Remove 30,000 harmful dams

Damming rivers and blocking their natural flows has destroyed the habitat that fish, birds,  and wildlife need to nest, feed, reproduce, and thrive. Habitat degradation is the #1  cause of extinctions. And as they age, dams put people in harm’s way of catastrophic flooding. 

Damming more rivers is not a tenable water-supply solution in the face of climate change. Toxic algae outbreaks in warm, stagnant reservoirs contaminate water supply. Decaying plant matter in reservoirs produces large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. 

Removing a dam and allowing water to flow naturally is the single most impactful way to improve a river’s health.There are more than 90,000 inventoried dams — and up to 400,000 dams total — in our country. Up to 85 percent of them are unnecessary, harmful, and even dangerous. We must remove thousands quickly. That’s why American Rivers and our partners will remove 30,000 dams by 2050.

How we will do it

Beaverdam Creek Dam Removal

Restoring rivers

We advocate for policies that will exponentially grow the number of dams removed nationwide. And we restore free-flowing rivers to improve the resiliency of communities and nature. 

Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River, WA | Scott Buttner

Reforming hydropower dams

We work with the hydropower, conservation, business, and Tribal communities to improve hydropower dams and remove harmful, obsolete dams without contributing to climate change. 

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