No. 30, October 22, 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










united kingdom

Proposed Ilisu Dam, Tigris River, Turkey
Efforts to prevent 78,000 being made homeless by Ilisu Dam

Construction giant Balfour Beatty faces a government snub over plans to build a dam which would flood an ancient town and leave ten of thousands homeless. It had hoped for 200 million pounds in export credits - British Government aid - to help pay for the Ilisu Dam in eastern Turkey. But an influential committee of parliament members has added its condemnation to the mounting international protest against the project. A source at the Department of Trade and Industry said that it is now unlikely to get the money. He added: "The decision will be soon? and the consensus is not to give export credit for the Ilisu project. The efforts to compensate and resettle the Kurdish and Turkish people and protect architectural heritage appear to fall woefully short of international standards." The dam would make 78,000 homeless and flood the 10,000-year-old town of Hasankeyf. Mark Thomas, who heads the campaign against the project, said: "One man out there said he would rather drown than leave his home." The Ilisu Dam is the latest is a series of controversial projects which have earned the firm the nickname Balfour Beastly. It has been criticized over resettlement schemes in Nigeria and Sri Lanka for locals displaced by its dams. It was also the main contractor for the widely criticized Pergau Dam in Malaysia. And it is currently embroiled in a bribery scandal over a water project in Lesotho.

To get more information and take action, visit the Ilisu Dam Campaign on-line at, or e-mail them at Also visit Save Hasankeyf at

(The Mirror News, "Damned - MPs withhold Brit firm's pounds 1.25bn to stop 78,000 being made homeless," August 2001. Full text found at


Widespread opposition for Quebec's plan to build new dams

The Quebec government proposal we reported in last months Bulletin could put as many as 36 small dams on 24 Quebec rivers and has captured the attention -- and indignation -- of Americans. "This certainly won't go under the radar here," said Juliette Majot of International Rivers. "There will definitely be American opposition." Ms. Majot's organization is just one of the US groups whose help will be sought as pressure and protest strategies are developed by a Quebec-based coalition that features environmental, recreational and conservation groups. Many of these organizations, such as the Quebec office of Greenpeace, have a list of existing allies in the United States. The negative publicity south of the border could curb incoming US tourist dollars, which brought $1.1 billion to the region in 1999. The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently urged the paper's 383,000 readers to boycott Quebec should the plan go through. A protest against the project was held near the end of July at the Rapides des Sept Soeurs on the Rouge River near Calumet, east of Ottawa. "These are seven beautiful waterfalls. It's a completely pristine setting," said Felix Martel, of the White-Water Canoe and Kayak Club, which organized the protest.

(Moore, Lynn, " US opposes Quebec plan for 36 dams, American paper calls on readers to boycott province," The Montreal Gazette, 12 August 2001.)

us - general

New river restoration grants available soon

American Rivers is seeking proposals for community-based river restoration grants as part of its new partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Community-Based Restoration Program. These grants are designed to provide support for local communities that are utilizing dam removal or fish passage to restore and protect the ecological integrity of their rivers and improve freshwater habitats important to migratory (anadromous) fish. Grants will be limited to projects in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and California. Successful applicants will be given non-renewable grants to assist in the technical application of fish passage or dam removal. The first application deadline is December 1, 2001. We encourage potential applicants to contact American Rivers to discuss potential projects prior to submitting an application.

For more information on the NOAA Community-Based Restoration Program and its partners, please visit

For a complete application and eligibility guidelines, please visit the American Rivers web site at: or contact Peter Raabe at 1025 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 720, Washington, DC 20005; Tel: (202) 347-7550 x3006; Fax: (202) 347-9240; Email:

Industry plots increased hydro development in the US

Industrial Information Resources, Inc. out of Houston, Texas, recently released an advisory stating, "stronger demand for green power is creating a renewed interest in hydroelectric energy." Currently, nine percent of electricity in the United States is produced from hydroelectric sources with a total national capacity of over 95,000 megawatts (MW). Ignoring broad scientific consensus that reservoirs are significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions, the industry claims, "With the public's concerns over global warming in the forefront, some utilities and private energy producers (PEP) are developing studies to increase capacity from green energy sources including hydroelectric plants." Developers include Universal Electric Power and Symbiotics LLC. Combined, these two companies have identified over 250 potential sites for development of new hydroelectric plants. The group argues that, "in recent years, development of hydroelectric energy plants have been hampered by prolonged licensing processes due to concerns over changing flood plains, recreational infringements and fish or wildlife safety."

