We are advocating at the local and state levels for water efficiency measures that will deliver a secure, reliable supply of clean water, and we are fighting costly, destructive, and short-sighted proposals for new dams.
Our list of 60 dams that were removed in 2010, benefitting hundreds of miles of rivers nationwide.
Communities in 19 states, working in partnership with non-profit organizations and state and federal agencies, removed 65 dams in 2012, American Rivers announced today. Outdated or unsafe dams came out of rivers across the nation, restoring 400 miles of streams for the benefit of fish, wildlife and people across the country.
Updates and success stories on how American Rivers has been able to restore and protect some of our most endangered rivers. These successes include projects that combatted dam construction, toxic water, logging, reservoirs, and pollution.
American Rivers work in Columbia, SC to improve flows in the Broad River.
Restoring natural flow patterns to this stretch of the Cheoah river, has already improved its diverse native aquatic life, helping species like the endangered Appalachian Elktoe mussel to make a comeback. The new flows also allow for improved fishing and world-class whitewater boating.
American Rivers helps to protect the Congaree River Blue Trail in South Carolina to assure enhanced stream flows to support river recreation and a health and clean water supply
American Rivers is working in targeted states on water supply legislation that will protect the drinking water supply of our communities and the rivers that provide recreational, economic, and quality of life benefits in the face of climate change and population growth. We are focusing our current efforts in North and South Carolina.
With the help of American Rivers, Hitchcock Creek in Rockingham, North Carolina is becoming a more valuable community asset, and will serve as an attraction for fishing, boating, and other recreation. Until recently, a dam degraded the Hitchcock Creek, blocked migrating fish from spawning and prevented the community from safely enjoying their river through boating and fishing.
American Rivers is working at the local level to review current codes and ordinances to provide sound recommendations to Planning Commissions and legislative bodies to reduce hard surfaces, create incentives to implement low impact development techniques such as rain gardens, bioretention, and green roofs, and protect buffers. These local changes will reduce polluted stormwater runoff and flooding and increase greenspace.
Explicit standards recognizing water flow as essential to supporting existing and classified designated uses are crucial to meeting the goals of the Clean Water Act. While water flows are implicitly protected, in practice some State agencies charged with implementing the Clean Water Act focus on the chemical component of the water quality and provide only cursory review of how their decisions will affect physical and biological integrity.
Wake County and the City of Raleigh have proposed a new reservoir on the Little River.
American Rivers is working to improve the health of the Savannah River’s Augusta Shoals. We successfully negotiated a new agreement with the City of Augusta, Georgia and the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League (SCCCL) to improve natural water flows from upstream dams.
Georgia’s Flint River is one of only 40 rivers left in the United States that flow for more than 200 miles undammed, and American Rivers intends to keep the Flint that way. Rising from humble origins just south of Atlanta – the river’s headwater streams actually flow out of pipes buried beneath the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International – the Flint quickly becomes a water supply source for communities in the southern part of the Atlanta metropolitan area and downstream throughout west-central Georgia.
The water quality components of the Clean Water Act are aimed at protecting the full scope of benefits that clean and abundant water provide to society at large. The parameters for success of this goal are water quality standards that protect existing and classified designated uses.
The construction of water supply reservoir projects requires a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit for “the discharge of the dredged or fill material in waters of the U.S.” resulting from building the dam and control structures.
The Waccamaw River Blue Trail will not only improve recreational opportunities, it will also help to educate citizens, local governments, and elected officials about the importance of the river as a community asset, increase community involvement in the river, and support conservation. This project will also serve as a model for how to work with city and county councils to encourage land protection and riparian buffers through educational and incentive programs. the river as a community asset, increase community involvement in the river, and support conservation.
Given that water efficiency is often the least damaging, cost-effective water supply option, US EPA Region 4, developed guidelines to assist communities seeking new water supplies to better understand the water efficiency options that they need to consider prior to applying for a permit to construct a water supply reservoir.