Tag Archives: Dams

Brazil Dam Toxic Mud Reaches Atlantic Ocean Via Rio Doce Estuary

brazil
Pristine atlantic coast, Brazil. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A wave of toxic mud travelling down the Rio Doce river in Brazil from a collapsed dam has reached the Atlantic Ocean, amid concerns it will cause severe pollution.

The contaminated mud, tested by the water management authorities, was found to contain toxic substances like mercury, arsenic, chromium and manganese at levels exceeding human consumption levels…

Read Full Article, BBC News

Samarco mine tragedy: Toxic mud from Brazil mine spill reaches Atlantic Ocean, ABC Australlia
The spill contaminated a river basin and has been described by Brazil’s environment minister Izabella Teixeira as the worst environmental disaster in the country’s history. Ms Teixeira estimated it would take 30 years to clean up the Doce basin after the mud smothered thousands of fish, turtles and other animals…

Anger rises as Brazilian mine disaster threatens river and sea with toxic mud, Guardian UK

When Dams Come Down, Salmon and Sand Can Prosper

elwha-dam-sediment
Sediment trapped, Elwha river. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Studies of dam-removal projects show that migratory species like salmon respond quickly to improved conditions once a dam is removed. But the removal of a dam on the Elwha River in northern Washington State — the largest such project in the United States — is demonstrating that there can be another beneficiary: the beach…

Read Full Article, The New York Times

Elwha, The Grand Experiment (11-12-2012)

Dams – Cutting off our Beach Sand; By Gary Griggs (12-19-2014)

Tracking Sediments’ Fate In Largest-Ever Dam Removal (03-2013)
Scientists tracking the aftermath of the largest dam removal in U.S. history say the dismantling of a dam in northwestern Washington state has unleashed about 34 million cubic yards of sediment and debris that built up for more than a century…

“River Reborn: Elwha Flows Wild and Free Once Again,” NBC News

Movement to Take Down Thousands of Dams Goes Mainstream, National Geographic (01-29-2015)

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions (08-2013)

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media” and presented by Patagonia.

Let’s Talk About Sand: “Sand Wars” Film Director Denis Delestrac, At TEDxBarcelona

4 Hidden Causes of Dam Failures

elwha-dam-2011
Elwha River Dam, the largest dam removal project ever attempted in the U.S, 2011. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

South Carolina is the latest place to suffer from a wave of dam catastrophes…

Read Full Article, National Geographic

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media” and presented by Patagonia.

Movement to Take Down Thousands of Dams Goes Mainstream, National Geographic (01-29-2015)

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The large reservoirs of water behind the world’s 50,000 large dams are a known source of methane. Methane has a warming effect 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. That knowledge led to questions about hydroelectric power’s image as a green and nonpolluting energy source…

12 Dams that Changed the World, Guardian UK (01-13-2015)

Large Dams Just Aren’t Worth the Cost, The New York Times (10-25-2014)

Small Dams On Chinese River Harm Environment More Than Expected, study finds, NSF (05-30-2013)

Elwha, The Grand Experiment (11-12-2012)

Largest Dam Removal in U.S. History Scientifically Characterized: A USGS Lecture on Largest U.S. Dam Removal; USGS (02-25-2015)

Danger Pent Up Behind Aging Dams, The New York Times (02-22-2011)

Western Sydney Residents Warned to Prepare for Minor Flooding

sydney
Sydney. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Western Sydney residents have been warned to prepare for minor flooding after heavy rain as the Warragamba dam spills over. Avon dam, Nepean dam and Tallowa dam are also spilling…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK

Dams – Cutting off our Beach Sand; By Gary Griggs (12-19-2014)

12 Dams that Changed the World, Guardian UK (01-13-2015)

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media” and presented by Patagonia.

Movement to Take Down Thousands of Dams Goes Mainstream, National Geographic (01-29-2015)

New Global Warming Culprit: Dams
Washington State University researchers have documented an underappreciated suite of players in global warming: dams, the water reservoirs behind them, and surges of greenhouse gases as water levels go up and down.

Let’s Talk About Sand: Denis Delestrac At TEDxBarcelona
Denis Delestrac latest feature documentary, “Sand Wars” takes the audience around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: we are running out of sand! In this TEDxBarcelona talk, he explains us where sand comes from and where it ends up…

Undamming Rivers: A Chance For New Clean Energy Source

elwha-dam
Elwha Dam removal, 2011. The largest dam-removal project in U.S. history—the Elwha River Restoration Project—commenced during the second week of September 2011, when National Park Service contractors began to dismantle two dams on the Elwha River in Washington State. The 32-m-tall Elwha Dam and the 64-m-tall Glines Canyon Dam, completed in 1913 and 1927, respectively, have been blocking the natural supply of sediment to the lower river and coast and severely limiting salmon and steelhead spawning for nearly a century. Captions: Jonathan A. Warrick / USGS. Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care.

