Tag Archives: Dams

Ethiopian Dam Deal Ignores Science, Warn Experts

gerd
Rendering of The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (formerly known as Project X or the Grand Millennium Dam), will flood 1,680 square kilometers of forest in Ethiopia and create a reservoir that is nearly twice as large as Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest natural lake. Approximately 20,000 people will be resettled for the project…Captions and Image by International Rivers

Excerpts;

Water scientists from Egypt have raised concerns over a declaration governing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that is meant to ensure fair access to Nile water for countries downstream…

Read Full Article, SciDevNet

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Fact Sheet, International Rivers
Ethiopia is building one of the largest dams in the world, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), on the River Nile near the Sudan border. The dam will flood 1,680 square kilometers of forest in northwest Ethiopia (an area about four times the size of Cairo), displace approximately 20,000 people in Ethiopia, and create a reservoir that will hold around 70 billion cubic meters of water – equivalent to the entire annual flow of the Blue Nile at the Sudan border.
Although it is Africa’s biggest dam project and will have lasting impacts on its longest river, the GERD has been developed under a veil of secrecy. The dam will impact Ethiopians and downstream neighbors, yet its planning process has been top-down and unilateral. The public and dam-affected people have not been given a meaningful opportunity to critique the project or process. The Ethiopian government has stated it will not make changes to the project…

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

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…

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

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: 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…

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

Natural Filters: Mussels Deployed To Clean Up Polluted Waterways

mussel-freswater
Photo source: ©© Scorzonera

Excerpts;

In the Delaware River and tidal estuary, as well as in other watersheds in the U.S. and Europe, threatened populations of mussels are being re-established to help filter out pollution generated by agriculture, industry, and development.

A stream with a healthy population of mussels indicates a pretty pristine habitat and good water quality. Everywhere, however, numbers of mussels are in peril. Everywhere the causes of decline are the same: alteration and damming of streams and rivers, and human-induced runoff of silt and nutrients…

Read Full Article, Yale E360

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 is a feature documentary, shown this week at SXSW in Austin, Tx. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature…

Hydropower Could be Risky Bet in Warming World

Grootdaii--dam-South-Africa
Grootdaii dam, South Africa. Photo source: ©© Jan Truter

Excerpts;

An indicator of where renewables investors are focusing their attention, large hydropower was left out of a major United Nations and Bloomberg report published this week showing that global investments in renewables spiked 17 percent in 2014…

Read Full Article, Climate Central

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Science Daily (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…

12 Dams that Changed the World, Guardian UK (01-13-2015)
Renewable energy rather than mega dams and fossil fuels is the right choice for the 21st century. Even so, numerous destructive dams continue to be proposed and built on the Mekong, in the Amazon, throughout Africa, in China, the Himalayas and other parts of the world…

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)

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

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

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 is a feature documentary, shown this week at SXSW in Austin, Tx. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature…

California Water Board Supports Searsville Dam Removal

Searsville-dam
Searsville dam. Photo source: ©© Gazebo

Excerpts;

“Today, the State Water Board sent Stanford a powerful letter supporting Searsville Dam removal, questioning the feasibility of other potential alternatives, and stressing the importance of safely restoring sediment flow blocked by the dam for the health of the creek downstream and resiliency of San Francisco Bay wetlands and coastal communities in the face of sea level rise and climate change…”

Read Full Article, Beyond Searsville Dam

Standford’s Searsville Dam Spurs Debate, ABC 7 News (07-29-2014)
Stanford University is finding itself at the center of an unlikely environmental battle. It centers on an aging dam and the barrier it creates for native fish…

San Francisquito Creek – America’s Most Endangered Rivers 2014, A Youtuve Video By American Rivers
Searsville Dam blocks spawning headwater streams for San Francisquito Creek. Removing the 65-foot dam will allow endangered steelhead to return upstream and spawn…

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…

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

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

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

Xboundary: a Film about Extreme Pollution Risks by Open-Pit Mining in British Columbia and Threats to Wildlife and Economy


A Salmon Film By Ryan Peterson; Salmon Beyond Borders; on Vimeo

Excerpts;

An open-pit mining boom is underway in northern British Columbia, Canada. The massive size and location of the mines — at the headwaters of major salmon rivers that flow across the border into Alaska — has Alaskans concerned over pollution risks posed to their multi-billion dollar fishing and tourism industries.

