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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

River Running

tearing down dams restores rivers and fisheries

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, July 22, 2013/Categories: wildlife conservation, sustainability, environment

Environmental restoration has multiple meanings. Reseeding a tall-grass prairie, helping to recover endangered sea turtles, or restoring a river are different initiatives and all exciting. Now, a 19th Century dam in Maine is the latest to come down and prime fisheries will again reemerge. The removal of the Veazie Dam has begun.

The river restoration project was pioneered by the New England environmental organization the Penobscot River Restoration Trust . According to their announcement:

"the Trust along with our public and private partners are working to undo more than two centuries of damage that too many dams have inflicted upon the Penobscot River. Removal of the lower two dams, the first completed in 2012, greatly improved access to nearly 1000 miles of habitat for endangered Atlantic salmon, shortnose sturgeon, American shad, alewife, and seven other species of sea-run fish in Maine. As fish passage is improved at four remaining dams and energy increased at six, these ecological benefits will be realized while maintaining or even increasing energy production. By reconnecting the river to the sea, the Penobscot Project promises large-scale ecological, cultural, recreational, and economic benefits throughout New England's second largest watershed."

Veazie Dam   (credit: Penobscot River Restoration Trust)

Hundreds of old dams nationwide, if not more, could be removed and their blocked rivers restored without negatively affecting power generation. The environmental benefits far outweigh the costs.

So tear down the old dams, restore free-flowing rivers, and bring back the fisheries. A worth restoration goal if there ever was one.



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