American Rivers, a non-profit environmental advocacy organization, is working to remove unnecessary dams and restore rivers to their natural state.
The World Economic Forum featured American Rivers in a TikTok video. The video highlights an interview with Amy Kober, vice president of communications at American Rivers, on the removal of the Elwha Dam in Olympic State Park, Washington. The dam was removed in 2011 due to community flooding issues, sediment flow disruptions, and salmon migration blockages.
@worldeconomicforum This organisation is removing dams and restoring rivers to their natural state #rivers #usa #dams #fish #fishing #wildlife #nature #earth #explosion ♬ original sound – World Economic Forum
“When the dams were still there, I was able to stand on the top of the Elwha Dam and see the salmon. They were still, after a hundred years, trying to get back upstream,” Kober told the World Economic Forum. “So now [that] the dams are gone, it’s just transforming the entire river.”
While dams offer many benefits to society, they can also cause great harm to rivers and streams. The World Economic Forum shared that, as of 2019, the world has almost 60,000 large dams, but only one-third of the world’s longest rivers flow freely. Besides causing major waterway blockages, American Rivers stated that unnecessary dams can negatively alter river habitats and water quality.
Dam removal and other river restoration efforts can significantly improve the health of river ecosystems. Although American Rivers has successfully completed 200 dam removals since its founding, there is still a long way to go. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, there are more than 90,000 dams over six feet tall blocking the nation’s rivers and streams.
“There’s a lot of opportunity to take down dams that are causing undue harm to the environment, to water quality, to fish, and wildlife,” Kober told the World Economic Forum. “If we can give rivers some room to do their thing, that will lead to a healthier system for not only the river, but for people too.”
TikTok users reacted to the educational video in the post’s comment section.
“It seems we’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past… And we’re finally turning the corner on trying to make things right,” a TikToker commented.
“I agree that we need dams, but we don’t need all of them,” another wrote.
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