No. 19, July 24, 2000

River Revival Bulletin

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

Editor: Elizabeth Brink & Anne Baker












River activists in Asia unite to fight dams, call for decommissioning

Anti-dam and river protection organizations in East and SE Asia have united to form a regional network to fight dams and protect rivers in East and SE Asia. At the First East and SE Asia Regional Meeting on Dams, Rivers and People, held from June 28-July 2, more than 60 participants from fourteen countries announced their intention to "unite our struggle at the local, national and international level so as to stop the funding of dam projects in East and SE Asia and to restore rivers to the communities who depend on them." Mr. Chainarong Srettachau, Director of Thai NGO Southeast Asia Rivers Network, the local organizer for the meeting, said, "the joining together of groups from all over East and SE Asia will provide a powerful force to protect the rights of communities who depend on rivers for their survival."

Participants at the meeting, which included dam-affected people from Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Taiwan and Cambodia, together with allies from across the region, produced the Pak Mun Declaration, which calls for: a moratorium on large dam construction until the problems created by existing dams have been rectified and reparations made to affected communities; the decommissioning of dams which have created irreversible social, environmental and cultural destruction, and; an immediate stop to the financing of dam projects by bilateral and multilateral organizations, particularly the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

Read the full Pak Mun Declaration at: For more information contact Aviva Imhoff, South East Asia Campaigner for International Rivers at', or 510.848.1155.


Victory at Rasi Salai

After months of occupying the site of Rasi Salai Dam and reservoir, and demanding decommissioning of the structure, villagers' voices are finally being heard. On July 6, 2000, Thailand's Science Minister Arthit Urirat ordered the Rasi Salai Dam's gates to be opened for two years. Arthit gave the order to the Department of Energy Development and Promotion (DEDP), and told the department to re-survey the land held by villagers around the reservoir after the water is released. He said the opening of the gates should solve the conflict between villagers and the DEDP, and reduce the saline levels in the reservoir area. In response, villagers demonstrating at the Rasi Salai Dam since May 2000 agreed to vacate their protest site on top of the dam, saying they were satisfied with government promises to have the dam's gates opened and the villagers' claims for compensation investigated. However, the Thai People's Organization, the Assembly of the Poor (AOP), has not had their demands met on other problematic projects, especially Pak Mun Dam, another structure that they are demanding be decommissioned.

For more information, contact Aviva Imhoff, South East Asia Campaigner for International Rivers at', or 510.848.1155.

(Hongthong, Pennapa, "Minister orders opening of Rasi Salai dam gates," The Nation, 7 July, 2000)
(Kongrut, Anchalee, "Rasi Salai dam sluice gates to open for two year: Protest applauds Artihit's decision," Bangkok Post, 7 July, 2000)
("Protesters moving out of dam site," The Nation, 9 July, 2000.)


Nepal wants removal of Indian-built dam

Nine Nepalese parties have demanded the demolition of an Indian-built dam on its side of the Rapti River, party officials said today. The construction of the Laxmanpur dam began in 1983 and was completed in 1998 by India in its territory, they said. The reservoir submerged thousands of hectares of arable land on the Nepali side of the border, affecting thousands of people. It also violates the unwritten understanding between Nepal and India not to undertake projects that adversely affect the other country. Members of Nepal's parliamentary foreign affairs and human rights committee and other lawmakers visited the site recently and completed an investigation into dam-affected villages. The Nepalese team claimed that the dam, built without the permission from the Nepalese Government, had flooded many villages and that more than 15,000 people from 33 villages could be potentially affected during the current monsoon.