These concerns were heightened with the August 4, 2014 catastrophic tailings dam failure at nearby Mount Polley Mine in B.C.’s Fraser River watershed…

Mount Polley was 10 million cubic meters of waste water containing dangerous chemicals released in B.C.’s Fraser River watershed…

Xboundary: A Salmon Film By Ryan Peterson; Salmon Beyond Borders

Learn More: Xboundary – Defending Alaska & British Columbia salmon rivers from open-pit mining; By Ryan Peterson & Travis Rummel

Largest Dam Removal in U.S. History Scientifically Characterized: A USGS Lecture on Largest U.S. Dam Removal

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

By USGS;

The effects of dam removal are better known as a result of several new studies released this week by government, tribal and university researchers. The 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.

“These studies not only give us a better understanding of the effects of dam removal, but show the importance of collaborative science across disciplines and institutions,” said Suzette Kimball, acting director of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Five peer-reviewed papers, with authors from the U.S. Geological Survey, Reclamation, National Park Service, Washington Sea Grant, NOAA Fisheries, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and the University of Washington, provide detailed observations and insights about the changes in the river’s landforms, waters and coastal zone during the first two years of dam removal. During this time, massive amounts of sediment were eroded from the drained reservoirs and transported downstream through the river and to the coast.

One finding that intrigued scientists was how efficiently the river eroded and moved sediment from the former reservoirs; over a third of the 27 million cubic yards of reservoir sediment, equivalent to about 3000 Olympic swimming pools filled with sediment, was eroded into the river during the first two years even though the river’s water discharge and peak flows were moderate compared to historical gaging records.

This sediment release altered the river’s clarity and reshaped the river channel while adding new habitats in the river and at the coast. In fact, the vast majority of the new sediment was discharged into the coastal waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where the river mouth delta expanded seaward by hundreds of feet.

“The expansion of the river mouth delta is very exciting, because we are seeing the rebuilding of an estuary and coast that were rapidly eroding prior to dam removal,” said USGS research scientist and lead author of the synthesis paper, Dr. Jonathan Warrick.

Although the primary goal of the dam removal project is to reintroduce spawning salmon runs to the pristine upper reaches of the Elwha River within Olympic National Park, the new studies suggest that dam removal can also have ecological implications downstream of the former dam sites. These implications include a renewal of the sand, gravel and wood supplies to the river and to the coast, restoring critical processes for maintaining salmon habitat to river, estuarine and coastal ecosystems.

“These changes to sediment and wood supplies are important to understand because they affect the river channel form, and the channel form provides important habitat to numerous species of the region,” stated USGS research scientist and river study lead author, Dr. Amy East.

The final stages of dam removal occurred during the summer of 2014. Some sediment erosion from the former reservoirs will likely continue. The Elwha Project and research teams are continuing to monitor how quickly the river returns to its long-term restored condition.

“We look forward to seeing when the sediment supplies approach background levels,” said Reclamation engineer and co-author, Jennifer Bountry, “because this will help us understand the length of time that dam removal effects will occur.”

The five new papers can be found in Elsevier’s peer-reviewed journal, Geomorphology, and they focus on the following topics of the large-scale dam removal on the Elwha River, Washington (web-based publication links using digital object identifiers, doi, are provided in parentheses):

– Erosion of reservoir sediment
– Fluvial sediment load
– River channel and floodplain geomorphic change
– Coastal geomorphic change
– Source-to-sink sediment budget and synthesis

A USGS Lecture on Largest U.S. Dam Removal: Undamming Washington’s Elwha River

Thursday, February 26th, 2015, 7:00 p.m. PDT Watch Live Online
USGS, Conference Room A, Bldg. 3,
Menlo Park, California

Original Article and Learn More, USGS

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

Elwha River, Dam Removal Project; a Photo Gallery, WCU / PSDS

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.

Fish return to undammed Elwha River
A project to remove two hydroelectric dams from the Elwha River in Washington state is bringing benefits for local wildlife. But the fish are not home free yet.

Underwater Ecosystem Inundated by Sediment Plume, Elwha River
Scuba-diver scientists from the U.S.G.S, with support teams from the U.S. EPA, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and Washington Sea Grant, are returning to the mouth of Washington’s Elwha River this week to explore and catalogue the effect of released sediment on marine life following the nation’s largest dam removal effort.

