No. 94, February 4, 2009

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

Table of Contents


United Kingdom







Atlantic salmon returning home in Credit River, Ontario

With over one million Atlantic salmon released into the Credit River over the last two years, members of the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program (LOASRP) are delighted to see the fish returning. This year, 46 salmon were caught and transported beyond the dam by the Credit River Anglers Association (CRAA) so they can continue their swim northwards. Organizers hope the Atlantic salmon can become a naturally sustaining breed in the river, where they've been extinct since the 1800s due to human activity. Fishing is a very important economic benefit to Mississauga, including events such as the Great Ontario Salmon Derby, which takes place on Lake Ontario. Fish will probably need to be released in the river for 15 to 20 more years before they can become naturally sustaining. Credit River is home to 70 different species of fish and includes the greatest number of free-flowing salmon and trout of any fisheries in Ontario. The CRAA has spent millions of dollars and hundreds of volunteer hours towards rehabilitating the river watershed including planting 350,000 trees.

(Kurek, Dominik, "Atlantic salmon returning home," Mississauga - the News,, 27 October 2008.)

United Kingdom

Upgrade for river as nature reserve

A partnership project to improve the River Anton was launched on the same day nature reserve status was awarded to Rooksbury Mill Park in Andover. The ambition to restore the historic chalk river was first made public at the Hampshire Water Festival in 2007. Test Valley Borough Councillor, Caroline Nokes, said: "Over 250 people commented about the project at the water festival in 2007. Discussions have been held with parish councilís and local conservation groups. These comments helped shape the strategy and action plan, and we will continue to work with all interested parties. This $250,000 facelift will see a much needed improvement to the width, surface and look of this important route and I am sure will be the catalyst for our ambition to link Charlton Lakes in the north of the town and Rooksbury Mill in the south by a way marked walk. A full and comprehensive restoration of the Anton is a huge challenge but one I am positive that collectively we can achieve." The River Anton Enhancement Scheme is a partnership with Test Valley Borough Council, Hampshire Wildlife Trust, Hampshire County Council and the Environment Agency.

(Faretra, Joe, "Upgrade for river as nature reserve status bestowed," This is Hampshire,, 02 November 2008.)


San Diego River Conservancy given new funding

Supporters of the state agency in charge of protecting the San Diego River are enjoying a new lease on life and projecting big things over the next decade. The San Diego River Conservancy's charter was extended to 2020 by legislation from state Senator Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill. The conservancy, established in 2002, was set to close Jan. 1, 2010. It has been hampered by staff turnover, and some backers have expressed frustration with the agency's slow progress in buying land and cleaning up the waterway. In recent years, San Diego River restoration advocates have enjoyed growing support ñ particularly for their goal of creating a trail that extends some 52 miles from the river's headwaters near Julian to its mouth at Ocean Beach. The conservancy's to-do list includes land conservation, recreation, education and water quality. Its current efforts include connecting trail sections along the lower river; the possible purchase of riverside land; and trails to provide river access from neighborhoods. Much of the credit for that interest goes to nonprofit groups that have invested heavily in river restoration and celebrations.

(Lee, Mike, "River protectors gain time: 10-year extension bolsters oversight agency, partners," Union-Tribune,, 01 October 2008.)

Coho salmon fry discovered in remote Garcia River headwaters

Juvenile Coho salmon were found in 10 places in the 72,000-acre Garcia River watershed where they had not been seen for years. "I was pretty excited to find them there," said Jennifer Carah, a field scientist for the Nature Conservancy. "We've checked the data of other agencies and haven't heard accounts of coho being up there before. These sightings have generated a whole lot of enthusiasm, especially given the fact that coho are pretty much on the brink of extinction." The discovery of coho in the headwaters of the Garcia River is especially eye opening because logging once decimated the watershed. Now it is part of a unique experiment that involves what conservationists call sustainable forestry, or selective logging. The Nature Conservancy paid $3.5 million for a conservation easement on the property that allows them to conduct studies and monitor fish and wildlife populations in the watershed. The Conservation Fund is in charge of managing the forest by repairing roads, fixing erosion and hiring loggers to selectively thin out stands and remove sick trees. In exchange, the land is protected forever from residential and vineyard development. The forests of Mendocino County are a crucial testing ground for this type of strategy because it is in this region that coho salmon once were abundant.

