Dam Challenges by Design

Every dam removal process faces unique challenges and complexities. This blog is a part of our series this month on River Restoration Challenges. Dam removal projects come in all shapes and sizes— from the dynamite-using, decades-in-the-making, multi-million dollar, salmon-helping Elwha dam removal in Washington to elbow-grease powered, under $10,000, community-championed, two-in-one, brook-trout-benefitting dam removals on… Read more »

Dam Ownership – The Argument For and Against Keeping a Dam

West Henniker Creek, NH | American Rivers This blog is a part of our series this month on River Restoration Challenges. Dam owners come in all stripes. Many are private individuals, but others are government entities, companies, and even non-profits. Regardless, all dam owners face the same fundamental choice: whether to continue to maintain their… Read more »

Epic Streamflows In Western Colorado – Is It Sustainable?

Morrows Point dam is spilling at over 9,000 cfs! | Joel Evans This year’s spring runoff in Western Colorado is bordering on epic! With the Shoshone Reach on the Colorado near Glenwood Springs running at over 16,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) and the three Aspinall Unit dams (Blue Mesa, Morrow Point, and Crystal) spilling… Read more »

How Dams Damage Rivers

Dams Significantly Affect Rivers Over the past 100 years, the United States has led the world in dam building – blocking and and harnessing rivers for a variety of purposes, including hydropower, irrigation, flood control, and water storage. The US Army Corps of Engineers has catalogued at least 80,000 dams greater than 6 feet along… Read more »

How Long Does It Take to Remove a Dam?

Veazie Dam Breach | Cheryl Daigle, Penobscot River Restoration Trust We are often asked how long it takes to remove a dam. The answer is: it depends on the project. Project complexity, cost, and the regulatory environment all can play a role in the duration of a project. Sometimes even a great project can become… Read more »

7 Challenges That Can Delay River Restoration Projects

This blog is a part of our series this month on River Restoration Challenges. River restoration projects are multi-stage projects, including project design, permitting, construction, and monitoring. Projects can also contain multiple components, such as the removal of a dam or other barrier, riparian corridor improvements, or water trail creation. Each stage can present issues… Read more »

It’s Time to Move On From Teton Dam

Remnants of the Teton Dam | Scott Bosse The catastrophic failure of the Teton Dam in eastern Idaho 38 years ago this month will forever be remembered as a turning point that helped bring our nation’s modern dam-building era to an end. The disaster took 11 lives, killed 20,000 head of livestock, and caused $2… Read more »

Autopsy of a Dam Removal: Stearns Dam

Stearns Dam, During Construction, Crooked River, OR | Denise Hoffert-Hay This blog is a part of our ongoing series this month on the Challenges of River Restoration. One of our goals at American Rivers is to make dam removal accessible— to make it something that local watershed groups, state natural resource agencies, and others feel… Read more »

Another Look at Dam Removal: Searsville Dam

San francisquito, CA Searsville Dam | Matt Stoecker As part of our River Restoration Challenges Series this month, today I am talking about overcoming obstacles in order to remove the Searsville Dam on San Francisquito Creek in California. Over the last 10 years, a coalition of environmental groups, including American Rivers, has asked Stanford University… Read more »

Some River Restoration Projects Are Worth The Wait

John C. Boyle Dam, Klamath River | American Rivers Throughout the month of June, we will be talking on our blog and social media about the challenges that we face when doing river restoration projects around the country. In some cases, restoration work is fairly straightforward and follows a relatively predictable timeline. However, sometimes unexpected circumstances may… Read more »