(Advisory from Industrial Information Resources, Inc.; Houston, Texas, 14 August 2001. Full release found at:

us - california

Study calls for closure of American River tunnel

Federal officials and the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) have completed a key study that could finally lead to the plugging of a 2,400-foot-long tunnel that diverts water from the American River, said Jeff McCracken with the US Bureau of Reclamation. The completion of the draft Environment Impact Statement marks another turning point in efforts to close the bypass tunnel for the proposed Auburn Dam and find a secure water supply for Placer County. Federal engineers built the tunnel in 1967 to divert the river during construction of a dam that was never completed. Rafters and environmentalists have long urged authorities to restore the river's north fork to its original flow. In recent years, PCWA has also urged the federal government to build a new water pumping plant for Placer County to replace one removed during early construction on Auburn Dam.

For a copy of the report, contact Carol Brown at or 916.563.6360. To read more about the campaign to stop Auburn Dam, visit

(Leavenworth, Stuart, "Study calls for closure of American River tunnel," Sacramento Bee, 12 September 2001.)

Eel River plan not enough to save salmon

Key federal agencies are divided over PG&E's latest plan to limit exports of water from the Eel River to the Russian River. The National Marine Fisheries Service said the proposal would help the Eel's salmon and steelhead, which are listed as threatened by the federal government. But the Department of Interior has "significant concerns" about PG&E's plan, contending it doesn't do enough to help the Eel's native fishery. Both agencies are urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to do more environmental studies before deciding on flows in the two rivers. The diversion, about 52 billion gallons a year, accounts for most of the Russian's summer flow, providing water for farms and cities in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. The 93-year-old diversion has devastated the Eel's salmon and steelhead runs. Other groups criticized PG&E's plan. The Round Valley Indian tribe, which has fishing and water rights on the Eel, said the new proposal isn't significantly different from PG&E's original approach. Friends of the Eel River, a coalition of environmental and fishing groups, said the federal government should halt exports of Eel River water to the Russian, arguing they violate environmental laws.

For more information on the fight to save the Eel River, visit Friends of the Eel River at

(Hart, Steve, "PG&E Eel River proposal under fire: Federal agencies disagree over likelihood plan would save salmon, steelhead," Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 27 August, 2001. On-line at:

us - northwest

New NMFS director for the NW opposes dam breaching

The Bush administration announced in September that Bob Lohn will be Northwest director of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). In addition, William Hogarth was named national director for the agency. In recent years, it's been the regional post, not the national one, that has been the lightning rod for contentious Northwest issues, including dam breaching and salmon recovery, the Makah Tribe's hunt for gray whales off the Washington coast and a recent proposal to add Puget Sound killer whales to the endangered species list. Since 1999, Lohn has been director of fish and wildlife for the Northwest Power Planning Council, a position he previously held with the Bonneville Power Administration. Lohn contends it won't be necessary to breach dams if work is done promptly to restore tributary streams. ''We all know the tributaries need attention," said Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sport Fishing Industry Association. But that won't prevent the extinction of wild salmon runs if the dams aren't also addressed, she added. Hogarth angered commercial fishermen in the early 1990s by following a NMFS order to shut down a flounder season to protect endangered sea turtles.

(Hansen, Dan, "Fisheries service gets new heads: White House names director, regional director of National Marine Fisheries Service," The Spokesman-Review, 8 September 2001.)

The legacy of Lonesome Larry

Lonesome Larry may be gone, but his genes are not forgotten. In 1992, Larry was the lone sockeye to successfully battle his way up more than 900 miles of river, navigating fish ladders at eight hydroelectric dams - only to be confronted by eternal bachelorhood in Idaho's Redfish Lake. Fortunately, scientists were ready and waiting to capture Larry and freeze his sperm. The famous fish became part of a program to breed the Northwest's most endangered salmon stock and save it from extinction. The effort has paid off, with nearly 90 full-grown Redfish Lake sockeye released for spawning this fall. More than 100,000 eggs and young sockeye are released annually into the river system. "If we had not engaged in this effort, this stock would be extinct," said Tom Flagg, salmon enhancement program director at the local NMFS research station. The population dropped off "when the dams went in," said Doug Taki, project leader for the Shoshone-Bannock tribes' sockeye program. Despite the successes of the breeding program, the stock is not self-sustaining and the dams along the river system - often identified as the primary cause of the sockeyes' decline and the greatest hurdle to their recovery - still stand.

(Stiffler, Lisa, "The Legacy of Lonesome Larry; How a single sockeye made it 900 miles to an Idaho lake and helped save a species," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 7 September 2001.)

