A healthy river provides nourishment to the land, wildlife and people of the surrounding communities. Rivers that are able to flow freely will thrive and allow other aspects of life to thrive as well. For example, property value, recreational activities and local businesses all benefit from a healthy, flowing river.
Dams and other man-made structures interrupt the natural functions of rivers. Dams can harm not only water quality and opportunities for recreation on a river, but are often times detrimental to fish and wildlife. There are about 75,000 old, unused dams in the United States. The effect of these dams on the surrounding environments is devastating.
The good news is that the concern of rivers being obstructed has caught National attention. The process of removing dams has been slow; lots of governmental red tape and protests from people who wonder why you would want to remove a perfectly good dam. Fortunately, our rivers have some powerful organizations looking out for their best interest. In fact, in 2011 an astonishing 1,000 dams had already been demolished, unleashing the water that was meant to flow!
In his essay “The Dawn of Dam Removal”, Bruce Babbitt writes that “in the space of two decades, dam removal has evolved from a novelty to an accepted means of river restoration.” This is great news for the many communities who need and want to rediscover their rivers. It’s also great news for the fish and wildlife that once occupied these old riverbeds. Salmon that have been gone from rivers for hundreds of years are returning to their spawning runs!
Dam removal has become a top priority for American Rivers, an organization focused on protecting and restoring our rivers. American Rivers believes that “removing outdated or obsolete dams can bring significant benefits to communities, including public safety, clean water, flood protection, wildlife, recreation, and jobs.” We agree!
Check out American Rivers to learn more about how a healthy river is beneficial to everyone. American Rivers is focused on setting up future generations with a better way of life.
We feel it’s important to be educated about human impact on our planet. Dams are only a smart part of the impact man has made. We hope you’ll take some time to learn about all of the efforts being put into restoring our rivers to their natural state. If you feel the call to help, please make a donation to American Rivers to assist in their continuing hard work.
“A river without dams will always be healthier than the same river with dams.” –American Rivers
Watch this amazing video of the White Salmon River Dam Removal.