No. 05, February 14, 1999

River Revival Bulletin

Produced by: River Revival, International Rivers
1847 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94703 USA

Editors: Elizabeth Brink & Rani Derasary


Welcome to the fifth issue of River Revival Bulletin. This issue is a bit late as International Rivers's River Revival team has been very busy finishing two new additions to the program that we trust you will all find useful.

First, the inaugural issue of "River Revival Times" has just come off the press. This newspaper-format publication will be coming out occasionally to highlight key developments in the worldwide dam decommissioning movement. This first issue profiles the growth in dam decommissioning activities across North America and the evolution of a global dam decommissioning movement. As the US is currently the leader in decommissioning efforts, we've featured a poster-size map highlighting the current US campaigns we are aware of and the organizations involved. The Times also includes excerpts from the founding statement of Living Rivers: the International Coalition for the Restoration of Rivers and Communities Affected by Dams, action alerts and more. Those of you for whom we have mailing addresses will receive a copy of the Times in the mail shortly. If you are unsure whether we have your mailing address, send it to us at:' and note that you want to receive the Times.

Second, the River Revival website has received a major upgrade. It now features complete information with active links for those organizations engaged in dam decommissioning and their campaigns. Please note that we have only listed the campaigns we are aware of to date. Please keep sending us information about new campaigns and updates on the existing ones so that the site can continue to promote everyone's work as effectively as possible. The upgraded site also contains: action alerts pertaining to dam decommissioning; back issues of River Revival Bulletin; a calendar of relevant conferences and events; background on the international Living Rivers coalition, and much, much more. We look forward to your comments and any additional information you may have that you would like to see posted. To get to the site, go to: or, then click on "River Revival."


  • Your help needed now to drain Lake Powell!
  • Dam removal under way near Chicago
  • Dam removal on the Upper Colorado
  • Ventura County’s Elton Gallegly calls for dam removal study
  • Recreationists oppose draining Englebright Reservoir
  • Gorton stalls Columbia River dam system studies
  • Avista Corporation to compensate Nez Perce for damage to fish runs
  • Trout Unlimited keeps busy on dam removal projects nation-wide
  • TU makes its presence felt on Vermont’s Clyde River
  • Dutch pursue strategic dike breaching to minimize flood damage
  • Restoration profiled in two more mainstream publications!
  • Take advantage of these outreach opportunities
  • Living Rivers Welcomes 7 New Members


**Glen Canyon Dam, Colorado River, Utah/Arizona**

Your help needed now to drain Lake Powell!

Last month the US Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec) released an Environmental Assessment (EA) on installing temperature control devices on the intake towers of the Glen Canyon Dam. These devices are supposed to enable warmer water to be released from the dam so as to protect native fish in the Grand Canyon stretch of the Colorado River from possible extinction.

Scientists studying this problem, however, have expressed concerns that fixes such as that proposed by BuRec will not be enough to save the Humpback Chub and other endangered fishes. Glen Canyon Institute (GCI), which is leading the campaign to restore Glen Canyon, believes the EA is inadequate, and that a complete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on strategies to protect endangered fish downstream must be undertaken by BuRec. Moreover, GCI believes that such an evaluation should consider the alternative of draining the reservoir. Please help support this effort by contacting GCI (phone: 520.556.9311, e-mail:, web: for the latest suggestions on how you can respond to BuRec so that an EIS can be undertaken and we can move another step closer to restoring Glen Canyon. GCI will have a complete action alert up on their website within the week.


**Hoffman Dam, DesPlaines River, Illinois**

Dam removal under way near Chicago

Efforts are well under way to remove a small dam on the DesPlaines River in Illinois. A local group of fisherman calling themselves the Hoffman Dam River Rats began organizing several years ago to remove this 13-foot-high dam to restore habitat for fish including the walleye, northern pike and others. The dam was built by a private citizen, George Hoffman, in 1908 for hydroelectric power, but it did not work. Its sole purpose became "amusement" boating in the 200-yard-long reservoir. Following Hoffman's death in 1942, the dam ultimately became the responsibility of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

After local fisherman began frequenting this reach of the river and learning how the dam was impacting fish habitat, the Hoffman Dam River Rats formed. They began publicizing the need for restoration of the watershed and the values of the "living river." They also pointed out safety concerns, as a number people have been injured going over the dam, resulting in one death.

The River Rats' efforts resulted in the Illinois Department of Natural Recourses creating a five-mile fish management zone in 1996, as well as the 1998 acceptance of a preliminary proposal for the removal of the dam by the Department of Natural Resources and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Public debate on this proposal is scheduled to take place later this year.

