No. 29, September 10, 2001

River Revival Bulletin

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

Editors: Elizabeth Brink and Wil Dvorak

table of contents










TAKE ACTION! Protest Morgan Stanley's destructive financing

Who do you think steps in when the World Bank responds to public pressure and pulls out of projects with disastrous human rights and environmental consequences? Private banks fill the void when multilateral lending institutions pull out of big development projects. One such lender is Morgan Stanley, which is financing the infamous Three Gorges Dam in China, PetroChina pipeline in Tibet, and the reckless deforestation of Indonesian rainforests by Asia Pulp and Paper. But without environmental or social criteria to guide which projects they choose, corporate banks will finance destructive projects in developing countries until consumers and shareholders hold them accountable.

International Rivers and Students for a Free Tibet urge you to demand that Morgan Stanley stop financing destructive projects and to boycott the bank's Discover credit card and brokerage services. Give Morgan Stanley CEO Philip Purcell a piece of your mind.

Send a FREE FAX today!

For more information, visit:
International Rivers
International Campaign for Tibet


Rajendra chosen for Magsaysay award for water conservation

Rajendra Singh from India's northwestern state of Rajasthan, who was bestowed with this year's Ramon Magsaysay award for community leadership, is involved in water conservation efforts by constructing 'johads' (small dams). Singh rejuvenated the Ruparel River at Lava-ka-Baas in Alwar district of Rajasthan by harvesting rainwater in hundreds of villages by constructing the 'johads.' On the recent controversy over a government order to Rajendra asking him to remove the dam structures as they were on government land, Daddha said it was those with vested interests who made such demands.

(The Press Trust of India, "Rajendra chosen for Magsaysay award for water conservation," 30 July 2001.)


Quebec still in the business of building dams

The latest scheme from Hydro Quebec is a proposal to build 36 new dams on 24 rivers across the province. In May, Quebec Natural Resources Minister Jacques Brassard said the government had identified 36 natural waterfalls and rapids as candidates for possible damming by private companies. Hydro Quebec, with a net profit of more than $1 billion in 2000, wants to construct the dams to make money. Quebec produces enough electricity for domestic consumption. Surplus electricity can be sold in the U.S. As dams have been constructed in Quebec, ecological concerns have been ignored and the environment has been devastated. The U.S. is finally realizing that dams constructed over the last century have caused irreparable harm. Dams blocking the migration of spawning fish, such as the salmon and trout of the Pacific Northwest, have caused major decline and even the extinction of native fish populations. Quebec has turned its back on the environment, suggesting that even the Rouge River in the beautiful Laurentians could be a site for a dam. Thousands visit the area every year to paddle the white water rapids and pristine pools. It seems the only ones in Quebec who care are a few environmental groups and the Innu and Cree, the native peoples whose lands have been devastated by the dams creating huge reservoirs in northern Quebec. A massive dam built on the La Grande River created a huge reservoir. Camp sites and burial grounds are now under water and massive herds of migrating caribou drowned. Wilderness roads constructed to build dams have promoted the clear-cutting of timber, mining and industrial development in fragile areas.

(Egan, D'arcy, "Dam the ecology if Quebec goes full speed ahead," The Plain Dealer, 29 July 2001.)

us - general

More dam rehabilitation and expansion seen

Rather than build new dams, an increasing number of agencies and lenders plan to upgrade, expand or remove existing ones -- despite a "sharp decline in lending for new dams,'' said Alessandro Palmieri, the World Bank's lead dam specialist, at a Denver meeting of the U.S. Society on Dams on July 30. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to kick off mobilization efforts to gain political and financial support for repairing 2,100 unsafe dams, including 600 high-hazard ones, said Craig S. Wingo, FEMA director of National Earthquake and Dam Safety Programs. And the American Society of Civil Engineers also plans to issue a comprehensive white paper soon on dam-removal issues, added John Durrant, ASCE institutes executive director.

("More dam rehabilitation and expansion seen," Engineering News-Record, 6 August 2001.)

