HomeArticlesThis organisation is removing dams and restoring rivers | Pioneers For Our Planet
This organisation is removing dams and restoring rivers | Pioneers For Our Planet
December 20, 2019
I don’t think we grow up understanding and even knowing what a healthy river is supposed to look like We’ve channelled and diverted and dammed our rivers so many times in so many ways the definition of a river is that it flows. When you think about all the things that healthy rivers give us, we can’t survive without them. Rivers are the veins and arteries of our planet and so if you build a dam, if they’re clogged if we’re stopping that river’s flow, that has all kinds of consequences and all kinds of impacts upstream and downstream. Dams were built and are built for a variety of reasons to produce hydropower, to generate electricity for flood control, to make the river navigable The problem is that we’ve built way too many. We really overbuilt and we’ve built dams in places we never should have built them. The Pacific Northwest has some of the most spectacular rivers that you’ll see anywhere rivers that are home to incredible migrations of salmon they define us they are part of our identity and we feel really strongly about making sure that they stay that way that they stay clean and free-flowing for future generations. The Elwha River is one of the country’s best river success stories. Two dams were removed from the Elwha about five years ago a lot of the river is protected so when you took the dams away we really were able to let a river be wild again. When the dams were still there I was able to stand on the top and see the salmon they were still after a hundred years trying to get back upstream so now the dams are gone and it’s just transforming that entire river. There’s a lot of opportunity to take down dams that no longer serve any purpose that are outdated, that are unsafe that are causing undue harm to the environment, to water quality to fish and wildlife. We need to celebrate every single one of these dam removals because every single project is the result of partnership and collaboration and of this desire to bring back something very special whether it’s fisheries or clean water or all the things that rivers give us. If we can give rivers some room to do their thing that will lead to a healthier system for not only the river but for people too.