(Fimrite, Peter, "Coho salmon fry discovered up a remote creek," SFGate,, 01 November 2008.)

Tuolumne River project nearing completion

A group devoted to the Tuolumne River is looking to complete the Big Bend Habitat Restoration project to restore the natural environment along the river. For the past four years, the Tuolumne River Trust has led efforts on the 240-acre site to restore forest, river and wildlife habitat. Native trees such as oaks, cottonwoods and willows have been planted on the site and the land was reshaped to connect the river channel with the flood plain. It took two years to plan the restoration and obtain the required permits. Dying orchards were removed, to restore habitat suitable for rabbits, foxes, raccoons and beavers, as well as cranes, geese and other birds. According to the plan, only native trees, shrubs and grasses are being planted. Much of the tree planting has been done by volunteers, including individuals and community organizations, with Cub Scout and Girl Scout troops chipping in. The project is part of a bigger vision for a lower Tuolumne River parkway similar to a string of parks on the Stanislaus River. The idea is to have access points on the river for people to put a canoe or kayak in the river in Modesto and float downstream.

(Carlson, Ken, "Tuolumne project nearing completion," The Modesto Bee,, 02 November 2008.)

Update: Tribes and fishermen speak out against clean water permit for Klamath Dams

People from the Klamath Basin and throughout California urged the State Water Resources Control Board to not grant Warren Buffett-owned PacifiCorp a clean water permit because of the degradation of water quality resulting from the operation of company's dams on the river. Over 40 people attending a public hearing in Sacramento delivered a resounding message to state water officials - donít give PacifiCorp a section 401 clean water permit needed to relicense its fish-killing dams on the Klamath River. A diverse group including members of the Hoopa Valley, Yurok, Karuk, Quartz Valley, Winnemem Wintu and Miwok Tribes, recreational anglers, commercial fishermen and environmental activists spoke passionately about the poor quality of the water on the river and the need to remove the dams before the staff of the California State Water Resources Control Board. Not one person spoke in favor of granting PacifiCorp a permit! For the last four years, PacifiCorp's Klamath dams have created one of the worst toxic microcystis algae problems ever recorded, threatening the public health of rural residents and California's three largest Indian Tribes. The State Water Resources Control Board will begin deciding this month if relicensing these dams is consistent with the Clean Water Act.

(Bacher, Dan, "Tribes and Fishermen Speak Out Against Clean Water Permit for Klamath Dams," San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center,, 06 November 2008)


Conservationists nudge Feds to help save salmon on the Willamette

Chinook salmon that evolved to migrate up the Willamette River during a narrow winter window when they could get over Willamette Falls are one of the most genetically unique salmon in the Columbia River system. Roughly 95 percent of their once-flourishing runs are gone, cut off from their spawning grounds by dams and their habitat in decline. Now federal agencies, prodded by conservation groups, are moving to remedy the impacts of 13 dams on Oregon's largest interior river system that have pushed salmon and steelhead to the brink. Their goal: reconnect struggling salmon in the degraded lower river to pristine headwaters above the dams - while leaving the dams in place. Without helping fish reach those prime spawning streams, "there is just not enough habitat to produce enough fish to rebuild the run," said Stephanie Burchfield of NOAA-Fisheries. The work will extend multibillion-dollar efforts to offset the fish impacts of Columbia River dams. It will take hundreds of millions of dollars worth of engineering, technology and habitat repair, nearly half funded by ratepayers who get hydroelectric power from the dams. Federal biologists are calling for systems that haven't been devised yet to shunt fish past dams twice as high as those on the Columbia River. The work is mandated by the Endangered Species Act.

