No. 93, December 8, 2008

Produced by: River Revival, International Rivers
Editors: Elizabeth Brink and Wil Dvorak

Table of Contents








Restoring the Keogh River for salmon spawning after logging damage

The Keogh River flows just 33 km from Lake Keogh into Queen Charlotte Strait, which separates Vancouver Island from the mainland of British Columbia. It is a short, fast little river that is easily damaged by bad logging practices. However, in recent years, timber companies have been helping to fund river-restoration projects. In the Keogh and other rivers in Canada, off-channel habitats have been created to mimic natural spawning and nursery areas for fish. River water is directed into winding, forest-shaded spawning creeks into which cold, clear groundwater also drains. Ponds are also created, with woody debris that hides the fry of Coho salmon until they grow big enough to migrate to the sea. Efforts were also made to mimic the release of essential minerals into the water that had previously been provided by the bodies of dead, spawned-out salmon. At first, real salmon carcasses from fish farms were put into these renewed streams, but that was costly and carried a risk of bringing in disease. Instead, slowly dissolving mineral-rich pellets were created. Once the salmon started returning from the sea, bringing these minerals in their bodies, then nothing more needed to be added to the rivers and streams.

(Nicol, C. W., "Helping a healthy river flow," The Japan Times,, 01 October 2008.)

Petitcodiac River restoration begins

Tim Van Hinte, the Petitcodiac Riverkeeper, was happy to hear that crews were spotted hovering above the Petitcodiac River and lake in September, doing some preliminary work that precedes the removal of the causeway and the restoration of the Petitcodiac River. Workers in a helicopter were taking water and sediment samples as the tides came in, and shooting video of the river basin. "It's all part of the preparatory work, which is kind of what I expected," Van Hinte said yesterday after he was able to find out what was going on. "Which is good, because it means that they're on the go, the project is started. It's part of the preliminary design work. We knew that the work was going to be done, we just didn't know exactly when." The restoration project is slated to come in three phases. Phase one is expected to take two years, and it will involve preparing the riverbank for tidal action by installing filter fabric and a layer of rock along the shoreline, improving drainage around the causeway and preparing dykes and aboiteaux (sluices) upstream from the causeway for changes in river flow.

(Lewis, Eric, "Helicopter seen flying over Petitcodiac River yesterday conducting preliminary tests," Times & Transcript,, 26 September 2008.)


**Capitan Grande Dam, San Diego River, CA**
The moral stain of the Capitan Grande Indian removal

Two congressional bills - one passed in 1919 and the other in 1932 - granted the city of San Diego certain lands within the Cleveland National Forest and the Capitan Grande Indian Reservation for a reservoir and water storage system. Between the two bills, nearly 2,900 acres of the Capitan Grande Indian Reservation was taken over by the city and most of it flooded by waters from the San Diego River for the Capitan Grande Dam and reservoir system. As a result of the two bills being passed, some 500 Kumeyaay were removed from the Capitan Grande and Los Conejos reservations. The rest of the Capitan Grande reservation lands were made uninhabitable for lack of water. After the removal some of the Kumeyaay moved to the Baron Long Ranch (now the Viejas Indian Reservation). When winter hit, newborns, little children and elders died from the harsh conditions and lack of adequate shelter. Both the Viejas and Barona reservations were purchased with the monies paid by the city of San Diego for the Indian lands. To use Chairman Ferrisí metaphor, the entire sordid episode has left a moral stain on the city of San Diego, the state of California, on the Interior Department and the BIA, as well as on the Congress of the United States.

(Newcomb, Steven, "Newcomb: The moral stain of the Capitan Grande Indian removal," Indian Country Today,, 24 September 2008.)

Mattole River drying up during record setting dry season

The Mattole River watershed, on California's north coast, is in uncharted territory with a record-setting dry season. The Mattole hit a grim milestone when it stopped flowing entirely in its headwaters. As of September 24, despite a bit of rain the previous week and some cooler, foggy nights, this situation had not changed, with zero measurable streamflow found at most monitoring spots in the headwaters. Summer 2008 marks the single lowest flow year on record for the Mattole River, based on data from the US Geological Survey (USGS). Most of the headwaters mainstem is now broken up into isolated pools, leaving juvenile salmon exposed and stranded. Creeks are drying up that long-time residents have never seen stop flowing before. This drying-up pattern is not only more severe, but is also occurring two to three weeks earlier than in the recent lowest-flow years - challenging residents to endure a longer dry season than many were prepared for. The Mattole water crisis is causing hardship for more members of the community every day, as most residents depend directly on the river, creeks and springs for all their water.