Excerpts;

Hydroelectric power is often touted as clean energy, but this claim is true only in the narrow sense of not causing air pollution. In many places, such as the U.S. East Coast, hydroelectric dams have damaged the ecological integrity of nearly every major river and have decimated runs of migratory fish.

This need not continue…

Read Full Article, Yale E360

1000 Dams Down and Counting: Dam Removal Study Reveals River Resiliency, USGS (05-02-2015)
More than 1,000 dams have been removed across the United States because of safety concerns, sediment buildup, inefficiency or having otherwise outlived usefulness. A paper published in Science Magazine finds that rivers are resilient and respond relatively quickly after a dam is removed…

Elwha, The Grand Experiment (11-12-2012)

“River Reborn: Elwha Flows Wild and Free Once Again,” NBC News
A construction crew on Tuesday detonated a large charge of dynamite, destroying the last remaining portion of Glines Canyon Dam and hastening the restoration of the Elwha River in the far reaches of the Pacific Northwest.

Movement to Take Down Thousands of Dams Goes Mainstream, National Geographic (01-29-2015)

12 Dams that Changed the World, Guardian UK (01-13-2015)

New Global Warming Culprit: Dams
Washington State University researchers have documented an underappreciated suite of players in global warming: dams, the water reservoirs behind them, and surges of greenhouse gases as water levels go up and down.

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media” and presented by Patagonia.

Dams – Cutting off our Beach Sand; By Gary Griggs (12-19-2014)

Predicting the Shape of River Deltas

primer
Batik on silk by © Mary Edna Fraser

Excerpts;

New method may help engineers determine coastal impact of dams and levees…

Read Full Article, MIT News

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media” and presented by Patagonia.

Life-Giving Deltas Starved by Dams, by Peter Bosshard, Policy Director, International Rivers / Huffington Post(05-24-2014)
At a time when coastal areas are already battered by climate change, life-giving deltas are being sacrificed to dam building…

Dams – Cutting Off Beach Sand; By Gary Griggs (12-19-2014)

Sedimentation Problems with Dams, International Rivers

Let’s Talk About Sand: Denis Delestrac At TEDxBarcelona
Denis Delestrac latest feature documentary, “Sand Wars” takes the audience around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: we are running out of sand! In this TEDxBarcelona talk, he explains us where sand comes from and where it ends up…

Vietnam UNESCO Heritage Threatened by Erosion as Dams Stop Sedimentation

vietnam-beach-erosion
Cua Dai beach erosion near Hoi An, Vietnam. Photo source: ©© Lawrence Sinclair

Excerpts;

Hydropower dams on the Vu Gia – Thu Bon River system has hindered sedimentation downstream, causing severe erosion that could wipe out a popular beach in Hoi An town, experts warn.

“There has been a surge in dam building in the past three years, leading to a significant reduction in sediments being washed down to the estuary in the beach town of Hoi An,” Ca said…

Read Full Article, Thanhnien News

Vietnam’s Hoi An faces imminent risk of losing beach to coastal erosion, Tuoitrenews
Cua Dai Beach, which is a gem of Hoi An City’s tourist industry and a major draw to international tourists, is being wiped out by sea waves at an alarming rate. Located in Quang Nam Province, Hoi An City includes the famous Hoi An Ancient Town that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.
The beach has seen relentless, devastating coastal erosion since October last year, with the damage spiraling out of control recently…

Dams – Cutting Off Beach Sand; By Gary Griggs (12-19-2014)

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions, (08-01-2013)
The large reservoirs of water behind the world’s 50,000 large dams are a known source of methane. Methane has a warming effect 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. That knowledge led to questions about hydroelectric power’s image as a green and nonpolluting energy source…

Let’s Talk About Sand: Denis Delestrac At TEDxBarcelona
Denis Delestrac latest feature documentary, “Sand Wars” takes the audience around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: we are running out of sand! In this TEDxBarcelona talk, he explains us where sand comes from and where it ends up…

“The sad state of Vietnam’s beaches; due ignorance, environmental problems,” by The Beachfront Club

Peru Planning to Dam Amazon’s Main Source and Displace 1000s

amazon
People of Amazon… Photo source: ©© Neil Palmer/CIAT/CIFOR.

Excerpts;

Peru is proposing to build more than 20 dams on the main trunk of the currently free-flowing River Maranon, which births in the Andes and is the River Amazon’s main source.

According to Peruvian engineer Jose Serra Vega, just four of these dams could cause the Maranon’s “biological death”, while US environmental anthropologist Paul Little believes it could contribute to the “eco-system collapse” of the Amazon basin as a whole…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions, (08-01-2013)
The large reservoirs of water behind the world’s 50,000 large dams are a known source of methane. Methane has a warming effect 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. That knowledge led to questions about hydroelectric power’s image as a green and nonpolluting energy source…

New Global Warming Culprit: Dams (08-08-2012)
Washington State University researchers have documented an underappreciated suite of players in global warming: dams, the water reservoirs behind them, and surges of greenhouse gases as water levels go up and down.

