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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Dam Down

Dam Down

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, November 8, 2019/Categories: wildlife conservation, sustainability, environment

Using cranes, backhoes, and other construction gear, Maine's Veazie Dam on the Penobscot River was removed. We recently noted that this river restoration project to revive a free-flowing river, which had been dammed since the 19th Century. Leading the restoration efforts were public environmental groups including the Penobscot River Restoration Trust and 1% for the Planet, an organization that inspires companies to donate one-percent of their profits to various conservation projects.

Veazia Dam Breaching, Maine (credit: Penobscot River Restoration Trust)

The $60 million river restoration and fisheries recovery project will continue until all the dams are finally removed. The Trust estimated that one species, the river herring, once numbered nearly 20 million fish but the population had collapsed due to the dams. At one point only 54 herring were counted. Similarly, the Atlantic salmon, harvested in the hundred thousands at the end of the 19th Century, were down to a couple of hundred before the Vaezie dam came down. All fish populations are expected to make a strong recovery from pre-dam status as the river begins returning to free-flowing status.

Across the country, hundreds of deadbeat dams block free-flowing rivers and the ecological health of rivers. Let "dam down" become a national campaign chant for their removal.



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