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Dillsboro Dam coming down

In a somewhat rare move for North Carolina, construction crews have begun the careful dismantling of a hundred-year-old dam on the Tuckasegee River west of Asheville. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: The Dillsboro Dam was built in 1913 and belongs to Duke Energy. But at just 12 feet high, it's one of Duke's smallest dams and the company no longer uses it to generate electricity. This week, Duke Energy workers will start slowly tearing down the dam so that section of the Tuckasegee River can flow freely again. U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Mark Cantrell says that should help several species of fish at risk of becoming endangered. "One of the things that we're most excited about is that by removing the Dillsboro Dam, the sicklefin redhorse will have access to another 10 miles of river - mainstem Tuckasegee River - above the dam," says Cantrell. In addition to restoring the habitat, Duke Energy spokesman Fred Alexander says the dam's removal will let the company funnel more water to create power at six larger, more efficient hydropower dams elsewhere on the river. The Jackson County Commission tried for several years to block the dam's removal in court. They hoped to take over the dam and use it to create electricity for the town of Dillsboro. They also say local businesses will suffer if the attraction of the historic dam and reservoir are removed.