("Nepal parties want Indian-built dam demolished," 25 June, 2000, AFP.)
("Show that you care," The Kathmandu Post, 22 January, 2000)


Danger in sales of PG&E hydroelectric dams

In one of the most ambitious electrical deregulation plans ever proposed, every piece of California's system of 174 dams, 99 reservoirs, 68 power plants, 380 miles of artificial waterways and hundreds of thousands of acres of land could be auctioned off by next year. The transfer would be the biggest of its kind and, while state regulators are still working out details, has raised concerns about how the need for providing electrical power would be balanced against the need to protect the environment. PG&E's move to unload its dams stems from a law requiring utilities to set a value for their power plants through sale, appraisal or divestiture by the end of 2001. The figure will be used to calculate charges to consumers to cover the costs of the plants.

PG&E originally sought to transfer its dams to a subsidiary of PG&E Corp., which would not be subject to state regulation as a utility. Consumer advocates, energy companies and others opposed the move, and the Legislature killed it last summer. More recently, PG&E has been negotiating a settlement that would allow transfer to a corporate subsidiary with new provisions to protect consumers by requiring the subsidiary to operate under contract with state regulators to share profits with ratepayers. The deal could be announced by the end of the month. Conservationists are skeptical, expressing outrage over what Assemblyman Fred Keeley called another "backroom deal." They fear the utility may circumvent environmental review through a settlement.

(Graff, Thomas J., 'What Rivers Know' - PG&E's dams come at a huge cost, but a proposed deal could further harm the Sierra," San Francisco Chronicle, 11 July, 2000. Full text was found at:
(Jehl, Douglas, "Hydroelectric system sale a concern," New York Times News Service, 19 July, 2000.)
(Moran, Tim, "PG&E suggests selling system," Modesto Bee, 26 June, 2000.)
(Woolfolk. John, "Offer to sell dams raises hopes, fears: PG&E effort to conform with deregulation seen as having impact on rivers, energy," San Jose Mercury News, 19 July, 2000.)

**Searsville Dam, San Francisquito Creek, CA**

Stanford University considers dam destruction

Searsville Dam on San Francisquito Creek is owned by Stanford University and located within their 1200-acre Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. Searsville Reservoir is now a liability to Stanford and a source of concern in the community because of its negative environmental impacts on the entire watershed. The sixty-foot-high dam was built in 1892, and since that time the reservoir has filled with sediments, reducing its capacity by almost 90 percent. Experts at Stanford believe that if nothing is done, the reservoir will become completely filled with sediments in around fifteen years. Stanford has recognized this problem and is looking into various solutions, which include lowering the dam by 16 feet or removing the entire structure. While the initial cost of removing the dam and trapped sediments would be high, the long-term cost of leaving the structure could be higher. Continued dam maintenance and downstream safety hazard liability would likely exceed the removal costs over time. "With the resources, connections, and collaborative web Stanford has in place, this task of dam removal could be accomplished. Basic economical, biological, and engineering principles all support the removal of an outdated, environmentally destructive, and potentially dangerous dam such as Searsville," writes Matt Stoecker, stream ecologist and principle advocate for removal.

For more information, consult the following articles, or contact Matt Stoecker at

(Cohen, Philippe S., "Preserve director has different view of Searsville Dam," The Almanac, 1 March, 2000. Full text available:
(McCabe, Michael, "Silt-laden lake offers opportunity: Stanford may destroy dam to save habitat," San Francisco Chronicle, 21 June, 2000. Full article originally recovered at:
(Stoecker, Matt, "Removing Searsville Dam: a damn good idea," Headwaters (Friends of the River), Spring 2000. Article on-line at:
(Stoecker, Matt, "What to do with Searsville Dam," The Almanac, 16 February, 2000. Full text at:

