Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Washington State: Demolition begins on largest dam dismantling project in the U.S.

There are two sides to every story. One of the commenters on this article stated:
"Notice there was no mention of the electricity these dams produce or the lakes behind them that provide irrigation water for farms nor the flood control they provide? Our 'leaders' have some bizarre priorities.Also in the mill is a plan to close several coal fired electricity generating plants.Remember Obama said he would close the coal industry during his compaign for office.Is all this an effort to drive us to nuclear power? ... "

However, if you check out Elwha River at Wikipedia, we learn that it was actually President George Bush who signed this reclamation project into law - not Obama.

From the UK Daily Mail: Demolition begins on largest dam dismantling project in the U.S.
Work has begun on the largest dam dismantling project in the U.S.

An emotional ceremony was marked by references to the spiritual and cultural importance to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe of the removal of two dams from the Elwha River near Port Angeles.

Removal of that 210-foot-tall dam and the 108-foot-tall Elwha Dam is part of the second-largest ecosystem restoration project ever undertaken by the National Park Service, after the Everglades.

The $325 million project is expected to last three years and eventually restore the Olympic Peninsula river to its wild state and restore salmon runs.

Before two towering concrete dams were built nearly a century ago, the river teemed with salmon but the structures blocked the fishes' access to upstream habitat, diminished their runs and altered the ecosystem.

An excavator began chipping away at the top of Glines Canyon Dam on Thursday.

The ceremony included drumming, singing, dancing and a blessing by tribal elder Ben Charles Sr., who made several references to tribal ancestors looking down from the clouds and witnessing the event.

A few hundred people and several dozen Chinook salmon gathered near the Elwha Dam on Saturday to witness the beginning of the process to let the Elwha River run free and restore five species of Pacific salmon to more than 70 miles of river and stream.

The ceremony concluded with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar leading a call, echoed by whoops from the crowd, to have a large piece of earthmoving equipment with a golden bucket break up a piece of concrete just upstream of the dam and carry some pieces to the bank where dignitaries were waiting.

'America's rivers are the lifeblood of America's economy - from the water for farms that produce our food to the fish and wildlife that sustain our heritage,' Salazar said.

This restoration project is a testament to what can happen when diverse groups find a way to work together and achieve shared goals of restoration for a river, a people, an ecosystem and a national park,' said National Park Services Director Jon Jarvis.

Biologists estimate the Elwha River salmon populations will grow from 3,000 to more than 300,000 as five species of Pacific salmon return to the river.

'The return of the fish will bring bear, eagles and other animals back to the ecosystem that has been stunted since 1911 when the Elwha Dam was constructed.

Officials also expect fisherman, rafters and other recreation seekers to return to the river and add to the local economy.

Salazar noted that the river restoration will help support the culture of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, which has lived along its banks for centuries.

Tribal members will again have access to sacred sites now under water and the opportunity to renew cultural traditions.

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