Savage Rapids Dam, Rogue River, OR
Savage Rapids Dam may be out by 2006

Parties battling since 1988 over Savage Rapids Dam's impact on Rogue River salmon will meet with the governor of Oregon to commemorate an agreement that could lead to removal of the aging irrigation diversion dam by 2006. Governor John Kitzhaber is to sign a special declaration on Friday recognizing a consent degree that dissolves state and federal lawsuits against the Grants Pass Irrigation District over harm the dam has caused threatened coho salmon. The agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene at the end of August, calls for installing pumps to draw water out of the Rogue River by 2005, then removing the dam built in 1921. The deal depends on Congress approving as much as $22.2 million for the project. "We have been battling a long time," said Bob Hunter of WaterWatch, an environmental group. "People have finally put aside their differences and forged a plan that is good for the river, good for the district, and good for the local community."

Visit WaterWatch of Oregon on the web at

( Associated Press, "Dam on Rogue River may be removed by 2006: An agreement dissolves lawsuits related to the dam," 11 October 2001. Full article:

Various diversion dams, Fourth of July Creek, ID
Ranchers remove diversions on Fourth of July Creek

An illegal irrigation diversion in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area was removed in response to a lawsuit filed by the Western Watersheds Project and the Committee for Idaho's High Desert. The groups sued in early September, alleging that attorney-ranchers Jack Furey and Louis Racine, a former Idaho Fish and Game commissioner, were illegally diverting water from Fourth of July Creek. Large numbers of salmon and steelhead once migrated to the upper basin each year, and Fourth of July Creek provided essential spawning habitat. The groups contended that the diversion and ditch killed federally protected species. Notices were sent to Fourth of July Creek diverters last October, and claimants received responses and cooperation from most ranchers, except Furey and Racine. In response to the recent lawsuit, Marvel received a letter from Furey saying the water diverted for the Thousand Springs Ranch had been returned to the creek. Marvel personally inspected the site and verified the removal of the dam.

(Associated Press, "Ranchers remove diversions on Fourth of July Creek," 19 September 2001.)

us - southwest

Proposed Marvin Nichols Dam, Suphur River, TX
Environmentalists, landowners oppose Texas dam plan

The state of Texas is running into opposition to its plan to supply water to the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area by flooding the best remaining bottomland and hardwood areas in the state. The National Wildlife Federation is organizing local residents in Northeast Texas in a grassroots effort to promote conservation and oppose construction of the $ 1.7 billion Marvin Nichols Dam and Reservoir on the Sulphur River. The project would remove 161 billion gallons of water a year from northeast Texas and send it by pipeline 172 miles to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. If constructed, the dam would flood 72,000 acres of rural Texas, including farms, family businesses, and ranches. Many residents recognize that the dam threatens not only their land and livelihoods, but also wildlife and habitat that would be lost once the area was flooded. The Marvin Nichols Dam is the most expensive of several proposed storage dams in Texas, and is scheduled for completion by 2030. "This is a battle over the control of water," said Dave Moldal, National Wildlife Federation regional organizer in Austin. "This is water that Dallas and Fort Worth want to import at the expense of rural Texans.

(Environmental News Network, "Environmentalists, Landowners Oppose Texas Dam Plan," 12 September 2001. Text found at:

Knight Dam, Spring Creek, OK
Repairs approved for dam, dispute still faces court fight

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board recently approved plans to repair a dam at Knight Lake. The property is owned by local property managers and Oklahoma County. The board declared the dam unsafe on April 10 and ordered the owners of the lake to lower its level and either remove or repair the dam, said Lou Klaver, assistant chief of the planning and management division for the board. The county appealed the lake level order to district court, and the matter is still pending. Who will foot the bill for the work is still being negotiated among the property owners. Gretchen Crawford, an Oklahoma County assistant district attorney, said Oklahoma County should not be held liable for the problems with the dam, based on state statutes, which stipulate that the county should not be liable for any environmental problems or conditions on a property that existed prior to the county's ownership. Crawford said the county obtained its share of the dam property when the owner failed to pay his property taxes. "Why should the taxpayers have to pick up the tab for someone who doesn't even pay his taxes. You're rewarding him indirectly," she said.

(Hinton, Carla, "Repairs approved for dam: Dispute still faces court fight," The Oklahoman, 16 September 2001.)