**Proposed Dam, San Joaquin River, CA**

New dam proposed for San Joaquin River

An irrigation district and a landowner are discussing construction of a dam on a tributary of the San Joaquin River, northeast of Fresno. Such talk has been political heresy during the last 15 years as environmentalists pressed lawsuits over the damage that dams have caused to fisheries. "Things have changed," said lawyer A. Ben Ewell, who owns property where the reservoir might be built. "I've talked to people around the state, and reservoir-building is discussed now as an option." Ewell and the Madera Irrigation District will look for public funding to help with a $100,000 study of the potential impacts associated with a 50,000- to 100,000- acre-foot reservoir, claiming that the project will provide water supply for restoration efforts on the San Joaquin River. A local environmentalist, Lloyd Carter of Save Our Streams, believes that reservoirs are too expensive these days and should not be financed with public money. He suspects the additional water storage would be mostly used in farming rather than restoration. "They want the public to fund it, but how much of this water will go to restoring the river?" he asked. "And what about the folks who live along Fine Gold Creek? Are they going to be flooded out?"

(Grossi, Mark, "Zounds! New dam above Millerton? Once a taboo idea, now it's being discussed," Fresno Bee, 24 June, 2000.)

**Daguerre Point Dam, Yuba River, CA**

Daguerre Point Dam study

A proposed $858,111 study would seek to determine impacts from Daguerre Point Dam on the Yuba River, which stands halfway between Englebright Reservoir and Marysville. Built in 1906 to catch hydraulic mining debris, the dam now serves as a diversion point for irrigation districts to the north and south of the river. Fish ladders on the north and south sides of the dam allow salmon and steelhead to swim upstream. Environmentalists, including the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), have criticized the fish ladders as inadequate. SYRCL says the dam blocks up to 40 percent of the Yuba's wild salmon and steelhead from more than 12 miles of spawning habitat. The proposed Yuba River study must compete for funding with about 140 other Calfed grant proposals, said Rebecca Fawver, a Calfed environmental specialist. "It's highly competitive," she said. "In October, out of 140 (applicants) we're identifying 30 to be funded."

(Omarzu, Tim, "Plan: Study Daguerre Point Dam's effect on fish," Grass Valley Union, 28 June, 2000.)
(Schrader, Don (chairman, Yuba County Water Agency Board of Directors), "Daguerra [sic] Point - A beneficial little dam on the Yuba River," Marysville Appeal-Democrat, 10 July, 2000.)

**Salinas Dam, Salinas River, CA**

Salinas Dam needs reinforcing

The Rinconada earthquake fault, located a mile from the Salinas Dam, is capable of generating a quake 10 times more powerful than previously thought - a finding that could have expensive consequences for San Luis Obispo's plans to enlarge Santa Margarita Lake. A new study commissioned by the city concludes the dam is strong enough to hold back the existing lake even during a quake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale - the largest temblor geologists believe the Rinconada can muster. But the dam would have to be strengthened before the water level could be raised further to boost the city's water supply. Reinforcing the dam could add as much as $11.3 million to the $20 million cost of the project, the city's consultants reported. The city's water supply is in good shape for the near future, but a major new source will be needed before the city can grow to a population of 52,200, the maximum size envisioned in its General Plan.

(Stover, Mike, "Fault line may raise price of water: Study finds Salinas Dam needs reinforcing before Santa Margarita Lake can be enlarged," San Luis Obispo Tribune, 12 July, 2000. Article posted on-line at:


Salmon restoration a priority in the Northwest

During the past 15 years, the federal government has spent some $3 billion on salmon recovery efforts. These include "drawdowns," which spill more water over the dams at certain times of the year, and barging young salmon downstream. Even so, the number of fish returning to spawn each year continues to decline. A new report released by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife highlights the significance of this species, revealing that more than 137 species of fish and wildlife, from killer whales to caddisflies, depend on the Northwest salmon for their survival. Recent research has found that salmon play a vital role in watershed health, transporting much needed nutrients from the ocean back to the watershed. The implication is that saving salmon is crucial to health of hundreds of species. This new research could spark major changes in fishery and hatchery management and the direction of salmon recovery efforts in the future.