(Redwood Times, "Rain not enough to help Mattole River,", 01 October 2008.)

**Klamath River dams, Klamath River, CA/OR**
Update: Tribes, Fishermen rally for Klamath dam removal

Members of the Klamath Tribes, fishermen and others rallied in front of PacifiCorp's headquarters in Portland on September 18 to pressure the utility to remove its dams from the Klamath River. About 150 people marched three blocks to stand and chant in unison. PacifiCorp owns and operates six dams on the Klamath River. As commercial fisherman Jeff Bitts spoke, a young man held up two one-gallon jugs of murky water, clouded with algae. "This company, we need to urge them here today to take that chance to seize this opportunity, to take these dams that are only green because of what Chook was holding up there, that's the only way these dams are green power, they produce green water in a river that should be clear." Bitts went on to say that the dams allow a parasite that lives in algae to flourish; a parasite that kills baby salmon. PacifiCorp must address the Klamath tribes' concerns because its 50-year license to operate the dams has expired. It is negotiating to possibly transfer ownership, and eventually remove the dams.

(Bartleson, Becca, "Tribes, Fishermen rally for Klamath dam removal," Oregon Public Broadcasting,, 19 September 2008.)


Columbia Land Trust works to restore historic Walluski River flows

An initial breach on Oregon's Walluski River happened naturally in 2005, and the tides flowed in immediately, reviving remnant channels along 50 acres of the property. The landowner didn't want to pay to repair the dike to keep the land dry, so the Columbia Land Trust bought the property, and has since breached the dike again to promote restoration efforts. "We had an interest because this kind of tidal wetland has been lost so much in the estuary and in Youngs Bay in particular," said Ian Sinks, the stewardship manager for Columbia Land Trust. To Columbia Land Trust's delight, the property started restoring itself before any restoration work could even begin. Invasive reed canary grass gave way to native plants including tules, bullrush, water plantain, arrowroot and burr reed. The native plants, in turn, drew waterfowl and wildlife to the property. "In three years, this site is doing fantastically well," said Sinks. "We've breached a number of dikes in the Columbia River estuary, and this is probably the best site we've seen." So far, Columbia Land Trust employees have seen some juvenile salmon in the channel but haven't tested for specific numbers.

(Profita, Cassandra, "Recycling for habitat restoration; Columbia Land Trust works to restore historic Walluski River flows, bringing the area back to pre-1900s condition," The Daily Astorian, 20 August 2008.)

**Milltown Dam (removed), Clark Fork River, MT**
Update: Fish still swimming after Milltown Dam removal

Six months after removal of Milltown Dam, the Clark Fork Riverís fish are hurting, but recovering, say biologists. The short-term effects of the damís removal have been detrimental to fish populations below the dam, but in the long term the health of the Clark Fork watershedís ecosystem is expected to improve. Dam removal activities began in 2006. The highlight of the removal occurred on March 28 as the cofferdam was breached, allowing the Clark Fork and Blackfoot rivers to flow freely for the first time since the damís completion in 1908. David Schmetterling, a fisheries research biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, has been monitoring the riverís fish population since 2004 and has closely tracked the effects of the dam removal. While heightened sediment and metal content in the water has increased fish mortality, he expects the fish population to fully recover in the long term and gain resiliency. The Milltown Dam site is the largest Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site. For over 70 years, the river was inundated with metal-laced tailings from mining and smelter operations. The reservoir created by the dam was home to over two million cubic yards of metal, including copper, zinc, iron and manganese.

(Eggert, Amanda, "Fish still swimming after Milltown Dam removal," Montana Kaimin,, 24 September 2008.)

