BALTIMORE (AP) — A Maryland dam that blocked wildlife habitats and created unsafe swimming conditions for more than a century will be removed.

News outlets reported Wednesday that an initial blast of explosives will be used to breach the Bloede Dam. Planning for its removal began in 2011, but Patapsco River advocates have been pushing for it since as early as 2006.

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The former hydroelectric station that straddles Baltimore and Howard counties was on the cutting edge of electricity production when it open in 1907. But its technology became obsolete and it went out of service. It has become a public safety hazard, with at least nine people dying there in recent decades.

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Ecologists hope its removal will open miles of the river and its tributaries for species to escape predators and find more food sources.

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