New BuRec chief sees role for construction

After a 34-year-career at the Bureau of Reclamation, John W. Keys was nominated for bureau chief on June 14, quickly won Senate confirmation and was sworn in July 17. After living through a painful downsizing that trimmed Reclamation's work force about 25% since the early 1990s, Keys plans no further big cutbacks or major reorganizations. He has worked with diverse groups over tough issues such as protecting endangered salmon by having the agency buy water from irrigators. "He's really demonstrated over time he can take conflicts and resolve them,'' said Senator Larry Craig. Environmentalists have blasted some Bush appointees but Keys is an exception. "He's an honest, thorough, capable and professional individual,'' says Dan Beard, National Audubon Society Chief Operating Officer and a former BuRec commissioner. "I think John will give the environmental community, particularly, a fair hearing.'' Keys pledges to work with environmentalists, but unfortunately adds, "I don't believe in taking down 'good' dams,'' such as Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. "I would oppose its removal vehemently.'' He does allow that "there are some old, broken-down ones that are doing more harm than good'' and could go. Keys, who has a bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering, says that "people are right that we are not a 'construction agency' any more.'' But, he notes, "There's always a construction role. Always. Because you have to have construction to manage water.''

(Ichniowski, Tom, "New reclamation chief sees role for construction," Engineering News-Record, 6 August 2001.)

Appropriations: house approves ag bill, dam repair

The House approved the $15.67 billion fiscal year 2002 agriculture appropriations bill after discarding a provision that prevents the Agriculture Department from using any funds to implement the Kyoto Protocol. Signaling a break from the past congressional stance on global warming, the House passed an amendment striking language from the bill that prevents the use of funds for any implementation of the Kyoto agreement on climate change. "The science is clear that our climate is changing, and the federal government should make every possible effort to reverse this trend," Olver said. Another amendment offered by Representative Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) would earmark $3 million to fund the repair of the nation's 10,000 watershed dams. Lucas warned that a failure to fund the flood control structures could lead to disaster if the dams, now reaching the end of their 50-year lifespans, begin to break from disrepair. Lucas' amendment easily passed on a voice vote. Although they had not seen the Lucas amendment, American Rivers gave the bill their qualified support, on the condition that only dams supported by a positive cost-benefit analysis be rehabilitated. Environmentalists, who complained that the appropriations bill does not contain enough money for environmental protection and shuts down three popular conservation programs, saw little effort from lawmakers to address their grievances.

(Franz, Damon, "Appropriations: house oks ag bill, strikes ban on climate; change spending," Greenwire, 12 July 2001.)

us - california

Dam busting is aimed at helping steelhead trout spawn in Alameda Creek

Two small dams within the Sunol Regional Wilderness will be demolished, both to eliminate public safety hazards and to create a more suitable habitat for trout and other creek life, East Bay Regional Park District officials said. "We get to do something good for the environment," California Resources Secretary Mary Nichols told a crowd of about 100 assembled at the park on August 17. "Years and years of effort have gone into bringing us to this day." Nichols said the dam removals within the park, along with larger ones planned further downstream toward the Bay, offer a chance to rectify the harm to steelhead resulting from urbanization. The dam removal will be completed next week with more suitable equipment. But the August ceremonial event was attended by representatives of local, state and federal agencies, along with citizens groups that have worked for many years to restore a steelhead run along Alameda Creek. "I'm feeling really good," said Jeff Miller of the Alameda Creek Alliance. "With a little luck, we'll have all our fish passage problems out of the way by the end of 2003. Two other bigger dams, in Niles Canyon below the town of Sunol, are nonfunctioning and will be removed by the San Francisco Water Department in 2002 or 2003 to help steelhead migrate upstream. The water agency is still conducting environmental studies and working to come up with the needed $1.8 million.

For more information contact Jeff Miller of the Alameda Creek Alliance at 510.845.4675, or e-mail them at

(Brewer, Bonita, "Dam-busting is aimed at helping steelhead trout spawn in Alameda Creek," Contra Costa Times, 18 August 2001.)

Senate CALFED bill criticized but some funds are approved

In July the Senate approved a fiscal 2002 energy and water appropriations bill that includes $40 million for projects related to the CALFED plan. The appropriations bill's CALFED items include $5 million for preconstruction work on Shasta Dam, near Redding, and $1 million for preconstruction at Los Vaqueros Reservoir south of Sacramento. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) welcomed the appropriators' action, but her CALFED authorization bill wasn't universally welcomed at the water and power panel hearing. Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton said the Bush administration has "significant concerns'' about the measure's cost-sharing provision, open-ended funding authorizations and accelerated project approvals. The approval provisions also were criticized by the political left. Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative George Miller, both California Democrats, believe that the bill takes away too much congressional oversight over CALFED components. Feinstein said the CALFED plan is estimated to cost $8 billion to $12 billion. Her legislation would authorize $3 billion in federal funds over seven years toward that total. About $1 billion would go for ecosystem restoration. Her proposal also aims to improve the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ecosystem by restoring tributaries and other habitat and removing dams that hamper migrating fish. But Feinstein believes that California's water problems can't be solved without additional storage. Her measure seeks to add to water supply, in part by expediting reviews of projects to raise Shasta Dam, expanding Los Vaqueros Reservoir and establishing new storage in the Delta.

