This Will Be the Biggest Dam-Removal Project in History

National Geographic, April 11, 2016, By Sarah Gilman

"Glen Canyon Dam began its life with an explosion. Congress authorized the dam’s construction on this day in 1956, and about seven months later, then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower pressed a telegraph key in the Oval Office, sending the signal to blast a string of dynamite wedged in the side of a sinuous canyon. Boulders sprayed through the air at Arizona’s northern border, and workers began drilling a tunnel to temporarily redirect the flow of the Colorado River while they built the base of the dam.

Monstrous Lake Powell filled in behind the 710-foot dam, drowning Glen Canyon’s otherworldly red-rock amphitheaters and slot canyons under its silty depths.

These days, when dams in the U.S. make news, it’s often concrete getting blasted, not bedrock. And last week, the biggest dam-removal project in history got a crucial endorsement.

Federal officials, the states of Oregon and California, and the utility PacifiCorp signed a pair of agreements opening the way for removal of a whopping four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, which flows from Oregon through Northern California.

'It’s certainly the most significant dam removal and restoration project ever undertaken,' says Steve Rothert, California regional director of American Rivers, an environmental advocacy group.

Nationwide, more than 1,300 dams have been removed as of 2015. The Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams were blown out of Washington’s Elwha River between 2011 and 2014. Between 2011 and 2012, the Condit Dam vanished from the state’s White Salmon River.

Such projects allow backed-up rivers and the fisheries they once supported to be reborn. They reflect a broader shift in the way Americans relate to rivers, seeing them as more than just workhorses for hydropower, agriculture, and economic growth. ..."

Read more and WATCH clip of DamNation: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160411-klamath-glen-canyon-dam-removal-video-anniversary

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Free The Snake Flotilla

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Those Dammed Salmon – Set them Free!

The Huffington Post, September 8, 2015, By Leda Huta

"So... I was not anticipating being so touched by a movie about dams. How moving could that possibly be?

Very moving, as it turns out. The people behind Stoecker Ecological, Felt Soul Media and Patagonia knew what they were doing when they made DamNation. If you haven't seen it, set aside an evening very soon, ... pop some popcorn, and gather the kids around – yes, even the kids. The movie is that good.

There was a time when talking about dam removal was something that mainstream conservationists would do only behind closed doors. It seemed too big, too 'out there.'

But as economics, science, and data have overwhelmingly shown us recently, there are a lot of dams that are obsolete today, and yes, even harmful. Harmful not just to fish, but to species such as orca, who rely on salmon, and to humans, who have lost whole fishing communities, and to the businesses built around the fishing communities, and to tribes that lost parts of their culture – all hurt by dams. Guess how many dams there are in the United States? Seriously, don't Google it; guess. No, it's higher than that. (Keep reading.)

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Free the Snake: Restoring America’s Greatest Salmon River

Published on June 30, 2015, By Patagonia via YouTube

Snake River Salmon have been trucked, put on barges, diverted up fish ladders—all in the hope that enough would get by four dams to reach their historic habitat in numbers that would assure their future. It’s not working: It’s time to breach the dams and reconnect wild salmon to this important watershed. http://www.patagonia.com/us/the-new-localism/DamNation

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Rivers Recover Rapidly Once Dams Are Gone, Study Finds

Oregon Public Broadcasting, April 30, 2015, by Cassandra Profita

"A new study sums up what scientists now know about the environmental effects of removing dams from rivers.

It concludes that rivers and fish respond quickly after a dam is removed, and the results are mostly positive. ...

Rivers often disperse the extra sediment from behind a dam within weeks or months of dam removal, the study finds. Migratory fish move swiftly to recolonize newly accessible habitat – at times swimming past the former dam site within a matter of days.

The research, published Thursday in the journal Science, compiles the findings of more than a hundred studies on individual dam removals."


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DamNation Petition Delivery to the White House

YouTube.com, April 22, 2015, By Patagonia

Recently, a small team representing you – our supporters – and the entire Patagonia family delivered a petition containing more than 70,000 signatures to President Obama and his top environmental advisers. The petition brought together activist voices from all 50 states and 60 countries asking President Obama to crack down on deadbeat dams – starting by finding a path to remove four harmful dams on the nation’s most important salmon river, the lower Snake, and begin the biggest watershed restoration project in history.

We made a short film to thank you for your help in working to tear down deadbeat dams on the Snake River and around the world. This film celebrates the success of our campaign so far – including the moment we handed over your signature to President Obama’s team.

DamNation has brought dam removal as a tool for river restoration to broad, new audiences, won several major awards, attracted international media coverage, and moved citizens to act all over the world. Decision makers in DC are starting to pay attention, and now we’re turning our attention to encourage Washington State officials to back the plan to remove the problematic lower four Snake River dams.

This is a good moment to celebrate the ongoing work of thousands of activists to remove low value, high cost dams in communities around the country – and remind ourselves how much more work there is to do! Thank you for your continued support. Learn more at http://damnationfilm.com.


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DamNation: Whole Terrain interviews documentary filmmaker Travis Rummel

Whole Terrain, March 31, 2015, By Cherice Bock

"WT: If you could have your way, would you remove every dam in the United States, or do you think there’s a place for some hydroelectric power generation and other uses for dams?

Travis Rummel: One misconception that everyone seems to have is that all dams produce hydropower, but only 4-5% generate hydro power. On the policy front, in the film we’re not advocating the removal of every single dam, but we point out that each dam has a finite lifespan. Lots of dams have outlived their utility. We’re asking people to rethink the utility of each dam, and to compare the ecosystem-wide cost of having them there, the ongoing costs for repairing them, and the cost/benefit for removing them.

