A study, conducted by conservationist groups American Rivers, Trout Unlimited and Friends of the Earth, documents more than 465 dams that have been removed across the US, including 25 detailed case histories. Despite the growing debate about dam removal little information about previous cases has been available to policy makers and the general public in the US.
The report says that the dams highlighted in the study were removed because their adverse impact on rivers and riverside communities outweighed their benefits. ‘We are not advocating the removal of all dams, only the removal of dams that don’t make sense,’ said American Rivers spokesperson Elizabeth Maclin, who added that dam removals must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The report clarifies that dam removal is not appropriate for all or even most of the nation’s dams but many have outlived their usefulness.
Environmental groups estimate there are as many as
two million dams across the country, including 75,000 which are higher than 1.8m. Less than 1% of these dams are currently under consideration for removal.