Major Week for Dam Removals

This is a major week for dam removal, with news that underscores the national leadership of American Rivers and our track record of success in the field of river restoration.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today that it will provide American Rivers with more than $4 million in economic stimulus funding to undertake what will be one of Maryland’s largest river restoration projects to date – the removal of two outdated dams on the Patapsco River (which flows through Baltimore into the Chesapeake Bay).

In addition to removing known safety hazards, these removals will restore more than 370 miles of mainstem and tributary habitat for migratory fish, and improve conditions for fishing and boating.

NOAA has also awarded American Rivers an additional $127,500 for the first year of a long-term monitoring effort on the river. These funds will allow American Rivers to collect valuable restoration data and further our scientific understanding of river restoration through dam removal.
The Penobscot River Restoration Trust, of which American Rivers is a founding member, was also successful in their bid for stimulus dollars and will be receiving $6.1 million for the removal of the Great Works Dam. Few words can convey what an important step this is for the Penobscot Restoration project.

This announcement comes during a watershed week for our River Restoration Program. It was exactly 10 years ago that I stood on the bank of the Kennebec River in Augusta, Maine and watched the landmark removal of the Edwards Dam. Now, a decade later, we are celebrating the revival of the Kennebec, the rebounding runs of Atlantic salmon and other fish, and the new recreation and economic opportunities for the local community. Read our opinion piece in the Kennebec Journal.

This week we will also witness four more rivers begin their journey toward freedom. Dam removals are beginning in New York on the Salmon River, Washington state on Trout Creek, a tributary of the Wind River, and Satus Creek, a tributary of the Yakima River, and in North Carolina on Hitchcock Creek, a tributary of the Pee Dee River.

None of these projects would have been possible without the work of American Rivers, and all of you – our dedicated members and supporters!