Eighteen months after removal of the last chunks of two dams on Washington State's Elwha River, an event marked on Metafilter by this brilliant post by edeezy, the Seattle Times documents the remarkably fast recovery of the Elwha ecosystem, from headwaters to saltwater. Complete Seattle Times' Elwha coverage
More than perhaps any creature, salmon epitomize modern wildlife management. We are willing to bend over backwards, to the point of comedy, to recover species we cherish: We captive-breed black-footed ferrets; we shoot barred owls to save spotted owls; we patiently teach whooping cranes to migrate behind aircraft. Yet coexistence occurs strictly on our terms — and there is always at least one term left non-negotiable. We spend millions on wildlife crossings over highways, yet would never close the highways themselves; we relocate imperiled trees to help them weather climate change without daring to retool our carbon-based economy. In the Columbia Basin, the dams, and their power, are the inviolable condition, the infrastructure that fish and managers must turn cartwheels to accommodate. We will give salmon everything, except what we don’t want to give.The great salmon compromise: High Country News' Ben Goldfarb explores the complicated legal and biological tradeoffs in federal and tribal salmon recovery efforts in the Columbia Basin. [more inside]
Halfway through my three-week, 417-mile journey down the “most endangered” river in America, the water began flowing backward and the mud started talking. It spoke in baritone gurgles, like Barry White trapped in a bong. You know what this is, John? No, Barry White mud. This is QUICKSAND.
Filling the East River. Filling the HUDSON River. Building a dome over Midtown. Borderline crazy proposed infrastructure projects for New York City.
Who knew that dams worsen global warming? Long ignored "run of river" or streaming hydro power now offers an alternative by avoiding a large reservoir. [more inside]
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published their latest Infrastructure Report Card in 2005. America's infrastructure got a D. The ASCE estimate that it will cost $1.6 trillion over a five-year period to bring the nation's infrastructure to good condition. They also have a Critical Infrastructure blog. [Via Gristmill.]
Using enough explosives to topple 400 10-storey buildings, China has blown up [bbc news .asx file] a temporary barrier used to hold water back from the controversial Three Gorges Dam.
Eighty years ago, William Mulholland completed his final project: the St. Francis Dam, which converted San Francisquito Canyon--about 5 miles northeast of what is now Santa Clarita, California--into a 38,000 acre-foot reservoir for Los Angeles/Owens River aqueduct water. You're probably familiar with Mulholland's name --he designed and built the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the beginning of the system with which Los Angeles is supplied water from the Central Valley--and as a gesture of gratitude, the city named its most scenic highway in his honor. Mulholland, the California Water Wars, the aqueduct, and the dam were also referenced and alluded to extensively in Roman Polanski's Chinatown. But the man who helped build an immense metropolis by bringing water to the desert has only a small fountain as a memorial to his legacy. Three minutes before midnight, on March 12, 1928...
More than 16,000 photos related to the USGS from the years 1868 through 1992 are now available online where they may be easily searched, viewed, and downloaded free of charge. These are old stereo pairs, sites drowned by dams, geologists and surveyers in horse drawn wagons, petroglyphs, national parks, Mount St. Helens, John Wesley Powell, hoodoos, arches, ruins, mines...
When the Glen Canyon Dam was completed, it took 18 years for the waters of the Colorado River to flood 186 miles of the most beautiful canyonlands in the world. David Brower called it America's "most regretted environmental mistake." But now Glen Canyon is coming back.
New evidence of madness in the halls of power in the Chinese Empire. An excellent example of how water issues will dominate in the 21st century.