The Condit Dam Breach
For 95 years, the 125-foot high Condit Dam in rural Washington State held back the White Salmon River. In an historic effort, the dam was dramatically breached to restore, for the first time in a century, the waterway to fish and other aquatic organisms, as well as the birds and mammals that rely on them. The dam removal comes just weeks after dismantling began on the Elwha Dam a few hours to the north.

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.

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

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 is a feature documentary, shown this week at SXSW in Austin, Tx. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature…

elwha-river-mouth
Elwha river mouth. Photograph: © SAF

Movement to Take Down Thousands of Dams Goes Mainstream

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

Excerpts;

Twenty years ago, dam removal was a fringe notion, and early demolition efforts gained support only because the dams in question were no longer in use.

Now, the U.S. dam removal movement has wide acceptance as well as bigger ambitions; on Tuesday, producers of a recent documentary called DamNation met with members of Congress and White House officials to press their case for the removal of four large federal dams from the lower Snake River in eastern Washington…

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.
DamNation is a feature documentary, shown this week at SXSW in Austin, Tx. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature…

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

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…

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)

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

Controversial dam projects – in pictures, The Guardian UK
A look is taken at some of the world’s most contentious dam projects, from the Three Gorges in China to Brazil’s Belo Monte dam.

12 Dams that Changed the World

dam
Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona/Utah border, in a scene from DAMNATION. Photo courtesy of: ©Ben Knight

Excerpts;

Renewable energy rather than mega dams and fossil fuels is the right choice for the 21st century. Even so, numerous destructive dams continue to be proposed and built on the Mekong, in the Amazon, throughout Africa, in China, the Himalayas and other parts of the world…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK

Controversial dam projects – in pictures, The Guardian UK
A look is taken at some of the world’s most contentious dam projects, from the Three Gorges in China to Brazil’s Belo Monte dam.

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)

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…

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

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

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 is a feature documentary, shown this week at SXSW in Austin, Tx. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature…

Saving the Colorado River Delta, One Habitat at a Time

colorado-delta-arid
This image highlights the generally arid setting of the Colorada River delta estuary at its terminus and at low tide.
The Colorado River is the largest watershed in the southwestern US, emptying into the Salton Trough before reaching the Sea of Cortez. Over the past 2-3 million years, river sediments built a delta that extends from the US-Mexico border for a distance of 87 miles (140 km). However, today the Colorado River delta is undergoing significant erosion and diminishing in size due to the lack of sediment replenishment from upstream sources. Prior to impoundment of water from upstream dams the delta provided habitat for a wide variety of species including shrimp, corvina fish, and vaquita porpoise. Captions and Image source: Earth Observatory / NASA

Excerpts;

A trickle of water is being returned to a few parts of the dried-out delta—and those parts are blooming. Thanks to a bi-national agreement, a “pulse flow” of water eventually made its way to the sea, the first time the Colorado River reached the Gulf of California in years…

Read Full Article, National Geographic

The Colorado River Returns to the Sea, National Geographic (05-29-2014)
More than eight weeks after the he Morelos Dam on the Arizona-Mexico border was opened to allow a “pulse flow” , which began on March 23, and now nearing its end, the Colorado River, after coursing through its delta, touched the Sea of Cortez…

Relief for a Parched Delta, The New York Times (04-17-2013)
Thanks to dams that throttled the Colorado and diverted its water to fuel the rise of the American West, the river has effectively ended at the Mexican border. The Colorado delta, once a lush network of freshwater and marine wetlands and meandering river channels and a haven for fish, migrating birds and other wildlife, is largely a parched wasteland…

Protect the World’s Deltas, Nature (12-07-2014)
The rich delta ecosystem and the services it provides, storm protection, nutrient and pollution removal and carbon storage, are being destroyed. Worldwide deltas are on course to drown, starved of sediment by dams and dikes, and fragmented by economic development. Rising seas compound the sediment crisis…

World’s Largest Dam Removal Unleashes U.S. River, NBC news, (08-27-2014)
River Reborn: Elwha Flows Wild and Free Once Again..

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; From Felt Soul Media
DamNation is a feature documentary, shown this week at SXSW in Austin, Tx. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature…

Let’s Talk About Sand: Denis Delestrac At TEDxBarcelona
Denis Delestrac latest feature documentary, “Sand Wars” is an epic eco-thriller that 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…