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Session A5: Increasing Dam Removal Through Key Policy Changes in the United States

Abstract
Abstract: Dam Removal is arguably the most effective tool we have for restoring river habitat and fish passage. While some of the more than 80,000 dams in the United States provide important water supply, flood control and recreation functions, most no longer serve the original purpose for which they were built. Many dams are relics of old mills and the industrial revolution and are no longer maintained and in need of repair. The benefits of other larger dams may no longer outweigh the significant impacts to fisheries and river habitat. If we are to make real gains in the rate of river and fisheries restoration through dam removal, then we need to identify opportunities to impact many dams at once rather than working one dam at a time. Reviewing patterns of dam removal over the last twenty years in the United States, American Rivers has identified key changes in policy that have increased the rate of dam removal. This presentation will outline improvements to wetland regulations and dam safety in the United States as templates that could be replicated elsewhere in order to increase the rate of dam removal and discuss what these changes mean for river restoration and fisheries management.
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2015-06-23
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