Tag Archive for 'dam removal'

Learning from Elwha: Mistakes of the Past are Lessons for the Future

“This weekend was a big milestone for the environment. The Department of the Interior officially began the nation’s largest river restoration project on the Elwha River in Washington’s Olympic National Park with the removal of the Glines Canyon and Elwha dams. When the dams on the Elwha River were created 100 years ago, its builders cut corners by neither building fish passages nor securing the dams to bedrock, which caused significant long term damage to the surrounding ecosystems, from the river to the estuary to the coast.

“The Elwha River Restoration Project is of great interest to active members of the conservation and fishery communities and local residents who have been advocating for the dam’s removal for many years. Not only will the dam removal provide substantial economic benefit, the environmental impact of removing it is profound. Sediment will be redistributed, waterways will be restored, and five salmon species are expected to return to their natural migration route that has been dormant since the dams were erected in 1911. The project also provides a tremendous educational opportunity for the next generation to learn from the past by providing a clear picture of how our actions impact the environment.”

Read more: Huffington Post

Contract to Study Dam Removal Close

The rain-swollen Exeter River roars past the Great Dam after several days of hard rain in the Seacoast in March 2010. Photo retrieved from: www.seacoastonline.com

“EXETER — Town officials continue to negotiate with a consulting firm with an eye toward conducting a feasibility study into the possible removal of Great Dam.

“We’re working on a contract, it’s not quite ready yet,” said town engineer Paul Vlasich. “We’re pretty close but have a few issues to iron out.”

Vlasich said he hopes to have something finalized within the next week or so.

Once a contract with a consultant is finalized, it would go to the Board of Selectmen for final approval.

If approved, the feasibility study could begin fairly quickly after, Vlasich said.

The study could take anywhere from a year to a year and a half to complete, according to Vlasich.

Vlasich said he would have a better idea of the study’s schedule once the consultant contract is finalized.

The town recently applied for a grant through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to help fund the study after learning it would need an additional $8,500 in funds.

The funding limit for the grant the town applied for is $20,000.

The town would like to use any funding it gets to fund some concept drawings of how the river would look if the dam were removed.

Voters approved a warrant article in March 2010 to spend $100,000 for the purpose of studying the feasibility of removing the Great Dam, and approved of acceptance of a watershed assistance grant in the amount of $60,000 from the N.H. Department of Environmental Services (DES) to offset the total.

The feasibility study will provide town officials and voters with further information as they consider potential dam modifications or removal.

Either option will need to be completed in the future as the dam does not meet state safety requirements for passing flood flows and is listed as deficient by the state.”

Read more: Seacoastonline.com


Congressman tries to cut dam removal study

Photo retrieved from: ConservationAlliance.com

“GRANTS PASS, Ore.—A California congressman tried Thursday to block removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River by eliminating funding for a key study.

“In Washington, D.C., Republican U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock succeeded in putting an amendment into the House continuing resolution Wednesday that cut $1.9 million from the Department of the Interior budget for the rest of this year.

“McClintock planned to offer a second amendment Thursday to specifically target the study being done so that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar can decide whether to go ahead with removing the dams as part of a landmark agreement to open hundreds of miles of spawning habitat for struggling salmon blocked for a century, assure water for farmers on a federal irrigation project, and restore the ecology of the Klamath Basin.

“At a time we can’t guarantee enough electricity to keep people’s air conditioning going, the idea of tearing down four perfectly good hydroelectric dams turning out 155 megawatts of power . is insane,” McClintock told The Associated Press from Washington, D.C.”

read more: Silicon Valley Mercury News

The River Wild

WET BUT NOT SO WILD The Ballardvale and other dams on the Shawsheen have been considered for removal so the river can be restored to its natural state. (Photograph by Matt Kalinowski, Boston Globe)

“According to a national inventory maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, there are about 79,000 dams in the United States. But that number is a gross underrepresentation, since the Corps counts only dams that are at least 25 feet high, hold more than 50 acre-feet of water – enough to flood 50 acres with a foot of water – or are considered a significant hazard if they fail. In fact, says Tom Ardito, president of the nonprofit Center for Ecosystem Restoration in Saunderstown, Rhode Island, “virtually every river and tributary in the country is dammed.”

“In Massachusetts, the Corps counts 1,602 dams, more than twice as many as in any other New England state. But the Commonwealth’s Office of Dam Safety logs nearly 3,000, and American Rivers, a national nonprofit dedicated to protection and restoration, believes even that number to be at least 25 percent too low. The vast majority of these dams were erected prior to 1910 and used to power businesses that no longer exist.

“Whatever the exact number, it’s likely to shrink by at least two this year. In Andover, feasibility and design studies are underway for taking down two of the three dams on Rauseo’s list, the Balmoral and the Marland. The removal project has been designated a priority project by the state’s Division of Ecological Restoration. (A third dam in town, the Ballardvale, has been looked at for eventual removal, too.) “The dams don’t serve a purpose anymore,” says Rauseo. “They’re just relics.”

read more: The Boston Globe

Communities Improving Public Safety through River Restoration

“American Rivers today released the new film, “Restoring America’s Rivers: Preparing for the Future,” which tells the inspiring story of how community leaders around the country are improving public safety and solving problems like flooding by restoring rivers and working with nature, not against it.

“The film examines four communities in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington where dams are being removed and levees set back in an effort to restore floodplains and give rivers room to spread out, while making communities safer and more resilient to weather extremes, and restoring vital habitat for fish and wildlife.

“These communities realized that the best, most cost-effective way to reduce flood damage and improve public safety was to remove outdated dams and restore the rivers,” said Serena McClain, associate director of river restoration for American Rivers. “Our goal is for every mayor in the country to see this film. We hope the stories will spur them to explore river restoration in their own communities.”

read more: American Rivers