(Ichniowski, Tom, "Senate 'Calfed' bill criticized but some funds are approved," Engineering News-Record, 30 July 2001.)

us - northwest

Northwest looks to improve dams

With all major dam sites in the Northwest US used up or ruled out, the era of building big hydropower plants here is over. The days of increasing hydropower production are not. Spurred by California's blackouts and dramatic increases in the cost of energy, producers are exploring streams to see which could sustain minihydro projects. They're improving efficiency and adding turbines at existing dams. They're looking at some non-power-generating dams, such as those used strictly for flood control or irrigation, to see if turbines could be installed. Canada's reaction to the energy situation is similar. Its Columbia River Basin power producers are expanding, or plan to expand soon, generating capacity at four dams on the Kootenay and Pend Oreille rivers. The United States has 30,000 megawatts of undeveloped hydropower capacity at 5,677 sites, according to a 1998 report by the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. Their Hydropower Resource Assessment (available on-line at gives a state-by-state listing of sites that were investigated. Environmentalists who have been focusing on the need to remove or reoperate some of the nations dams are uneasy about new proposals for boosting hydropower. For example, adding turbines to an irrigation dam could result in dramatic fluctuations of downstream flows - possible bad news for fish, and people who enjoy boating. Even small hydro plants that don't require reservoirs can take water out of streams and require roads that intrude on wildlife habitat. Brett Swift of the conservation group American Rivers offers another proposal, "We need to focus on new, renewable sources such as wind power. We also need to take full advantage of energy efficiency savings."

(Titone, Julie, "NW looks to improve dams," The Spokesman-Review, 29 July 2001.)

Low water causes problems for migrating fish

Diverted from a ladder by low water problems, thousands of fish have been congregating at the bottom of the Tumwater Dam on the Wenatchee River, unable or unwilling to pass by. Thousands of fish - sockeye salmon, endangered spring chinook and steelhead, and summer chinook - were not using the fish ladder and collecting at the bottom of the dam near Leavenworth, said Perry Harvester, who works for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife in Yakima and is a coordinator for managing the effects of the state's 2001 drought. Blame it, at least in part, on some devices called energy dissipators, installed at the dam to alter water currents and improve the movement of fish toward the ladder. "The original intent was good," Harvester said. However, "during drought, (the dissipators) have the opposite effect - fish are attracted to the dam, rather than the ladder," he said. "Significant numbers of fish were visibly held up." So fish managers started making some changes last week, and fish passage went from 175 to 1,300 daily afterward.

(Ashton, Linda, "Low water causes problems for migrating fish," The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 3 August 2001.)

Legislation may pressure White House on Snake dams

Legislation mandating contingency plans for removal of the four hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River was introduced in late July, partly to pressure the White House to follow the salmon recovery plan finalized last December. The Army Corps of Engineers spent several years and millions of dollars developing that plan and looked at the effect of dam removal on transportation, energy, pollution and other issues in the Northwest, but the bill moves the ball by directing another agency to plan for dam removal and mitigating the lost benefits, backers say. The dams -- Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite -- were built by the Corps in the 1960's and 70's. Since then, several types of Snake River salmon and trout have been listed under the Endangered Species Act, and environmentalists especially have blamed the dams for plummeting fish numbers. The December Corps recovery plan calls for habitat improvements, changes in dam operations and other efforts less drastic than dam breaching. Highly skeptical of the plan, environmentalists say its only chance of success is full funding and support by relevant federal and state agencies.

(Breen, Tim, "Salmon: bill may pressure white house on Snake dams," Greenwire, 20 July 2001.)