(Durbin, Kathie, "Rescuing the salmon," Vancouver Columbian, 9 July, 2000. Full text found at:
(Hunt, Ed, "New Report Finds 137 Species Depend On Salmon," Tidepool, 28 June, 2000. On-line at:
(Knickerbocker, Brad, "Salmon protection plan with a sharp fin: Federal rules aiding migrating fish don't mollify environmentalists or businesses" Christian Science Monitor, 22 June, 2000.)
(Rose, Joseph, "Sacrifice for salmon a tough sell: Officials ponder ways to get Portland-area residents to change lifestyles and adopt new habits to protect endangered fish," Oregonian, 4 July, 2000. Text located at:

**Grand Coulee and Dry Falls dams, Columbia River, WA**

Drawdowns may reach reservoirs along the Columbia River

Efforts to save Columbia River salmon may limit recreation at two of Eastern Washington's most popular watery playgrounds. Under various proposals being considered by federal agencies, more water would be drawn from Lake Roosevelt (the reservoir at Grand Coulee Dam) and less pumped into Banks Lake (the reservoir at Dry Falls Dam) during some summers. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) may require these steps be taken so that more water remains in the Columbia to help migrating salmon. Lower water levels in the two lakes would render some docks, boat launches and swimming areas useless during the peak tourist season. Officials for the Spokane and Colville tribes fear it would expose archaeological sites to vandalism. NMFS's biological opinion does not require public hearings. However, a public comment period would be required before the Bureau of Reclamation could change operations at the dams.

(Hansen, Dan, "Drawdowns may hit lakes: Lowering of Roosevelt, Banks would hurt boating, aid salmon,"
9 July, 2000. Full text at: )

**Lower Snake River dams, Snake River, WA**

Lower Snake River dams update

While not ruling out a future decision to breach the Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite dams on the Lower Snake River, on July 19, 2000, the White House announced its intention to pursue other options for salmon recovery. Samuel N. Penney, chairman of the Nez Perce Tribe, said a decision to leave the dams in place probably means extinction for some runs of salmon and steelhead. Four populations of the fish, all listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, navigate the Washington dams to spawn in Idaho and Eastern Oregon. "The alarm on the extinction clock has gone off, and we do not have five or 10 years of precious time to waste," Penney said. Historically, as many as 16 million salmon and steelhead returned each year to the Columbia River Basin to spawn. Today, about 1 million adult fish are making it back to the spawning grounds, and most are hatchery-bred. Don Sampson, executive director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, which represents four tribes with treaty rights to Columbia River salmon and steelhead, said the tribes are considering legal action against the federal government due to the decimation of fisheries. Sampson said the federal government is "squandering" an enormous investment in science, which he said concludes that harvestable levels of salmon will not return unless Snake River dams are breached. "Their position is not legally defensible."

For more information on the campaign to remove the Lower Snake River dams, visit the Columbia and Snake Rivers Campaign at

(Barnett, Jim and Brinkman, Jonathan, "4 dams will stay for now," The Oregonian, 19 July, 2000.)
(Hayes, Justin and Masonis, Rob, "More than 27,000 new jobs would be created by bypassing four Snake River dams to save salmon," American Rivers press release, 10 July, 2000.)
(Hughes, John, "Foes await reports on Basin dams: Federal officials expected to announce that dams will stand for years to come," Associated Press, 16 July, 2000. Full article on-line at0:


Groups seek study of Colorado River watershed

A coalition of more than fifty environmental organizations led by Glen Canyon Action Network (GCAN) of Moab, Utah, recently called on the US Bureau of Reclamation to conduct a Colorado River basinwide study on strategies for recovering populations of endangered native fish species. The coalition called on the Bureau to analyze, in its proposed Flaming Gorge Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), an alternative to decommission the dam and remove non-native fish from the Green River in northeastern Utah. Water quality concerns also have been raised regarding the proliferation of polluting personal watercraft used by recreational users of Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The federal Endangered Species Act requires the Bureau to work towards full species recovery. GCAN and other groups point out that the Bureau often avoids both the reduction of water diversions and consideration of dam decommissioning even though these elements are known to contribute significantly to the endangerment of the fish.

