High Falls Dam Removal

We are working to increase ecological diversity and outdoor recreation opportunities in North Carolina

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High Falls, located in northern Moore County near the town of Robbins NC, is the site of a low hazard, run-of-river hydroelectric dam that no longer produces electricity.

The dam artificially impounds the Deep River for about three miles upstream, blocks movement of fish and other aquatic wildlife, and prevents the river's natural flow. The opportunity to remove the dam came about in 2018 with an initial grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to increase and connect habitat for the Cape Fear Shiner, a federally endangered species of fish.

Today, multiple stakeholders are working to turn High Falls into a treasured public asset. Removing the dam at High Falls is the first and most critical step in this process.


Miles of River Restoration


Federally Endangered Species Supported


Miles of Upstream Aquatic Network Reconnected

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  • Removal of High Falls Dam will restore natural flow and lotic habitat for nearly three miles of the Deep River in North Carolina.
  • Natural river flow allows sediment to move downstream naturally, which supports downstream habitat and nutrient cycling.
  • Native species will also be planted at the project site to help stabilize the streambank and reestablish a forest canopy.

Natural River Flow

Healthy Habitats

Sediment Transport

Native Species

high falls dam removal deep river nc
high falls dam removal deep river nc


This project will restore and reconnect habitat for the federally-endangered Cape Fear Shiner and the federally-threatened Atlantic Pigtoe.

In addition, the restoration of the natural river flow and depth will expand habitat for numerous state-listed aquatic species.

Cape Fear Shiner

Atlantic Pigtoe

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Project Gallery

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IMG_9524The High Falls Dam Removal Project

High Falls Dam is an 800-foot-wide run of river dam located on the Deep River in Moore County, NC. An old mill dam, it was eventually converted into a hydroelectric dam and produced power until 2018.  During 2018, a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation was awarded to complete the environmental, engineering, and construction related components of dam removal. An extensive permitting and design phase is currently ongoing supporting future removal of the dam. 

UP2S is currently working with local representatives, the NC Department of Wildlife Resources, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, and the US Fish and Wildlife Services to find a comprehensive solution for increasing both ecological diversity and potential local recreational access/opportunities.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service designated sections of the Deep River upstream and downstream from High Falls Dam as Critical Habitat for the Cape Fear Shiner, a federally listed endangered species. The non-impounded sections of the Deep River exhibit high-quality riverine habitat that supports a diverse collection of aquatic species including the Cape Fear Shiner and other species of concern.

The dam represented a significant blockage to fish migration and as a result, USFWS has documented declines in the disconnected population upstream of the dam. Unique Places to Save understands that removal of the blockage created by the dam to provide access to these high-quality reaches is a substantial long-term benefit to these aquatic communities.

Project Partners
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
  • North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
  • American Rivers & Grant Team
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government or American Rivers and its funding sources. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government, or American Rivers or its funding sources. 

Explore This Project

From the history of the site to a vision for the future, visit our High Falls Story Map to learn more about this project

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