This week, Portland General Electric began the largest dam removal in the Pacific Northwest in nearly 50 years.
Removing these two dams will allow water from the Columbia River to flow from Mt Hood once more, freeing fish and other wildlife to resume their natural habitat. Steelhead and salmon need fresh flowing water to survive, and “removal of Marmot Dam is a historic moment in salmon recovery taking place in the backyard of metropolitan Portland.”
Eight feet of the 47-foot-tall Marmot Dam was removed by Tuesday afternoon and over the next two months there will be five more blasts, along with jackhammers working daily, company spokesman Mark Fryburg said.
“Today, this partnership took a great step toward restoring a breathtaking river for fish, wildlife and people,” Portland General Electric CEO and President Peggy Fowler said in a statement.
Using dams to create electricity seems like a nice way to use a renewable resource (rushing water) to generate power, but the damage it does to the eco-system probably isn’t worth it. As Portland General Electric saw, the dams will one day have to be removed to restore critical fish and wildlife. Portland electric consumers are fortunate to be able to use wind power, at a considerable discount. Wind and solar power allow electric companies to reduce their impact on the environment.
Unfortunately, NE Ohio is considering building more dams to generate electric power. Our current dams are posing health risks because the water downstream is so polluted. While power companies in the west are taking steps to remove dams, this seems like a step backward. Why not invest in wind and solar? We do get plenty of sunny days here, and plenty of wind too. I hope more companies follow the example of Great Lakes Brewing Company, and the Cleveland Indians stadium, and invest in renewable energy. (posts on those forthcoming)
Tip of the day: Use a Brita or Pur water filter pitcher instead of bottled water. (saves money, power, landfill space, and plastic)