The Hoover Dam was a symbol of human progress in the first half of the 20th century, and its construction kicked off a dam-building frenzy across America. But now, in the 21st century, it’s become clear that many of these dams are doing far more harm than good – blocking rivers and waterways, depleting fish populations, polluting rivers, and providing an insufficient amount of energy.
Fortunately, this negative impact has been recognized and a movement to dismantle dams is beginning to gain traction. The Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams removal project in Washington state – which began five years ago – is a prime example of how dam removal can restore rivers to their natural states. In the case of the Elwha River, wild steelhead salmon have already returned despite the fact that demolition is nowhere near complete.
However, taking down dams isn’t as simple as just blasting them away with dynamite; there are complicated issues to consider on both sides of the debate. For farmers who rely on dams for irrigation purposes or Native Americans seeking to reclaim lost cultural ground; this kind of change can be difficult to accept. Similarly, dam owners often see those who want them removed as radicals or extremists while lawmakers struggle with bureaucratic red tape.
At present, America is leading the way with regards to dam removal worldwide – but there is still much work to be done in order for us to reach our ultimate goal: restoring rivers and waterways so they may continue producing clean power while also supporting healthy wildlife populations. To learn more about this important issue we suggest you check out ‘DamNation’ – an eye-opening documentary that examines both sides of this controversial topic directly from those affected by it most deeply and takes a look at how some communities have forged ahead against all odds to make positive changes for their environment and themselves.