The River Rats are now beginning to work closely with the local chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU) and have throughout their efforts been modeling TU's approaches. These efforts have also helped to spawn another organization, the DesPlaines River Watershed Alliance, which is examining restoration possibilities throughout the basin. For additional information contact: Jason Gorski, Hoffman Dam River Rats (phone: 773.585.4004, e-mail:, web: or the DesPlaines River Watershed Alliance


**Price-Stubb Dam, Colorado River, Colorado**

Dam removal on the Upper Colorado

A twenty-year program which began 12 years ago to help preserve and restore habitat for endangered fish in the Upper Colorado may lead to the decommissioning of one dam on the river's main stem and building more fish passage around others. The Upper Colorado River Recovery Program, established by the federal government in 1988, is requiring all relevant agencies to make significant progress in restoring and preserving habitat for the Colorado Pikeminnow (Squawfish), Razorback Sucker, Humpback Chub and Boneytail Chub.

One area of focus is a 15-mile stretch of the Colorado above its confluence with the Gunnison designated as "critical habitat." There, three dams reside: the Grand Valley Irrigation Company Dam, the Price-Stubb Dam and the Grand Valley Project Diversion Dam (Roller Dam).

Working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and state and local agencies, Environmental Defense Fund and the Nature Conservancy have been influencing the design and implementation of a Recovery Action Plan completed two years ago. This document, combined with the Recovery Implementation Plan completed a number of years earlier, and now jointly referred to as the RipRap, set out the steps and timelines agencies need to adhere to to ensure that adequate measures are being taken to restore and preserve habitat so these agencies remain in compliance with the Endangered Species Act.

Last year, the Grand Valley Irrigation Company Dam was partially breached and a side channel for fish passage was installed. By the end of March 1999, the Bureau of Reclamation is due to release an environmental assessment on Price-Stubb Dam, which is owned by the Palisade and Mesa County Irrigation Districts and has been inoperable for the past 80 years. According to Steve Glazer of the Sierra Club's Colorado River Task Force, it is hoped that this dam will be nearly completely removed, leaving only its abutments (which now lie under an adjacent highway and rail line), and the dam's foundation (so as to minimize excessive streambed erosion downstream). Following action on Price-Stubb, attention will then focus on the last in the series of dams upstream, which activists hope can also be altered to allow fish passage. Combined, these actions will restore some 47 miles of fish habitat on the Upper Colorado.

For additional information contact: Steve Glazer, Sierra Club Colorado River Task Force (phone: 970.349.6646, e-mail:


**Matilija Dam, Matilija Creek, California**

Ventura County’s Elton Gallegly calls for dam removal study

Supporters of Matilija Dam removal may have found an ally in a Ventura County congressman who believes that removing the structure has merit because it could save fish and restore sand flows to the coast. Representative Elton Gallegly (Republican-Simi Valley) has called for the beginning of an investigation by federal engineers of how to remove the dam. This would be an initial step toward determining whether the proposal makes environmental and economic sense. As reported previously by River Revival, activists are already promoting the dam's removal. The LA Times is offering qualified support of the goals of restoring the local river system, and is urging the Army Corps to follow through on Gallegly's request to provide a thorough scientific study of the project's feasibility. While several estimates have been prepared, it would probably cost about $75 million to remove the dam and clear out the tons of sediment trapped behind it.

  • "Gallegly Calls for Study of Matilija Dam's Removal Nature: Congressman says structure may have outlived its usefulness and should come down. Environmentalists welcome support," Los Angeles Times, 26 January 1999.
  • "Study of Dam Removal Needed," Commentary, Los Angeles Times, 31 January 1999.
  • For the full stories visit:

**Englebright Dam, Yuba River, California**

Recreationists oppose draining Englebright Reservoir

A collection of 15 state and federal agencies, dubbed the CalFed Bay-Delta Program, has been working since 1995 to restore upward of 600 miles of salmon and steelhead habitat. CalFed first targeted Englebright Dam a year ago and is now preparing for an environmental study on how best to return fish to the upper reaches of the river. Meanwhile, opposition to draining Englebright Lake is emanating from stakeholders such as marina owner Dave Munro. The lake's supporters are determined to fight any effort even to study the prospect of decommissioning the dam. According to CalFed of all potential restoration options, the last and most drastic is eliminating the dam completely. "Anything we can do that most closely replicates the pre-dam natural process is desirable," said Dick Daniel, CalFed's assistant director for ecosystem restoration. With the dam in place, "it's not a natural system right now," said Maureen Rose of Friends of the River, a Sacramento-based river conservation group. "Those house boaters are using a river that has been lost, most importantly to the native fish species that need it for survival. I think that outweighs a small population of house boaters."