GCAN invites other interested parties to join the coalition's call for a river basinwide study of endangered fish recovery needs. For additional information, please see GCAN's website at Contact them at 435.259.1063; Comments are due on the Flaming Gorge EIS by September 5, 2000.

**Glen Canyon Dam, Colorado River, CO/UT**

Babbitt leaves the Glen Canyon Dam question for next administration

Despite hinting two years ago that he might support draining Lake Powell to restore natural flow in the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt told the mayors of three Southwest communities last weekend that he's opposed to draining the lake, a 186-mile-long reservoir backed by the dam, an Interior spokesman confirmed Monday. More than a dozen dams have been decommissioned since Babbitt took over leadership of Interior in January 1993. He has likened their removal to taking a sledgehammer to them in the name of restoring river systems. It's possible Babbitt is being careful to avoid offending politicians and developers in his home state of Arizona, claims David Orr of Moab, Utah's Glen Canyon Action Network, "After he's finished at Interior, he'll be looking for something to do. We think the Interior Department is of two minds on this issue," Orr continued. "There is evidence that many people think decommissioning the dam makes a lot of sense. Obviously, Secretary Babbitt will be in office less than a year. He's punting, obviously, to the next administration."

(Glasenapp, Todd, "Babbitt won't drain lake on his watch," Arizona Daily Sun, 18 July, 2000.)
(Slivka, Judd, "The fight to pull Lake Powell's plug: Two sides tangle over Glen Canyon Dam," Arizona Republic, 13 July, 2000. Full text at:

**Trinidad Dam, Purgatoire River, CO**

Reunion of residents ousted by reservoir at Trinidad Dam

Sopris is a drowned town, inundated in 1977 by the creation of Trinidad Lake. But memories of the closeness, harmony and family ties of the community linger, and Sunday will reunite 850 former residents at a lakeside picnic. Joe Terry, who was 31 when the dam-building began, was one of the last to leave. "I was born and raised there. I taught school there. My heart was broken," said Joe Terry, 31, who now lives in Trinidad and was one of the last to leave the town. "Sopris was a beautiful rose. The friendships and the closeness lingers and will last forever."

Periodic floods of the Purgatoire River prompted the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation to build a dam west of Trinidad to control the high flows. When the dam was completed on the headwaters of the Arkansas River, water backed up behind the concrete wedge and submerged Sopris. Drowned towns abound in Colorado, where canyons form perfect wedges for damming rivers. But Sopris is special among the communities lost to reservoirs. That's because its former residents and the children of residents persist in traveling hundreds of miles to reunite. Sunday will be the fourth such gathering in 30 years.

(Frazier, Deborah, "Keeping memories afloat: Former residents of submerged Sopris to reunite," Denver Rocky Mountain News, 1 July, 2000. Article on-line at:

**Wide Hollow Dam, Escalante River, UT**

Dam plan debated in Escalante

A quarrel is raging whether the current, unstable Wide Hollow Dam should be rebuilt at its present location, or if a few miles of desert riverbed should be dried up so that a larger, stronger replacement can be built upstream in a nearby canyon. A relocated Wide Hollow Dam and reservoir would capture water about five miles upstream of the current site, and prevent it from reaching tributaries of the Escalante River - Birch Creek and North Creek. Both tributaries are healthy streams, which is especially significant in such an arid region. "This habitat is priceless," said Daniel Patterson, an ecologist and environmental activist who opposes the new dam. "You can't buy that." Critics question whether conserving water will get any attention when a new reservoir is built, in either location. They also question the wisdom of drying up the streams to provide water for alfalfa and stock that don't contribute much to the local economy. Critics of a new dam also point to the cost: $6.8 million to refurbish the existing dam and $7.5 million to build one in a new location. The project will be publicly financed, with a $2 million grant from the Legislature and a 50-year, interest-free loan from the state Board of Water Resources.

