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“DamNation” Film Wins Enviro Prize and Shines Light on Dam Removal

“Dams represented a pivotal part of U.S. development, but like many things we took it too far,” Ben Knight says in the new documentary film DamNation. Knight narrated, edited, and co-directed the film, which takes a provocative look at the recent movement to remove old and outdated dams, to restore natural river systems. Produced by…

A Favorite Massachusetts Stream Loses a Dam – and Gains Aquatic Habitat

In early January, on a visit back to my old stomping grounds in western Massachusetts, I trekked along the snowy banks of Amethyst Brook, a beautiful headwater tributary in the Connecticut River watershed. My mission was to see the site of a dam removed in late 2012. I’d hiked through this area in the towns…

51 Dams Removed to Restore Rivers in 2013

Communities in 18 states, working in partnership with non-profit organizations and state and federal agencies, removed 51 dams in 2013. Outdated or unsafe dams came out of rivers in Alabama, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, restoring more than 500…

Removal of Veazie Dam Begins on Maine’s Penobscot River

Today is a big day for dam removal and river restoration. Removal of the Veazie Dam begins on Maine’s Penobscot River – one of the most significant river restoration projects in our country, and a wonderful example of collaboration and “win-win” solutions for the environment and economy. Because of the threats from existing or proposed…

Fish, Frogs, and People to Benefit from Biggest Dam-Removal Project in California History

Today marks a historic event for California rivers: the launch of the biggest dam removal project in state history. Over the next 28 months, the beautiful Carmel River will be set free to flow more naturally for 70 percent of its length as the 106-foot (32.3 meter) San Clemente Dam is dismantled. Downstream of the…

65 Dams Removed to Restore Rivers in 2012

From Amethyst Brook in Massachusetts to Wychus Creek in Oregon, communities in 19 states restored 400 miles of rivers and streams by removing 65 dams in 2012. American Rivers announced the annual dam removal list today, bring the total for U.S. dam removals up to nearly 1,100. Last year, outdated or unsafe dams came out…

Discovering the New White Salmon River: Paddling Through the Old Condit Dam Site

  There is a giant basalt rock just downstream of the former site of Condit Dam on Washington’s White Salmon River. When the dynamite blasted a hole in the base of the dam last October, I watched the flood of mud and reservoir water explode through the breach. I remember thinking, that rock has been…

Salmon Re-enter Olympic National Park River Thanks to Elwha Dam Removal

  Updated August 28, 2012 at 11 am The National Park Service reported this week that adult Chinook (king) salmon have been seen in the Elwha River in Olympic National Park, less than five months after removal began on the Elwha Dam. According to the Park Service, the fish are the first of their kind…

Dam Removal Begins on Maine’s Penobscot River to Revive Historic Salmon Runs

The dams will fall and the salmon will rise. That may sound like prophesy, but it’s as certain as scientific predictions get these days, particularly in matters of ecological restoration. Yesterday, demolition of the Great Works Dam began on the Penobscot River in Maine.  Another dam, the Veazie, will come down next summer.  With the…

Rivers Can Heal–When Given a Chance

The Kennebec River, which drains about one-fifth of the state of Maine, once teemed with fish. Huge numbers of Atlantic salmon, striped bass, alewife, American shad, and five other fish species migrated from the Atlantic Ocean up the Kennebec to spawn (see Maine map). One fishing boat that headed out from Augusta in 1822 reportedly…