Conservative group protests water reserved for endangered species

More than 1,000 farms in Oregon's Klamath Basin that normally draw water from Upper Klamath Lake have gone dry because federal agencies reserved its water for endangered suckers and threatened coho salmon. It's an issue that hits close to home for many in the Mid-Columbia River Basin, as environmentalists push for removal of Snake River dams, which help irrigate land here. About 30 people attended the noon rally and donated food to be taken to Oregon families. The event was organized by the Patriot Newsmen, a Tri-City-area group named in honor of Thom Spencer, a KVEW television weatherman who spoke out in support of George W. Bush last year. "The Patriot Newsmen is sympathetic to the plight of the Klamath Falls farmers because if the federal government can destroy farms in one region in the name of the environment, it can destroy farms all over the country," said the group in a prepared statement. Several at the rally said they feared the irrigation shutoff in Oregon was part of a land grab. Once farmers go bankrupt, the land will be purchased for little money by an environmental group, then resold to the government at a profit, they said. The group also is distributing petitions urging the federal government to "let the water flow."

(Cary, Annette, "Klamath County, Ore., Water Fight Comes to Richland, Wash." Tri-City Herald, 25 July 2001.)

us - midwest

Dam causes drownings in Wisconsin

One confirmed and one presumed drowning in separate August boating incidents involving a dam on the Baraboo River underscore the need for anglers and boaters to be careful near dams, officials say. Meg Galloway, DNR dam safety engineer, was unaware of past fatalities at this privately owned dam, which the DNR will soon take ownership of and remove because of its deteriorated condition and the potential to restore water quality and fisheries. Galloway said it was important for people to treat with caution each of the more than 3,500 dams on Wisconsin rivers and streams, which range from the large hydropower dams spanning the Wisconsin River to drainage ditches and small creeks dammed to create farm ponds. Whenever water drops, it picks up speed. Cascading water slams over the top of a dam and piles up at the bottom faster than it can flow away. If the water flows slowly enough, the cascading water forms waves at the bottom and gently flows downstream. If the drop is steep or the water flows faster, the water creates a vacuum-like hole at the bottom of the dam. "The current flows away from the dam but a portion of the water circulates back toward the dam to fill in the hole. That back-circulating current is called a backroller, and it's a killer," Galloway said. There are other hazards associated with dams. Boaters upstream can be swept with the current through or over a dam, and people downstream can experience a sudden rise in water level or unpredictable currents. There are other hazards associated with dams. Boaters upstream can be swept with the current through or over a dam, and people downstream can experience a sudden rise in water level or unpredictable currents.

("Outdoor Notes," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12 August 2001.)

Menominee sturgeon restoration project considered success

A Menominee Indian project which has restored sturgeon to reservation lakes was used as an example of success for hundreds of environmentalists attending the International Symposium on Sturgeon. Threats to sturgeon populations in Europe have brought attention to the United States for its management techniques aimed at preserving the species. The sturgeon has significance in the Menominee culture as the younger brother of the bear, said Ann Runstrom of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We've stocked more than 30,000 lake sturgeon in the reservation lakes" since 1994, Runstrom said. "All these sturgeon were hatched from Wolf River strains." After the successful reintroduction of sturgeon, the Menominee developed a management plan for preserving the species. It addresses the issues of habitat, law enforcement, disease control and public education. "Wisconsin is fortunate that they have a lake sturgeon population where there are harvest opportunities," said Karl Scheidegger, a fisheries biologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The current plan calls from removing dams that inhibit the upstream movement of sturgeon.

(The Associated Press State & Local Wire, "Menominee's sturgeon restoration project considered success," 12 July 2001.)

us - northeast

Shad return to East Coast rivers

Once, American shad swam up Atlantic coastal rivers in huge masses each spring, when instinct - or some inner compass - lured them by the millions from the ocean to their ancestral spawning beds. American shad - a brawny species that can grow to 30 inches long - have been locked out of their natal rivers for much the past century, thwarted by dams built to power mills, feed canals and generate electricity. In other places, such as the Delaware River near Philadelphia, contamination created "pollution blocks" that prevented them from reproducing. But the tide is again shifting in favor of the shad. Dam removal and hatchery programs, stricter pollution controls, construction of fish passage systems, and fishery restrictions in the Atlantic are all helping. And nowhere is the comeback more convincing than in Pennsylvania. In the past few years, on the Susquehanna, Juniata, Delaware, Schuylkill and Lehigh rivers, shad are again darting upstream, mating - and then usually dying - in places they haven't haunted in years. The fish are making similar returns to rivers in New England and in other states that include Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. In Pennsylvania, the state Fish and Boat Commission has driven the restoration effort, removing 60 dams in the past six years and releasing millions of hatchery-raised shad "fry" to ensure populations can rebound. There is clear evidence shad are coming back.

