and dry by the work.
Kristen Giger of the Forest Service said the three-day total was closer to 7,000 mussels.
Although the federally listed endangered Northern riffleshell mussel was not expected to be abundant in the pool above the dam, the possibility that they could be there contributed to the decision to send a team to rescue the invertebrates.
The shear number of mussels and the diversity of the population probably would have been enough to justify the team, according to Urban.
No federally endangered species were found on the first day of the rescue operation according to mussel biologist Nevin Welte.
However, a few Northern riffleshells were found on both Thursday and Friday, according to Giger.
The creatures were moved to locations several miles upstream that were scouted by commission experts and determined to be good habitats for the various species.
The mussels can move very slowly. Any that were not rescued and are close to the water may survive.
The mussels that were still underwater on Friday are in pretty good shape.
According to DEP officials Dan Brickley and Fred Perry, the water had probably reached its new flow level by Friday afternoon.
"It's stabilized upstream and down," Perry said.
He said he does not expect any increase in erosion of properties along the creek due to the removal of the dam. "I don't think the velocities here will create more erosion."
Questions about the new course the creek and the vegetation that will grow along it take may take some time to answer. "It's going to go back to it's natural state like the dam was never here," Brickley said. "Nature will take its course."
Although the breaching of the dam took a little longer than expected, that could have been a good thing, according to Perry. "The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is real happy with the way it went down slow," he said of the water level in the pool.
The slow drop allowed mussel hunters to search systematically without too much overlap in coverage.