(Milstein, Michael, Associated Press, "Conservationists nudge Feds to help save salmon," San Francicso Chronicle,, 19 October 2008.)

Olympic Peninsula wolves were river keepers, study shows

What happened to the Olympic Peninsula after its wolves were hunted to extinction in the 1920s? According to a study from Oregon State University, eliminating this one keystone species sent shockwaves through the whole ecosystem. Some of the effects were felt almost immediately after wolves were extirpated, and some are only just now becoming clear. The upshot is that researchers have determined that the Olympic wolves were river-keepers, in an indirect but very real sense - and they could be again, if we restored them to their home on the Olympic Peninsula. Once upon a time, healthy wolf populations kept the native elk herds lean. But when the wolves were killed off, the elk populations spiked (with a colossal boom in the 1930s). The booming elk herds spent much of their time in the lush river bottoms, cropping the living heck out of new tree growth and hammering the seedlings of cottonwood, bigleaf maple, and even some conifers. Those young trees had stabilized the banks along the region's fast-flowing rivers. And without new saplings and their fortifying root-systems, the rivers began to erode their banks, eventually channelizing and "braiding" as they spread out along the newly-unstable valley floors.

Read the full study here (pdf)

(de Place, Eric, "Bringing back the wolves of Olympic National Park," Crosscut,, 20 October 2008.)

Proposed LNG terminal may threaten salmon fry habitat on the Columbia

Researchers have found the slow-moving backwaters near the proposed Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas terminal site on the Columbia River are valuable habitat for chinook salmon fry. Less than one year old, the fry use the shallow marshes for food and predator protection as they grow and prepare to venture out to the sea. It's a great place for salmon fry to bulk up for their journey into the ocean, said fish biologist Curtis Roegner of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. To get there, the fish have to swim past Bradwood Landing, where NorthernStar Natural Gas Inc. of Houston has proposed to build a $650 million liquefied natural gas facility. The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission points to Roegner's research as one of many reasons why the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) should reject the Bradwood Landing LNG proposal. But FERC hasn't completed its assessment of the project's impacts to species listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. When that document is complete, NOAA Fisheries will review it for impacts to marine species. The resulting Biological Opinion will be the final word on whether the project will jeopardize salmon survival.

(Profita, Cassandra, "LNG is on path of fish sanctuary: Study reveals area around Bradwood Landing is popular spot for salmon," The Daily Astorian,, 03 November 2008.)

**Elwha and Glines Canyon dams, Elwha River, WA**

Update: Measuring the effects of dam removal on the Elwha

In preparation for the momentous removal of the two dams on the Elwha River, slated to begin within the next two years, scientists are finalizing the "before" snapshots of the river and its habitat. This baseline, published in a series of articles in the journal Northwest Science, is essential for monitoring the huge changes anticipated in landscape and wildlife once the Elwha Dam, standing at 105 feet, and the Glines Canyon Dam, at 210 feet, are removed. If the dams seem big, the restoration project orchestrated by the National Park Service is surely bigger. That's because the dams wrought colossal changes in wildlife and landscape. Not only did they decimate the river's legendary salmon runs, which reverberated into declines in bear, wolf, and other wildlife populations, but they prevented silt from flowing downriver to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, leading to a substantial loss of territory for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe living at the mouth of the river. In 1992 Congress mandated the restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem, and soon after it was determined that removing the dams was the best way to do it.

(Solis, Michele, "Dam big science," Crosscut,, 06 November 2008.)


