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Dam Removal

Backers of a plan to remove Matilija Dam may have found an ally in a Ventura County congressman who believes removing the structure has merit because it could save fish and restore sand flows to the coast. In an action likely to focus more attention on the controversial proposal, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) has called on federal engineers to begin an investigation on how to remove the dam.
July 27, 2004 | Gregory W. Griggs, Times Staff Writer
Demolition of Matilija Dam near Ojai could reduce water supplies for some customers, while harming efforts to rescue the endangered steelhead trout, said local water agency officials who are concerned that these issues are not addressed in the project's environmental impact report.
Conservationists who cheered the removal of a 162-year-old dam in Maine's capital last year also welcomed the replacement of a dam on a backwoods river that was only slightly younger. Removal of the Edwards Dam, which stretched 917 feet across the Kennebec River, completed the rebirth of a historically rich fishery. The dam, 40 miles upstream from the Atlantic Ocean, was the first hydroelectric dam in the country ordered removed by the U.S. government for protection of the environment.
March 20, 2003 | Matea Gold, Times Staff Writer
Get your rebar out of our lake. That was the message Wednesday from the Los Angeles City Council, nine months after the Army Corps of Engineers dumped chunks of concrete laced with steel rebar into a lake at Hansen Dam, a recreation spot popular with joggers and horse riders in the northeast San Fernando Valley. Last summer, residents noticed blocks of concrete under the water, discarded there by the corps after it rebuilt a nearby swimming lake.
October 13, 2001 | From Times Wire Reports
An 80-year-old dam that helps irrigate Oregon farmland will be knocked down and replaced with a new pumping station, boosting local fish runs, government officials announced in a new agreement. The Savage Rapids Dam, which stands 39 feet high and 460 feet wide, has been a source of contention between farmers and conservationists for years. The state fisheries bureau said the dam was the "biggest killer" of steelhead and endangered salmon on the river.
July 2, 1999 | Associated Press
As church bells pealed Thursday, a torrent of water was unleashed through a man-made gap in the 162-year-old Edwards Dam in the first U.S. government-ordered demolition of a dam in the name of conservation. The removal of the hydroelectric dam opens an upstream stretch of the Kennebec River to Atlantic salmon and other fish for the first time since the 1830s. It is seen as a precedent for other projects, particularly in the West, where some dams have been targeted for similar fates.
February 10, 2007
Re "The tide may be turning for salmon," Current, Feb. 4 Paul VanDevelder's piece about dams and salmon left the impression that our devastated Pacific salmon runs can be restored if only we remove hydroelectric dams from the rivers. Certainly, anyone who loves the West should support dam removal. But I can state from personal experience that the main reason for the decline of Pacific salmon runs is clear-cut logging in coastal streams. When excessive silt pours down the rivers after forests are destroyed, spawning gravel becomes choked and uninhabitable.
September 30, 2009 | Bettina Boxall
In a major boost for California's dwindling salmon stocks, a utility company has agreed to the removal of four hydroelectric dams that for decades have blocked fish migrations on one of the West Coast's most important salmon rivers. The dam decommissioning is vital to restoring the Klamath River, which for years has been the subject of bitter feuding among farmers, fishermen and tribal interests. It would open historic salmon spawning and rearing grounds on the upper reaches of the river, which winds from southern Oregon through the Cascades and Coast Ranges to California's Pacific Coast.
December 20, 1998
Re "Demolishing Dam May Not Help Fish," Dec. 6. There are always those who say it can't be done--but dams are starting to come down all around the country. Most recently, the Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River in Maine was been slated for removal. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Bruce Babbitt, secretary of the Interior, said: "This is not a call to remove all, most or even many dams. But this is a challenge to dam owners and operators to defend themselves--to demonstrate by hard facts that the continued operation of a dam is in the public interest, economically and environmentally."
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