For more information contact Maureen Rose at Friends of the River (phone: 916.442.3155 ext. 223, email:, web:

  • "Drive to Demolish Big Dam Unleashes Flood of Anger: Residents, visitors assail plan to get rid of Englebright Lake to save dwindling fish supply, Los Angeles Times, 12 January 1999.


**Inland Northwest Columbia River Dam System, Washington/Oregon**

Gorton stalls Columbia River dam system studies

In the Pacific Northwest supporters of dam removal have a staunch opponent in Senator Slade Gorton (Republican-Washington State). Gorton recently said that studies of the Inland Northwest Columbia River dam system, one on McNary Dam alone, and another on four dams including McNary, should not get under way until Congress approves funds for them -- if it does. An official at the US Army Corps of Engineers, which would conduct the studies, said the agency was not planning to begin studies until the year 2000 -- and then only if Congress approves funding. "Maybe there was a misunderstanding,'' said Witt Anderson, district program manager in the Corps' Portland office. "Maybe Gorton is simply grandstanding for his constituents who view dam removal as a threat to their economic interests, but without further study, the true economic implications of removal will be difficult to determine."

  • "Gorton wants dam studies held back," Associated Press, 27 January 1999.

**Grangeville and Lewiston Dams, Clearwater River, Idaho**

Avista Corporation to compensate Nez Perce for damage to fish runs

Finally settling a 7-year-old lawsuit filed in the US District Court for Idaho, Avista Corporation agreed on 8 January 1999 to pay the Nez Perce Tribe $39.2 million over the next 45 years to settle claims made for damage to fish runs on the Clearwater River. The agreement also covers utility tax issues, rights of way, and tribal employment rights fees. The dams damaging the fish runs were built in 1903 at Grangeville and 1927 at Lewiston. Avista bought both in 1937.

  • "Avista to pay tribe $39.2 million alleged fish-run damage," The Spokesman-Review, 16 January 1999.


**Trout Unlimited a Major Player in Dam Decommissioning Efforts Across the US**

Trout Unlimited keeps busy on dam removal projects nation-wide

In the last issue of River Revival Bulletin we reported on dam removal activities in Vermont and we have recently learned of the key role Trout Unlimited (TU) is playing in these efforts as well as similar campaigns elsewhere in the United States. Keep an eye on the Bulletin for ongoing updates from TU on its activities across the country, including efforts on: Edwards Dam, Kennebec River, Maine (scheduled to be removed this summer); Madison Dam, Missouri-Madison River, Montana (fish kills due to warming of water in the reservoir); Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams, Elwha River, Olympic Peninsula, Washington State; Condit Dam, White Salmon River, Washington State (part of the Columbia-Snake River System Pacific Salmon Restoration); the Lower Snake River dams; and Savage Rapids Dam, Rogue River, Oregon (another Pacific salmon recovery site). For immediate information, contact Pete Rafle, TU's Director of Communications (phone: 03.284.9412, e-mail:, or Mona Janopaul, TU's Conservation Counsel (phone: 703.284.9405, e-mail:, or visit TU's website at:

TU makes its presence felt on Vermont’s Clyde River

Here's what TU's been up to in Vermont. TU has been working with the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) to protest the FERC relicensing of the No. 11 Dam and the rest of the Clyde River dams, focusing on the need to remove No. 11, which had dewatered a half mile of the Clyde and destroyed a regionally famous landlocked Atlantic salmon fishery. These conservation groups reached out to the local community for support for dam removal and eventually convinced the State of Vermont to support removal as well. Together, TU, VNRC, and Vermont convinced FERC that No. 11 should be removed, and, eventually, the licensee agreed to remove the dam. The No. 11 Dam was blown out in 1996, the Clyde River fishery in the lower river is recovering, and removal is now being considered for some of the upstream dams. For more information on the Clyde, call Dave Smith, former President, Northeast Kingdom Chapter TU (phone: 802.895.4220), or e-mail his son, Frank, the Chairman of TU's Vermont State Council at:

Inspired by the success of TU members in Northern Vermont, TU members in Central Vermont weighed into a relicensing for the Lamoille Project, which had been bogged down for over 15 years, advocating for removal of Peterson Dam. Again, TU and VNRC joined forces, and won state support, to wrest a settlement that provides for consideration of dam removal as an alternative to relicensing. TU and VNRC are again reaching out to the local community and getting funding for studies of dam removal. For more information, contact Braeden Fleming, President Central Vermont Chapter TU (phone: 802.656.4254, e-mail:


