DAM REMOVAL
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Learn more about dam removal in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation.

DOE, Fish & Wildlife, DNR, and WA Salmon Recovery Board on Enloe Dam

"Leaving the dam in place is the status quo and requires OPUD to be responsible for the ongoing cost and liability of safely managing the dam. To date, OPUD has demonstrated the ability and provided resources to do this.

 

Although leaving the dam in place would avoid a substantial investment in dam removal, the structure is a barrier to habitat connectivity in and along the river. This includes blocking the passage of fish, such as Upper Columbia Spring Chinook salmon and steelhead, listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act."

Other successes-Middle Fork Diversion Dam removal

"While we saw a conservation opportunity, the Tribes saw the river itself as a bridge to their ancestors. The Middle Fork Nooksack (Nuxwt’iqw’em) and its salmon relatives are a significant part of their cultural identity, and the river is recognized as a Traditional Cultural Property.

 

Removing the dam would open more than 26 miles of habitat for threatened salmon, steelhead, and bull trout but would also be a healing act for the river itself.

...The Middle Fork Nooksack is indeed a spectacular setting for whitewater kayakers, salmon and steelhead, and the people of the Nooksack Indian Tribe and Lummi Nation who have depended on the resources this river provides since time immemorial. "

Other Successes- condit dam REmoval

"In 2011, the massive 125-foot tall Condit Dam was removed from the waters of the White Salmon River. After more than one hundred years, the river came back to life as fish regained access to 18 miles of upstream habitat and spawning grounds, ecosystems flourished, and people flocked to boat and fish on the newly free-flowing river.

The free-flowing river is now a destination spot for whitewater kayakers and boaters to come paddle the entire stretch of the White Salmon, and recreational fishers are frequently spotted casting a line.

PacifiCorp partnered with the Yakama tribe to restore a 2.8 acre plot with native and culturally significant plant species."

1797 Dams removed since 1912

In addition to enhancing public safety and recreation, and restoring river ecology, dam removal also revitalizes floodplains and marshes adjacent to rivers, which are among the most biologically diverse habitats anywhere.

 

These areas not only promote biological diversity, but they also reduce downstream flooding, filter out excess nutrients and recharge groundwater, according to American River.

Other successes-Bloede Dam Removal

Project partners call Bloede Dam “one of the most important dam removal projects in the Mid-Atlantic.” It has served no functional purpose since 1932, when the Ambursen Hydraulic Construction Company stopped generating hydropower.

“The Patapsco River is free, after years of hard work by so many. It’s wonderful to see the Patapsco rushing back to life, and to watch park visitors discover and enjoy the free-flowing river,” said Serena McClain, project manager and director of river restoration for American Rivers.

Other successes- Elwah dam REmoval

"The Elwha River is transitioning from its dam-bound era to a river wild and free. The river was significantly altered by the dams, and biologists predict that it will take at least a generation—if not more—to recover.

 

Scientists are continuously watching, measuring, monitoring and evaluating changes in an effort to better understand the mechanisms of river evolution. It is rare to get to watch a river reborn, and what we learn from the Elwha River Restoration Project will help to inform future dam removal projects and restoration strategies."

Fish & Wildlife on Dam Removal

"We must remember that the long-term health of our rivers is in everyone’s best interest. To take our rivers for granted is to risk the quality and quantity of our water and to endanger some of our most beautiful natural places.

 

When a dam no longer serves its intended purpose, removing it provides an opportunity for us to return a river to its original state, where natural systems are allowed to work without barriers."

Other successes-
Clark Fork Dam removal

Reconnecting the river at this scale has tremendous benefits for fish, especially our native trout species that depend on cold, clean and connected waterways.

 

The newly restored confluence also offers tremendous recreational benefits for anglers, birders, boaters, and swimmers. Milltown State Park is almost complete, and will include walking trails, fishing access, picnic shelters and much more."

Other Successes- Edwards dam REmoval

"The removal of Edwards Dam in July 1999 turned out to be a chance for Augusta to rebuild its relationship to the river....

 

...Overall there’s been a shift in public thinking about dams over the past two decades. “It’s not just something that conservationists and environmentalists are advocating for anymore,” says Amy Souers Kober, communications director at American Rivers. “Dam removal also makes sense for economic reasons and public safety in a lot of cases.”

Other successes-Milltown Dam Removal

"The removal of Milltown Dam at the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot rivers near Missoula is one of the West’s greatest restoration successes stories. The Coalition spearheaded the decades-long, collaborative effort to list the Clark Fork River as a Superfund site, clean up a century’s worth of mine waste, remove the dam, and reunite two great rivers. 

 

Results: The former dam and reservoir area is now a restored floodplain, and the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot is open for fish to migrate and for people to enjoy."

"Removing Maryland’s Bloede Dam was a moral obligation"

In addition to enhancing public safety and recreation, and restoring river ecology, dam removal also revitalizes floodplains and marshes adjacent to rivers, which are among the most biologically diverse habitats anywhere.

 

These areas not only promote biological diversity, but they also reduce downstream flooding, filter out excess nutrients and recharge groundwater, according to American River.

In progress- Klamath Dams REmoval

After years of negotiations and agreements, roadblocks, renegotiations, and new agreements, dam removal on the Klamath River is closer than ever to becoming a reality. With almost all the bureaucratic hurdles overcome, four of the six dams on the Klamath are slated to be removed by 2024, restoring fish access to the entire river.

If carried out as planned, it will be the largest dam removal project in the history of the United States, opening up 400 river-miles of habitat to salmon, trout, and eels, for the first time in decades.