The Friends of the Mahoning River work with communities to obtain funding in order to remove the remaining dams along the river. Where the intended use of these dams are no longer in need, they do more harm than good. The most obvious impact that a dam has on fish is that it obstructs migration. Water quality directly behind dams is also affected, because they tend to collect pollutants along with sediment, which must be released and controlled in some way. It is necessary to remove not only the structure but the contaminated sediment behind it.

The safe use of canoes and kayaks are greatly enhanced by the removal of these dams. We hope to utilize our river system as a conduit between valley communities. Someday partnering hike and bike trails along with water trails.

We were successful in helping the community of Lowellville in obtaining a 2.4 million Ohio Environmental Protection Agency grant to remove the dam on First street and 20,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment behind it. We helped organize a letter writing campaign which included posters and letters from grade school students. The number of letters submitted for the grant was reported to be greater than any previous initiative.