**Various dikes, Netherlands**

Dutch pursue strategic dike breaching to minimize flood damage

Flooding is always a threat for the Netherlands, where more than half of the country lies below sea level. The latest technique in the centuries-old struggle to keep people's feet dry would have once been thought too radical: strategic dike breaching. "We can't just go on endlessly building dikes higher and higher," said Henk Zomerdijk, mayor of the villages of Echteld and Ochten in the central Netherlands. "The higher they are, the more danger there is if they break." The Dutch call the expensive technique, which also includes deepening river channels, "making room for the river." Of course, the major question remains, as in many similar cases around the world, "who's going to foot the bill?"

  • "Dutch thwart flood danger with strategic holes in dikes," Nando Media and Associated Press, 19 January 1999.


Restoration profiled in two more mainstream publications!

Once again, dam decommissioning and river restoration were the focus of feature pieces in two national magazines. E! and Outside magazines ran articles in their January and February 1999 issues, respectively, which discussed the significant shift in national focus from dam building to dam removal. In Outside, Bruce Barcott concludes his article with the following, "Maybe Glen Canyon Dam and the four Snake River dams won't come out in my lifetime. But others will --small ones, and then bigger ones. And as more rivers return to life, we'll take a new census of emancipated streams: we freed the Neuse, the Kennebec, the Allier, the Rogue, the Elwha, and even the Tuolumne. We freed the White Salmon and the Souradabscook, the Ocklawaha and the Genesee. They will be untidy and unpredictable, they will flood and recede, they will do what they were meant to do: run wild to the sea."

  • "Damning Dams: Is One Of The Greatest Engineering Marvels Of The Industrial Age Becoming Obsolete?" E!, January-February 1999. The full story can be found at the following address:
  • "Blow Up: Swing a hammer, light a fuse, and let the dams come tumbling down. So goes the cry these days on American rivers, where vandals of every stripe - enviros and fishermen and interior secretaries, among others - wage battle to uncork the nation's bound-up waters," Outside, February 1999. View the full text at:


Take advantage of these outreach opportunities

Listed below are a number of upcoming conference which may be of interest. For a more extensive list, visit the "Outreach Opportunities" section of River Revival's web page. Please assist us in updating these lists by sending us key information on other gatherings you are aware of (e-mail us at:').

Friends of the River Annual Festival
February 19-21, San Francisco, California
(phone: 916.442.3155, e-mail:, web:

National Hydropower Association Conference: "Generating a Cleaner Tomorrow"
February 28-March 3, Washington, DC

University of Oregon Law School Public Interest Environmental Law Conference
March 4-7, Eugene, Oregon

International Day of Action Against Dams and for Rivers, Water & Life
March 14 (annual event worldwide)
(contact International Rivers at: 510.848.1155,',

World Wildlife Fund Rivers for Life Conference
March 14-17, Chattanooga, Tennessee
(800.CALL.WWF or 202.861.8369,,

Communities Working for Wetlands 3rd Annual American Wetlands Month Conference
March 18-20, San Francisco, CA
(contact Terrene Institute: 703.548.5473,

1999 Georgia Water Resources Conference
March 29-31, Athens, Georgia

Tennessee Clean Water Network Second Annual Conference
March 26-28, Nashville, Tennessee

American Fisheries Society, California-Nevada Chapter Annual Meeting
March 25-27, Redding, California

Trade Association of Paddle Sports 9th Annual East Coast Canoe & Kayak Symposium
April 16, James Island County Park, Charleston, South Carolina

US Committee on Large Dams Annual Conference (Topic: Aging Dams)
May 17-21, Atlanta, Georgia


Living Rivers Welcomes 7 New Members

Seven organizations recently signed on to the Walker Creek Declaration, joining the international Living Rivers coalition for the restoration of rivers and communities affected by dams:

  • Colorado Rivers Alliance (Colorado, USA)
  • Ed Henke Historical Research (Oregon, USA)
  • Hoffman Dam River Rats (Illinois, USA)
  • Natural Heritage Institute (California, USA)
  • Protect Our Public Lands (Oregon, USA)
  • Rivers Council of Washington (Washington State, USA)
  • Save Our Rivers (North Carolina, USA)

We thank them for their support. If you would like contact information for any of these groups, and/or know of other organizations which would be interested in endorsing the declaration and joining Living Rivers, please let us know.