Damn Dams: How the Pacific Northwest is Getting Progressive



It was announced in 2015 that the removal of three major dams in Washington and Oregon would be taking place by 2020. These dams were once massive generators of energy for the surrounding regions, but have long since been abandoned or downsized. Their primary function now is to block the natural stream of salmon that run these stretches of river and increase risks of major floods. Fortunately, this is changing. 

Phillip Rigdon, deputy director of natural resources for the Yakima region, commented on the progress: "We want to return to serving as stewards of the land". Many others in the Pacific Northwest area have taken a similar initiative. In 2015, a dam in White Salmon, WA was completely taken down. If you'd like to see a video of the dam being destroyed, see below. Although concrete and steel still remain in the watershed, the river will naturally clean itself of these materials over time. 


Michael Scott, acting director of the environment program, believes that removal of such dams will actually increase a watershed's resilience. He explains that pooling of water from dams allows for more concentrated contaminants, and also causes a higher rate of evaporation which weakens the body of water. He believes that these dam removals are only the beginning, and hopes that the effort forms into more of a community than just a series of projects.

Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/11/dam-removal-nelson-dam-matiliha-rogue-river-hewlett-foundation-open-rivers/