For more information, please visit:
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission:
Chesapeake Bay Program:

(May Timothy D., "Itinerant saltwater fish returns to East Coast rivers," The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 13 August 2001.)

Fort Halifax Dam, Sebasticook River, ME
Fish lift's cost may decide future of Winslow dam

The future of Fort Halifax Dam on the Sebasticook River hinges pretty much on one thing - money, according to power company officials who own the hydro facility. F. Allen Wiley, director of business and regulatory affairs for FPL Energy, said the company is required to provide fish passage up the Sebasticook by May 1, 2003, as part of its federal license. The question yet to be answered, he said, is whether FPL can afford to continue operations at the hydro dam if it has to pay the high cost of installing a fish-lift system. The alternative, he said, is to surrender the license and either remove the dam or turn it over to another group. The mandate of fish passage on the Sebasticook was signed in 1999 as a part of the Edwards Dam Removal Agreement. Edwards Dam, on the Kennebec River in Augusta, was removed in July of that year, allowing several species of sea-run fish to swim up river to the Waterville-Winslow area for the first time since 1837. Kennebec Coalition members, who support the idea of dam removal, say the Sebasticook River should be returned to its original form.

(Harlow, Doug, "Fish lift's cost may decide future of Winslow dam," Central Maine SaturdayMorning Sentinel, 4 August 2001.)

Boat race to commemorate pool stream-restoration project

About two years ago, officials at the Wildlands Conservancy removed a small dam on the Little Lehigh in the conservancy's Pool Wildlife Sanctuary. Next week, the conservancy will celebrate this stream restoration project in a fitting way, with a boat race. Contestants get to build their own small boats from recycled materials and then race the craft along the Little Lehigh. The course includes a shaded stretch where the dam once was located. The dam at Pool, a former farm, was a low-head dam, the kind built by farmers to tap water from a creek for irrigation or water power. In researching the dam, however, Wildlands officials couldn't find any records related to it. In the past two years, the Little Lehigh has regained some of its natural meander, and vegetation planted in the months after the dam was removed has reclaimed the bank, making it much more difficult to see where the dam actually was. The program also incorporates talks by Wildlands experts on how dam removal benefits overall stream health.

(Blangger, Tim, "Boat race to commemorate pool stream-restoration project," The Morning Call, 26 July 2001.)

Growing Greener grants for Pennsylvania counties

Governor Tom Ridge today announced that more than 237 organizations in nearly every Pennsylvania county will receive a total of $30 million in "Growing Greener" grants for watershed restoration, protection and education. The groups receiving grants have matched the state's investment with $39 million in additional funding, totaling more than $110 million in matching funds for the three grant rounds. "There are many reasons to protect our watersheds -- quality of life, economic benefits, recreation, flood protection and open space," Gov. Ridge said. The environmental improvements these grants will facilitate include: 500 acres of abandoned mines reclaimed; 188 acres of wetlands created or restored; 20 oil and gas wells plugged; 114 miles of streams impacted by acid mine drainage cleaned; 60 miles of riparian buffer planted; 95 miles of stream banks improved; and 20 new watershed groups formed. For more information on "Growing Greener," visit

("PA Gov. Ridge Announces $30 Million in Growing Greener' Grants For Nearly Every PA County," PR Newswire, 24 July 2001.)

Lowell Mill Dam, Little River, NC
Neighbors square off over dam

The Lowell Mill Dam, a 200-foot concrete span across a peaceful stretch of the Little River, has been the subject of much controversy this summer. On one side are neighbors who have come to view the spot as their own quiet fishing haven. Cars bump down a dirt road lined with deep tire tracks, past a silver barn posted with a "no trespassing" sign, to park on a patch of grass near the trail to the dam. On the other side are residents who want to see the dam torn down after 17-year-old Paul Tetrick drowned there last summer. He jumped off an old concrete foundation at the side of the dam and was pulled under by a strong current. Tetrick's father is leading the effort to have the dam torn down. In the middle of the controversy is the farming family who owns the dam and the land near it. The dam was built in the early 1900s to power a former gristmill, but today it serves no real purpose.

(Lu, Adrienne, "Neighbors square off over dam," The News and Observer, 14 July 2001.)