(Fahs, Judy, "Canyon Quarrel: Dam Plan Creates Debate In Escalante," Salt Lake Tribune, 10 July, 2000. Full article found at:

**Irrigation dams, Rio Grande River, NM**

Irrigation water ordered released for restoration of the Rio Grande watershed

The federal Bureau of Reclamation asserted ownership of the Middle Grande Conservancy District's dams and ditches on July 6, 2000. Bureau leaders ordered the district to leave enough water in the Rio Grande to keep it flowing between San Acacia and Elephant Butte, a key part of the silvery minnow's critical habitat. Conservancy district leaders say farmers need the water, too, and they questioned the federal government's authority over the district. A July 24 hearing will help settle the dispute. The hearing stems from a lawsuit, filed in federal court by several environmental groups last year, aimed at keeping the river flowing and protecting the silvery minnow. Environmental groups argue that protecting the minnow, listed as an endangered species since 1994, is needed to save a river ecosystem in severe decline, and insist that the Bureau is required to do everything it can to help save the endangered fish.

(McKay, Dan, "Minnow ruling questioned," Albuquerque Journal, 11 July, 2000. Full text found at:


**Chair Factory Dam, Milwaukee River, WI**

Agency calls for removal of hazardous dam

The 153-year-old Chair Factory dam on the Milwaukee River above Falls Road is a significant safety hazard and should be removed this year at state expense, the Department of Natural Resources says in a draft report released at the end of June 2000. The 8-foot-tall concrete dam is crumbling apart, and the spillway has broken off of the main structure. In the past, water spilled into the millrace to provide hydraulic power needed for historic businesses. Today, a wall of the former millrace below the dam is in danger of collapsing. The absence of gates for controlling water levels during flooding is another reason the dam is considered unsafe, according to the report. In a 1997 advisory referendum, a majority of Village of Grafton voters rejected a proposal for the village to take full ownership of the dam and begin repairs. The Legislature had set aside $264,000 for demolition and removal, and that money is likely to cover the full cost of the work, while replacing the dam would cost over a million dollars. The dam has been abandoned by its owners, and Wisconsin state law requires removal of a deteriorated dam if its owners do not take responsibility for repairing the structure, and a new owner does not come forward.

(Behm, Don, "DNR calls for removal of dam in Grafton - Report says Chair Factory dam is hazardous; village won't contest destruction," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 June, 2000.)

Dam removal training

The River Alliance of Wisconsin and Trout Unlimited National will be holding a training workshop for citizens and citizen groups that are interested in increasing consideration of river restoration through dam removal in their communities. This workshop will be targeted at providing training to people in the Great Lakes Basin (MN, WI, MI, IL, IN, OH, NY, PA, Ontario). It will be a 2-day long event, held in southeastern Wisconsin, in November 2000. Specific dates, location and content will be announced soon.

If you would like to receive more information about this unique training event, or about small dam removal in Wisconsin (such as the Chair Factory Dam mentioned previously), please contact: Stephanie Lindloff, River Alliance of Wisconsin, Small Dams Program Manager, at

**Smith's Mill Pond Dam, OH**

Ohio dam in danger of collapse

The historic Smith's Mill Pond Dam was in danger of collapsing on July 14, 2000, forcing the evacuation of as many as 40 residents from the Crystal Springs area, according to township officials. Fire Captain Steve Mattern said there appeared to be weak spots and some breaks along much of the dam, which forms the pond's 300-foot southwestern bank. "It's not overflowing, it's deteriorating underneath," Mattern said. At about 5:45 p.m., Jim and Annette Herman saw a 3-foot diameter chunk come out of the earthen dam. Trees and branches came out of the hole, they said. "When we saw that, we thought, `There she goes' and got out lawn chairs (to watch)," said Jim Herman.