FWS unveils plans to protect endangered species in Colorado River Basin

The US Fish and Wildlife Service outlined a proposal yesterday to protect four endangered species of fish in the Colorado River Basin, a move one group called historic. The agency issued recovery goals for the humpback chub, bonytail chub, razorback sucker and Colorado pikeminnow, which inhabit the Colorado River and its tributaries in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. The recovery measures call for altering dam operations to mimic seasonal flows, restoring habitat, reducing pollution, and removing nonnative fish. Restoring the species could take 22 years, agency officials said. Ralph Morganweck, director of the FWS' regional office in Denver, said the recovery targets are a major achievement and could be used as a model for recovering other fish species throughout the country.

(Greenwire, "Fish: FWS unveils plans to protect endangered species in Colorado River Basin," 7 September 2001.)

us - midwest

Wisconsin dam owners fear proposal would force dam removal

The state Department of Natural Resources is deciding when to require fish passage. The proposal could mean some dam owners would need to facilitate fish passage over and around dams to help fish upstream to spawn and thrive. "This is jacking up the price of dam ownership for no very visible reason," said Dan Thompson, spokesman for the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. The league represents hundreds of cities and villages, some of which own dams on state rivers. Wisconsin has about 3,700 dams, according to the DNR. The DNR may ask some dam owners, with financial help from the government, to build tubes, pools, elevators, locks or other fish passages. The state Natural Resources Board could decide by the end of the year whether to adopt the proposed rules. Dam owners fear a state proposal to help fish get around dams would cost too much and eventually force them to remove the structures.

For more information about dam removal in Wisconsin, visit

(Associated Press, "Dam owners fear a state proposal to help fish get around dams would cost too much and eventually force them to remove the structures." 18 September 2001.)

Barren River Lake Dam, Barren River, KY
Corps backs off proposal to destroy Barren River dam

The US Army Corps of Engineers is backing off a proposal to breach a dam along the Barren River. The Corps' district office has decided to fill the lock chamber at Greencastle in Warren County but leave the dam intact, said Jane Ruhl, project manager for the corps. The reconsideration followed a meeting between Corps officials and regional leaders. Bowling Green attorney Currie Milliken, who opposed removing the dam, said he was elated that the corps had changed its mind. Ruhl said she could not give details about the Corps' change of mind until Corps leadership approves the new recommendation. Dam proponents argued that keeping the dam would help maintain an adequate drinking water supply, protect wildlife and maintain recreational opportunities. The locks and dams are no longer used for commercial navigation, their original purpose. The Corps' original plan called for filling lock chambers at Barren River Lock and Dam No. 1 and Green River Locks and Dams Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6, and destruction of the dams at Greencastle and at Green River Lock and Dam No. 6 in Brownsville.

(Associated Press, "The bottom line is we can't do without those dams," 2 September 2001. Full text at:
(Associated Press, "Corps backs off proposal to destroy Barren River dam," 15 September 2001.)

Tuttle Creek Dam, Tuttle Creek, KS
Removal an option in preventing disastrous dam failure on Tuttle Creek

As we reported in June 2001, a strong earthquake could jolt the Manhattan, Kansas area, cracking apart the "flood control" dam at nearby Tuttle Creek Reservoir and freeing the huge lake behind it. Should that occur, much of Manhattan would be flooded, as well as other downstream areas. Losses would be staggering. The US Army Corps of Engineers is studying the dam to determine how to reduce the possibility of catastrophic failure of the 1 1/2-mile-long earth-and-rock structure. "Tuttle Creek Dam is at risk of significant damage or failure from seismic ground shaking," state geologist M. Lee Allison said at a briefing for a legislative committee. No one knows when to expect an earthquake large enough to cause the dam to fail; experts can offer only educated guesses. "The next big earthquake might not happen for hundreds or even thousands of years, or it might occur tomorrow," said Allison, director of the Kansas Geological Survey. "The dam should be seismically retrofitted, (or) removed, or the reservoir drained in order to reduce or eliminate the risk," Allison concluded.