**Elwha and Glines Canyon dams, Elwha River, WA**
Update: Scientists measure Elwha River conditions now to help measure dam removal success tomorrow

When removal of Elwha and Glines Canyon dams in Washington State begins in 2012, scientists will learn more than ever before how the removal of large dams affects the restoration of ecosystems, plants, fisheries and other animals. Removing the dams could restore more than 70 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for endangered salmon and steelhead, as well as other native fish. But for effective comparison, they must know what is present now. Researchers from the US Geological Survey (USGS) and its state, federal, tribal and academic partners in the Elwha Research Consortium have been working to help provide the benchmark information needed for comparison. Their research, documenting the ecological and hydrological state of the river after 96 years of damming, has just been published in 18 articles in a special issue of the journal Northwest Science. "The removal of the two dams on the Elwha River is one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken to restore prime fish habitat," said Jeff Duda, a research ecologist for the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center, and the editor of the articles. "It is vital to learn as much as possible about the effects of dam removal on large wilderness rivers and restoration of salmon populations."

( Press Release, "Scientists Measure Elwha River Conditions Now to Help Measure Dam Removal Success Tomorrow," GeoCommunity Spatial News,, 15 September 2008.)


Economist proposes $25 billion investment in Great Lakes Cleanup

Economist John Austin told a crowd of government, business and environmental leaders of the Great Lakes region that a $25 billion restoration plan to upgrade sewer systems, clean up toxic sediments and combat invasive species is worth the investment. Austin co-authored a 2007 report for the Brookings Institution, which concluded that "very conservatively," a $25 billion investment in restoration would result in up to $100 billion of economic benefit for the region. The $25 billion price tag is based on updated numbers from a Great Lakes Regional Collaboration strategy released in 2005. The funding is a key to transforming the industrial economy that sprung up around the lakes to a knowledge economy, he said. "We created great enterprises that made a mess," he said. "If we invest more resources and we do this (restoration) work, it's a huge economic engine for Michigan and the Midwest." The $100 billion impact is based on jobs associated with improving infrastructure and freshwater research and the value of clean beaches and healthy fisheries. "If the benefits outweigh the costs, it's a good investment," Austin said.

(Kart, Jeff, "Speaker; Stop using Great Lakes as a lavatory," Bay City Times,, 27 August 2008.)

Failing dams at Crooked Creek Preserve to be removed

The Nature Conservancy announced that it would soon begin work to partially remove two half-century-old dams at its Crooked Creek Preserve. The dams are considered unsafe, and they have impacted the ecological health of the Mukwonago River by altering the riverís flow and raising its temperature. The Conservancy will restore the land and water around the dams - including springs that constitute most of the riverís headwaters - to their historic natural condition. Water will soon be drawn down from artificial ponds created behind the dams. A contractor is then expected to start removing much of the dams themselves. The dams have been compromised with numerous holes from tree roots and muskrats. The project area will be reseeded later this year to prevent erosion and to plant a diverse mix of native plants. "An extreme rain event could cause the dams to fail," said Hannah Spaul, who directs the Conservancyís land management work in Wisconsin and who is overseeing the dam removal and restoration work at Crooked Creek. "That would lead to extensive flooding downstream - endangering highly significant and sensitive natural areas including Lulu Lake State Natural Area and impacting the quality of water within the river."

(The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin Press Releases, "Failing Dams at Crooked Creek Preserve to be removed," 30 September 2008.)


**Blue Bridge Dam, Potomac River, MD**
Blue Bridge Dam on the North Branch of the Potomac studied for removal

Itís far from a done deal, but numerous entities, led by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, are looking at the feasibility of removing the dam across the North Branch of the Potomac River near the border with West Virginia. US Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Chanel Weaver confirmed this week that the dam is owned by that federal agency. "The dam was built as part of the local flood control project in 1959," Weaver said. City engineer, John DiFonzo, said although the dam is federally owned, agreement language appears to put maintenance responsibilities on the shoulders of the city." Similar dam removal projects in this area are intended to provide upstream passage for fish and safe downstream passage for recreational boaters. A DNR fishery biologist, Alan Klotz, said stream surveys over the years show that the dam prevents upstream passage of walleye, channel catfish and American eel. Other agencies or organizations involved in the project are National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Park Service and American Rivers.

(Sawyers, Michael A., "Blue Bridge dam removal?" Cumberland Times-News,, 14 September 2008.)