In many ways, this is a generational issue. There was a huge patriotic movement in the 1940-1960’s to conquer nature and have nature work for us. The younger generations see the possibilities with taking them out, and the huge benefits that come with systemic habitat restoration. ..."

To read the interview: http://wholeterrain.com/2015/03/damnation-documentary/

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One Year Later, Filmmakers Find Dam Removal Has Captured the Public’s Imagination

Beyond the Edge: National Geographic Adventure Blog, February 3, 2015, By Michelle Nijhuis

A year after their award-winning film came out, the DamNation filmmakers share a look at the growing public support for “deadbeat” dam removal in the U.S.

This past summer, a demolition crew used a battery of explosives to destroy the last section of the 210-foot-tall Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River in northwestern Washington state. The blasts completed the largest dam-removal project in history, and they were a milestone for a movement: for 20 years, conservationists have campaigned to remove outdated and ecologically destructive dams from U.S. rivers. Many of the 1,185 dams removed so far are small—some less than 10 feet high—but the successful removal of large dams like Glines Canyon have bolstered the movement’s confidence and increased its ambitions. (Find out about the dams removed or blown up in the U.S. in 2014.)

Filmmakers Travis Rummel and Matt Stoecker, along with their colleague Ben Knight, chronicled this movement in their acclaimed 2014 documentary DamNation (Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the outdoor apparel company Patagonia, is the film’s executive producer). Last week, Rummel and Stoecker brought their film to Washington, D.C., for showings on Capitol Hill and at National Geographic. They also met with members of Congress and White House officials to press for the removal of the lower Snake River dams, four large federal dams in eastern Washington state that many scientists and conservationists say are a major obstacle to salmon recovery in the Columbia River Basin. They also delivered a petition with 60,000+ signatures in support of removing “deadbeat” dams, or dams that are no longer productive. Rummel and Stoecker say that the seemingly speedy restoration of rivers like the Elwha is an eloquent argument for freeing the Snake.

'A lot of people have never seen [dam removal] happen, and they feel like it’s too complicated, too risky,' says Stoecker. 'It’s super powerful for them to see that restoration after dam removal isn’t a question mark. It’s a given that these systems come back.'"



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Movement to Take Down Thousands of Dams Goes Mainstream

National Geographic, January 28, 2015, By Michelle Nijhuis

"This spring, for the first time in more than two centuries, American shad, striped bass, and river herring may spawn in White Clay Creek, a tributary of the Delaware River in northern Delaware. Early one morning last month, a five-person crew waded into the frigid creek and pulled down most of a timber-and-stone dam that had blocked the river's flow since the early years of the Revolutionary War.

The White Clay Creek dam was the first ever removed in the state of Delaware, but it was far from the only one removed in the United States last year. On Tuesday, the conservation group American Rivers announced that 72 dams were torn down or blown up in 2014, restoring some 730 miles of waterways from California to Pennsylvania.

Twenty years ago, dam removal was a fringe notion, and early demolition efforts gained support only because the dams in question were no longer in use and, in some cases, were dangerous to people living nearby.

Now, the U.S. dam removal movement has wide acceptance as well as bigger ambitions; on Tuesday, producers of a recent documentary called DamNation met with members of Congress and White House officials to press their case for the removal of four large federal dams from the lower Snake River in eastern Washington. ..."


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Adventurers of the Year 2014/2015 The Filmmakers: Matt Stoecker, Travis Rummel, and Ben Knight

National Geographic, January 2015, By Fitz Cahall

Three filmmakers capture a pivotal moment in river conservation and ignite a movement to return rivers to their natural state.

'A lot of people see a huge reservoir, and they think, That’s a beautiful, beneficial thing,' says filmmaker and conservationist Matt Stoecker. 'But dams are like coal-fired power plants. They decimate a river’s ecosystem.'

Four years ago, Stoecker and Yvon Chouinard, founder of apparel company Patagonia, wanted to see rivers come to life on film as they returned to their free-flowing state. It was a particularly timely moment—two large dams in the heart of United States salmon habitat were set to be demolished. Stoecker reached out to Colorado-based filmmakers Ben Knight and Travis Rummel of Felt Soul Media to create a story about the U.S.’s long but evolving relationship with dams and the push to remove obsolete or decommissioned dams even as the country continues to use and build others.

The resulting 87-minute film, DamNation, has brought the topic of dam removal to a broad audience. It’s been racking up awards at festivals, including the prestigious Audience Choice Award at SXSW...

'Dams aren’t charismatic, so we pushed ourselves to find beautiful, character-driven stories,' says co-director Rummel."

Interview of Matt Stoecker, Travis Rummel, and Ben Knight: http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/adventurers-of-the-year/2015/damnation/

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Introducing Bullfrog Communities

Welcome to
Bullfrog Communities

We aim to energize change, and to help local activists broaden their reach.

  • We provide powerful films and all the support materials you need to create an effective community event.

  • We will send out strategic petitions, asking you to sign and send them on to your network, using the power of this medium on behalf of the people and the earth. These will be either national in scope — asking you to join an uproar of opinion, or very local — asking you to add your voice to attain a specific victory, which may provide a watershed — changing the mindset of the people empowered in a community, of multinational corporations' assumptions as to what they can get away with, and of politicians who notice the change in the wind.

  • We will provide a forum for sharing ideas that work and news that can inform action on an issue. We ask for your discussion, suggestions, feedback, and reports of successes in your community.

Please join. Let's see what we can accomplish together.

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