Tuesday, December 6, 2016

3 Dams to Be Removed in American West to Restore Rivers

A recent announcement of the impending elimination of three "deadbeat" dams is exciting news. One of them, hits close to home. It is the Matilija Dam within the Ventura River drainage not far from Ojai, California. I have seen wild trout both above and below this dam. I have also seen how silted-in the "lake" above the dam is; truly a mind-blowing. Now, there are numerous perspectives that go beyond the fish which make derelict dams an interesting concern. For example: Matilija and the Rindge Dam (in Malibu) are very near the sea and prevent natural sediment deposits that are helpful for, of all things, surf breaks. Both dams are upstream of very popular surf spots. The famous Surfrider Beach in Malibu being arguably the result of centuries of sediment building up a great surf spot. While reading the recent announcement at National Geographic's site about these three dams, there was a bonus link to a fantastic mini-documentary about the Glen Canyon Dam. In that documentary, one finds and interesting sub-plot of the retrieval or "salvage" as they call it, of Native American artifacts and the loss of that canyon. This salvage was done by archaeologists in advance of the flooding of the canyon. As I have obsessed for years over fisheries concerns, I have often forgotten about what secrets get buried underwater. In an area as vast as that buried by Lake Powell, it has struck me that more than just ecosystems are being severely tampered with. Definitely a timely concern as we see Native Americans still getting the short end of the stick.

Click HERE for the recent article about the Three Dams and HERE for the link to the Glen Canyon short.