(Higgins, John, Hoffman, Steve. & Oplinger, Doug, "Stark dam starts to crumble: Jackson structure at risk of collapsing under pressure of Smith's Mill Pond," Akron Beacon Journal, 15 July, 2000. Article found on the Web at:


**Edwards Dam, Kennebec River, ME**

Kennebec River revived after Edwards Dam removal

A lively group of Atlantic sturgeon greeted government officials, scientists, anglers, and environmentalists Thursday as they marked the first anniversary of the removal of 24-foot tall, 917-foot long Edwards Dam in Augusta, Maine. The removal of Edwards Dam on July 1, 1999 launched the restoration of the Kennebec River, from Augusta to Waterville. Migratory fish, including alewives, striped bass, shad, sturgeon and Atlantic salmon have traveled from the sea past the old dam site to Winslow for the first time in 162 years. "Six new rapids have been revealed following the removal of the dam," adds Steve Brooke, project coordinator for the Kennebec River Coalition for 10 years. "People are beginning to understand the trade-off we make when we put a dam in the river," Brooke continued. "If hydropower did to our air systems what it does to our river systems, we would have abandoned it a long time ago."

(Higgins, Margot, "Kennebec River revived after Edwards Dam removal," 30 June, 2000. Full story at:


**Butler No. 2 WSP No. 2 Dam, Kissimmee River, FL**

Dam destroyed to help restore the Kissimmee

A thunderous red-and-yellow flash sent chunks of concrete hurtling through the air on June 19, 2000. The blast, on the Kissimmee River south of Sebring, signaled the destruction of an 8-foot high dam, one of the last vestiges of what many say was perhaps Florida's worst environmental mistake. Workers dynamited the lock/dam in Highlands County as part of a $500 million restoration of the Kissimmee River. About 40 years ago, in an effort to provide flood control for developing residential and business areas in the upper reaches of Central Florida -- including Walt Disney World -- the Army Corps of Engineers turned the meandering Kissimmee River into a 30-foot-deep by 300-foot-wide, 56-mile-long canal and destroyed 30,000 to 35,000 acres of wetlands. The wetlands restoration is expected to reduce the amount of harmful nutrients going into Lake Okeechobee by about 20 percent, and greatly increase the amount of habitat for 320 species of fish, birds and other wildlife. "The bottom line is that real rivers don't have dams, they don't have water-control structures, they don't have locks," said Lou Toth, project scientist. "We are getting rid of all three of those to allow the river to have an opportunity to heal itself."

(Long, Phil, "Dam destroyed to help restore the Kissimmee," Miami Herald, 20 June, 2000. Article found at:

**Rodman (Kirkpatrick) Dam, Oklawaha River, FL**

Conservative Governor announces support for draining Rodman Reservoir

Florida Governor Jeb Bush announced Friday what he wants to do with the controversial dam at Rodman Reservoir: Tear it down and restore the Ocklawaha River. "This is consistent with the governor's efforts to restore some of the state's largest waterways,'' said Bush aide Colleen Castille, naming the Everglades, Johns River and Lake Okeechobee as examples. "We just think it's the right thing to do.'' It was also the only choice, said Bob Sparks, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. Fish kills in the 1980s wiped out more than 10-million fish, and the 43-foot high dam is also a hazard for endangered manatees crushed in its locks. Ripping out the dam will cure those ills, say river activists, who contend the river will largely restore itself. "Sometimes you have to yield to nature and realize it's dynamic," DEP Secretary David Struhs said Friday. "That means removing the dam."

For more information about the campaign to remove Rodman (Kirkpatrick) Dam, visit the Web site of Florida Defenders of the Environment (FDE) at, or contact Leslie Straub, FDE Executive Director at, or call 352.378.8465.

(Pittman, Craig, "Governor sounds the death knell for dam at Rodman: A federal deadline finally forces an end to the battle over restoring the Ocklawaha River," St. Petersburg Times, July, 2000.)