For more information about the history and controversy surrounding the Tuttle Creek project, visit the US Army Corps of Engineers at:

(Petterson, John L., "Strong quake would mean woes at dam, engineers say," The Kansas City Star, 8 September 2001.)

us - northeast

Fishway regulations to have impact on three structures

Officials are keeping a close eye downstream on the Sebasticook and Kennebec rivers, watching carefully what decisions are being made in Burnham and Winslow regarding the status of their dams. As part of the 1998 Edwards Dam agreement between the National Marine Fisheries Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the state of Maine and two local groups, the Kennebec Hydro Developers Group and the Kennebec Coalition, a specific timetable was created for sea run fish passage in the Kennebec and Sebasticook watersheds. By May 2003, dams at Fort Halifax, Benton Falls and Burnham must provide permanent fish lifts for the passage of alewives, shad and Atlantic salmon. If not, those dams will be removed. Part of the Burnham Dam is in Pittsfield, said town manager Dogherty, and within the downtown area two other dams, the Pioneer and the Waverly dams, will also be affected. Although the Burnham Dam is privately owned, the town of Pittsfield owns the other two dams on the Sebasticook River. "We need to keep ourselves informed," Dogherty said. "There are such competing factions around this issue. There are those that want the dams removed and those that don't."

(Calder, Amy, "Fishermen, S.O.S. clash on dam fate," Central Maine Morning Sentinel, 11 September 2001.)
(Mack, Sharon Kiley, "Town watching dam decisions; Fishway regulations to have impact on 3 structures in Pittsfield," Bangor Daily News, 18 September, 2001.)

Little Falls, Mallison Falls and Saccarappa Falls dams, Presumpscot River, ME
River advocates' case against dams is strong

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is reviewing licenses for six hydropower dams on the Presumpscot River. River advocates argue that when the costs and benefits are fully analyzed, three of the dams - at Little Falls, Mallison Falls and Saccarappa Falls - ought to be removed. The three dams in question generate only about 3 megawatts of electricity annually, or little more than one-half of one percent of the generating capacity of the natural gas-fired power plant that recently opened in Westbrook. They have altered 7.2 miles of the Presumpscot's 25-mile run between Sebago Lake and the Atlantic Ocean, destroying the conditions necessary for native species of fish to thrive. The Presumpscot itself is home to other, larger dams upriver that merit relicensing according to some, because the environmental costs are relatively low compared to the amount of energy produced.

For more information on the campaign to remove these three dams, visit the Friends of the Presumpscot River at

(Portland Press Herald, "River advocates' case against dams is strong; The environmental costs appear to outweigh the benefits," 3 September 2001.)

West Winterport Dam, Marsh Stream, ME
Dam removal bid riles Winterport

An environmental group wants to bring salmon back to Marsh Stream by removing a dam and letting the river flow freely. Residents along the stream have mounted a challenge to those plans. John Jones, former owner of the dam, has reached an agreement with Facilitators Improving Salmonid Habitat (F.I.S.H.) a year ago to help remove the dam. Jones sold the dam to F.I.S.H last summer for $1 and has a $133,000 contract to remove the 90-foot-wide dam. F.I.S.H. is awaiting approval of its application to the federal government for authority to remove the dam. The state Department of Environmental Protection also is weighing its application. Depending on the review process, approval could come within weeks or it could still be many months away. People who live along the approximately three miles of impoundment are opposed to the dam's removal, arguing that removal will dramatically alter the appearance of the river and deny them current recreational uses. F.I.S.H. views the removal as a way to bring Marsh Stream back to its natural character and create habitat for spawning Atlantic salmon, alewives and other anadromous fish species that historically used the river before it was impeded with dams.

(Griffin,Walter, "Dam removal bid riles Winterport," Bangor Daily News, 19 September 2001.)

us - southeast

Wysong Dam, Withlacoochee River, FL
Permit issued to replace Wysong Dam

After years of bitter controversy, efforts to replace the Wysong Dam leapt forward when the state Department of Environmental Protection issued a permit for the project. Ever since the inflatable tube was removed in 1988, the issue has been a major issue for the grass-roots group TOO FAR, or Taxpayers Outraged Organization for Accountable Representation. The rubber tube created a reservoir of sorts and helped recharge the Floridan Aquifer, TOO FAR claims. The action has been blamed for lower water levels throughout the Tsala Apopka lake chain, a series of large pools and sprawling wetlands on the east side of the Withlacoochee River. Critics of the dam have lost considerable ground in recent years as TOO FAR has kept the project on the agenda and won over key officials. "We don't like it much, but TOO FAR is too strong and we don't have the clout to fight them," said Lynn DeLong, who lives along the Withlacoochee River and fears the dam could choke off life downstream. She questioned whether the dam would be as effective in recharging the lake area as proponents assert. Some studies have shown it had little effect on water levels during its 22 years of operation.

(DeLong, Lynn and Tim, "Wysong outcome is a triumph of politics," St. Petersburg Times, 16 August 2001.)
(Leary, Alex, "Permit issued to replace Wysong Dam," St. Petersburg Times, 8 September 2001.)