**Zemko Dam (removed), Eightmile River, CT**
Revival of Wild and Scenic Eightmile River after dam removal

Eels, darter fish, redfin pickerel and other fish have returned to a branch of the Eightmile River in the year since an environmental group won the right to tear down Zemko Dam. A stone and concrete barrier, typical of dams on rivers throughout Connecticut, previously impeded a section of the Eightmile on private property in eastern Connecticut. The Nature Conservancy, working with other organizations, acquired the dam site in October 2007, along with 245 adjacent acres. It removed the dam, allowing one of Connecticut's most pristine rivers to rebound quickly to its natural state. Officials point to the resurgence of wetland plants that are food for eels and fish. "This is all new since last year," said Adam Whelchel, director of conservation programs for the Nature Conservancy's Connecticut chapter. "Last year, we counted 40 different plant species here, and now there are 80. There's been a doubling of the diversity." The Eightmile was officially designated a Wild and Scenic River last May, making it part of a federal program to foster conservation of ecologically important waterways. The dam, 9 feet high and 35 feet wide, had been in place since it was built early in the 20th century to power a mill that is now nearly gone.

(The Associated Press, "Removing dam improves section of Eightmile River,", 05 October 2008.)

**Veazie, Great Works and Howland dams, Penobscot River, ME**
Update: Fisheries Restoration, Energy Balance Closer to Becoming Reality on Penobscot River

On the banks of the Penobscot River in Old Town, Maine, partners in the Penobscot River Restoration Project announced in August that they are taking a major step forward in an historic effort to restore Atlantic salmon, American shad, river herring, and seven other species of sea run fish to nearly 1,000 miles of river habitat while ensuring energy generation is maintained on the river system. With $25 million in private and public funds raised, "the Penobscot Trust has notified PPL that it intends to purchase the Veazie, Great Works and Howland dams, allowing project partners to move forward with this unprecedented Project to rebalance hydropower energy and create sustainable native sea-run fisheries well into the future," stated Laura Rose Day, Executive Director of the Penobscot Trust. The project will allow the return of river herring, Atlantic salmon, American shad and seven additional species of migratory fish to the largest river in Maine. Return of healthy fish stocks will have multiple benefits, including food for fish eating birds such as eagles, ospreys, and herons and for predatory fish in the Gulf of Maine such as cod and other commercially important species.

(Penobscot River Restoration Trust, Press Release, "Fisheries Restoration, Energy Balance Closer to Becoming Reality on Penobscot River; Penobscot River Restoration Trust to Buy Three Dams from PPL Corporation," Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire,, 21 August 2008.)


**Dillsboro Dam, Tuckasegee River, NC**
Update: US agency allows dam removal in western NC

A federal power regulator has refused to block Duke Energy Carolinas from removing a 95-year-old dam on the Tuckasegee River in western North Carolina. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied the request Jackson County officials made in August to stop the destruction of the Dillsboro Dam. County leaders said the dam, built in 1913, is a local landmark that draws tourists. FERC gave Duke Power approval in July 2007 to remove the dam, which would open 10 miles of the river and balance the environmental effects of the company's other hydroelectric plants. River rafting companies and some wildlife scientists liked the plan because it would increase the river's water flow.

(The Associated Press, "US agency allows dam removal in western NC," The Asheville Citizen-Times,, 19 September 2008.)

Update: Everglades Restoration failing

The eight-year-old, multibillion-dollar effort to rescue the Everglades is failing because of bureaucratic delays, a lack of financing from Congress and overdevelopment, according to a new report. The 287-page study by the National Research Council, a biennial review required by Congress, warned that South Floridaís stunning river of grass is reaching a point of no return. Without "near term progress," the report said, more species will die off "and the Everglades ecosystem may experience irreversible losses to its character and functioning." William L. Graf, chairman of the committee that wrote the report, put it more simply. "There is no other place like this," Mr. Graf said. "Itís existed for 5,000 years this way, and weíre in danger of losing it for our kids and their kids." The harsh review of the federal effort, known as the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, or CERP, comes in the midst of Florida negotiating a proposed $1.75 billion purchase of nearly 300 square miles of farmland from the United States Sugar Corporation to store millions of gallons of water south of Lake Okeechobee. The National Research Council praised the plan, but with the acquisitionís impact at least a decade away, the report concluded that it would not be a panacea.

For more information, visit:

(Cave, Damien, "Harsh Review of Restoration in Everglades," New York Times,,
30 September 2008.)