PacifiCorp’s plan to dismantle the Condit dam in the US is generating disagreement among conservationists and residents in the area. If an agreement is reached, PacifiCorp plans to tear down the 38m high concrete dam, built in 1913, opening at least 12 miles of habitat to salmon and steelhead trout. The dam produces 9MW of hydro power, a tiny fraction of PacifiCorp’s 8600MW capacity.
Dam removal is supported by the Yakama Nation, an aboriginal group, as it would help restore traditional tribal fishing. Many conservationists also agree with the proposal as removing Condit will not only help salmon and steelhead but would provide other benefits of a free-flowing river, including rafting and kayaking. However, the move is opposed by lakeside cabin owners, boaters and anglers, who view Condit dam as a treasured resource that has been part of the landscape for 86 years. Some conservationists like the White Salmon River Steelheaders, also oppose dam removal as it could harm trout which live in the reservoir created by the dam.