Hopes for a Fish Revival as a Dam Is Demolished - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-26-2013   #1
 
Andy H.'s Avatar
 
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Hopes for a Fish Revival as a Dam Is Demolished

From the NYT, read the full story by clicking here.

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EDDINGTON, Me. — There is a bend in the Penobscot River here, embanked by an Indian burial ground, through which millions of fish used to make a strenuous journey upstream to spawn before returning to the sea. There were elegant Atlantic salmon, prehistoric-looking sturgeon and, most numerous of all, lowly river herring, a nutrient-rich forage fish prized by ground fish, bears and birds.

But over the centuries, dams on the river and pollution from paper mills have helped wither the sea runs. Atlantic salmon here are endangered now. Over time, the number of river herring running up the river dropped from as many as 20 million, according to some historical estimates, to an all-time low of 54 — that is 54 individual fish — counted at the Veazie Dam here in 2012.

So it was a relief for scores of conservationists, government officials and anglers when two pieces of construction equipment methodically began dismantling the Veazie Dam this week. It is a decade-long, $60 million effort that, in combination with two other major river restoration projects on the Penobscot, will give 11 species of fish, including river herring and Atlantic salmon, better access to 1,000 miles of spawning habitat for the first time in two centuries.
I think that because the design lifespan of dams is in the same range as the human lifespan or more, it seems odd to us to consider the notion of tearing them down. It's easy to just accept that just because a dam has been there for a century it will be there forever. We should remember ourselves, and remind our non-boating friends, that dams, just like other engineering infrastructure, age, wear out, and reach a point where they no longer meet the needs they were built for, and should therefore be decommissioned.

-AH

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Old 07-26-2013   #2
Old Guy in a PFD
 
Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy H. View Post
From the NYT, read the full story by clicking here.



I think that because the design lifespan of dams is in the same range as the human lifespan or more, it seems odd to us to consider the notion of tearing them down. It's easy to just accept that just because a dam has been there for a century it will be there forever. We should remember ourselves, and remind our non-boating friends, that dams, just like other engineering infrastructure, age, wear out, and reach a point where they no longer meet the needs they were built for, and should therefore be decommissioned.

-AH
Schutzie hopes this applies to the bigguns in the west;
Hoover Dam T-22 years and counting
Glen Canyon T- 50 years and counting

And to my personal favorite
McPhee T-73 years and counting
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Old 07-26-2013   #3
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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There will be more and more of these as dams meet their life cycles. Most of these dams were built before there was a national dam safety program in the early 70s so very few of them are built to safety standards. The cost to bring them up to meet safety standards is greater than the benefit of the dams so the best option is demolition.
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