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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commented 2016-10-15 02:56:25 -0400
commented 2016-10-15 02:50:26 -0400
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