River restoration is goal of dam removal on Ohio's Alum Creek

Friends of Alum Creek & Tributaries (FACT) is in the process of removing a low-head dam located on Alum Creek. The project, financed by a three-year $280,000 grant administered by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), also includes the demolition of another low-head dam and environmental restoration in both areas. Ross Gibson, with the Ohio EPA, said the agency is encouraging government and local environmental groups to remove the dams, an initiative that started about 10 years ago with the decline in salmon runs in Washington and Oregon. The US EPA established an amendment to the Clean Water Act in 1987 creating a national program to control non-point source pollution, which typically results from unregulated run-off and originates from a number of sources. The low-head dams on Alum Creek contribute to two non-point source pollution problems. "The most fundamental problem with dams and low-head dams is that they convert what should be a natural-moving river system and change it into a lake. You see a whole series of related issues if the water is no longer flowing as rapidly; the water tends to become very low in dissolved oxygen." Gibson also said that such dams create sediment traps under water.

(Englehart, Laura, "River restoration is goal of dam removal," Columbus Local News,, 13 October 2008.)

One Mile of Grand Calumet River gets $33 million cleanup

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and Department of Natural Resources are joining forces in a $33 million effort to restore a little over one mile of the Grand Calumet River. The plan calls for the cleanup of 91,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from a 1.1-mile stretch of the river, followed by the placement of a cap over the dredged area. "State, local and federal agencies are collaborating to remediate the contaminated sediment that has long been in the river," said IDEM Commissioner Tom Easterly. "This cleanup will lead to increased use of the Grand Calumet and improved quality of life for residents and visitors alike. Today, 90 percent of the river's flow starts as municipal and industrial discharges, cooling and process water and stormwater overflows. The river runs through one of the most heavily industrialized areas in the nation and the sediment contains elevated levels of heavy metals, PCBs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and pesticides such as DDT. The majority of the river's flow drains into Lake Michigan via the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal, sending about one billion gallons of water into the lake per day.

(Environment News Service, "One Mile of Grand Calumet River Gets $33 Million Cleanup,", 27 October 2008.)


Tohickon Creek making a comeback

Almost a year after the $50,000 removal of the Ralph Stover Dam, the portion of the Tohickon Creek it affected is showing signs of renewed health. It can take as many as three to five years for a waterway to regain biodiversity after a dam is removed, said Sara Deuling of American Rivers, a national nonprofit dedicated to protecting and promoting rivers. But, "this site has been responding very quickly," she said during a tour of the removal site at Ralph Stover State Park. Built in the 1930s to create a swimming hole, the 7-foot-tall stone and concrete dam was removed in December 2007. The first dam at the site dates to Colonial times and was associated with a grist mill. The state decided to remove the dam because it "had already started to fail" and was a safety issue for kayakers and other park visitors, said Rick Dalton, manager of the Delaware Canal State Park Complex, which includes Ralph Stover Park. The dam caused the waterway to be unnaturally wide, which promoted warmer water and fewer insects, neither of which is conducive to a thriving habitat.

(Hegel, Theresa, "Creek making a comeback," Courier Times,, 25 October 2008.)


**Santeetlah Dam, Cheoah River, NC**

Water releases into Cheoah River help endangered mussel

The Cheoah River flows through a beautiful forested canyon in the Nantahala National Forest. Between the time the Santeetlah Dam was built in 1916 and 2005, much of the nine-mile section that flows between the dam and Lake Calderwood was a "dewatered" streambed, with very low or nonexistent flows. Most of the river is piped from the dam to the Calderwood Hydroelectric Power Plant. Yet somehow, thanks to seepage from the dam and tributaries that feed the river, a relic population of the Appalachian elktoe, a federally endangered fresh water mussel, managed to hang on. In 2004 and 2005, Tapoco, a division of Alcoa Power Generating Inc., had to re-license the Santeetlah Dam through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. As part of the re-licensing agreement, Tapoca began releasing flows from the dam into the river in September 2005, with the primary objective of preserving and restoring aquatic and riparian biological communities. Damming wild Southern Appalachian rivers fragmented aquatic populations and produced changes in flow and stream temperature that led to the decline of many species. Through re-licensing agreements like the one with Tapoca, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the other resource agencies are seeking to mitigate the damage that's been done.

(Franklin, Joy, "Water release into Cheoah helps endangered mussel, plant," Asheville Citizen Times,, 02 November 2008.)