Large Dams Just Aren’t Worth the Cost, The New York Times (10-25-2014)

Small Dams On Chinese River Harm Environment More Than Expected, study finds, NSF (05-30-2013)

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media” and presented by Patagonia.

Movement to Take Down Thousands of Dams Goes Mainstream, National Geographic (01-29-2015)

Dams – Cutting Off Beach Sand; By Gary Griggs (12-19-2014)

Let’s Talk About Sand: Denis Delestrac At TEDxBarcelona
Denis Delestrac latest feature documentary, “Sand Wars” takes the audience around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: we are running out of sand! In this TEDxBarcelona talk, he explains us where sand comes from and where it ends up…

dam-belo-monte-stop
Photo source: ©© International Rivers

1000 Dams Down and Counting: Dam Removal Study Reveals River Resiliency

elwha-dam
Elwha Dam removal, 2011. The largest dam-removal project in U.S. history—the Elwha River Restoration Project—commenced during the second week of September 2011, when National Park Service contractors began to dismantle two dams on the Elwha River in Washington State. The 32-m-tall Elwha Dam and the 64-m-tall Glines Canyon Dam, completed in 1913 and 1927, respectively, have been blocking the natural supply of sediment to the lower river and coast and severely limiting salmon and steelhead spawning for nearly a century. Captions: Jonathan A. Warrick / USGS. Photograph: © SAF

By USGS;

More than 1,000 dams have been removed across the United States because of safety concerns, sediment buildup, inefficiency or having otherwise outlived usefulness. A paper published in Science finds that rivers are resilient and respond relatively quickly after a dam is removed.

“The apparent success of dam removal as a means of river restoration is reflected in the increasing number of dams coming down, more than 1,000 in the last 40 years,” said lead author of the study Jim O’Connor, geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “Rivers quickly erode sediment accumulated in former reservoirs and redistribute it downstream, commonly returning the river to conditions similar to those prior to impoundment.”

Dam removal and the resulting river ecosystem restoration is being studied by scientists from several universities and government agencies, including the USGS and U.S. Forest Service, as part of a national effort to document the effects of removing dams. Studies show that most river channels stabilize within months or years, not decades, particularly when dams are removed rapidly.

“In many cases, fish and other biological aspects of river ecosystems also respond quickly to dam removal,” said co-author of the study Jeff Duda, an ecologist with USGS. “When given the chance, salmon and other migratory fish will move upstream and utilize newly opened habitat.”

The increase in the number of dam removals, both nationally and internationally, has spurred the effort to understand the consequences and help guide future dam removals.

“As existing dams age and outlive usefulness, dam removal is becoming more common, particularly where it can benefit riverine ecosystems,” said Gordon Grant, Forest Service hydrologist. “But it can be a complicated decision with significant economic and ecologic consequences. Better understanding of outcomes enables better decisions about which dams might be good candidates for removal and what the river might look like as a result.”

Sponsored by the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis, a working group of 22 scientists compiled a database of research and studies involving more than 125 dam removals. Researchers have determined common patterns and controls affecting how rivers and their ecosystems respond to dam removal. Important factors include the size of the dam, the volume and type of sediment accumulated in the reservoir, and overall watershed characteristics and history.

Original Article, USGS

1000 dams down and counting, Science

Movement to Take Down Thousands of Dams Goes Mainstream, National Geographic (01-29-2015)

Elwha, The Grand Experiment (11-12-2012)

Largest Dam Removal in U.S. History Scientifically Characterized: A USGS Lecture on Largest U.S. Dam Removal; USGS (02-25-2015)
Scientists worked together to characterize the effects of the largest dam removal project in U.S. history occurring on the Elwha River of Washington State. New findings suggest that dam removal can change landscape features of river and coasts, which have ecological implications downstream of former dam sites…

Tracking Sediments’ Fate In Largest-Ever Dam Removal, University Of Washington (03-08-2013)
Scientists tracking the aftermath of the largest dam removal in U.S. history say the dismantling of a dam in northwestern Washington state has unleashed about 34 million cubic yards of sediment and debris that built up for more than a century…

On The Elwha, A New Life When The Dam Breaks
Nobody figured the largest dam removal project ever attempted in the U.S. was going to be easy, or fast.The nation’s largest and most ambitious dam removal will begin this month, when workers start demolishing two antique dams on Washington state’s Elwha River…

“River Reborn: Elwha Flows Wild and Free Once Again,” NBC News
A construction crew on Tuesday detonated a large charge of dynamite, destroying the last remaining portion of Glines Canyon Dam and hastening the restoration of the Elwha River in the far reaches of the Pacific Northwest.

Dams – Cutting off our Beach Sand; By Gary Griggs (12-19-2014)

New Global Warming Culprit: Dams
Washington State University researchers have documented an underappreciated suite of players in global warming: dams, the water reservoirs behind them, and surges of greenhouse gases as water levels go up and down.

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media” and presented by Patagonia.

DamNation Petition Delivery to the White House; presented by Patagonia.