Dams are essentially created to benefit us, but they can also have profound implications, such as disrupting the water’s natural balance and impacting the surrounding wildlife. So, while managing dams and preventing them from damaging our environment can be tricky, the best solution may be to remove the barrier altogether.
After all, the escalating costs of our globe’s dams, combined with enhanced awareness of their disruptive environmental impacts, have triggered dam removal procedures as a fair restorative method. Let’s take a little glance at this in more detail below!
What is Dam Removal, And Why Does it Matter?
Dam removal refers to the procedure of getting rid of a dam, effectively reviving the flow of water in a river. It is crucial because damming can negatively impact ecosystems by modifying the composition of our water flow. Indeed, the rising temperature in waters that have been dammed deters species from creating habitats in them. Furthermore, dams can also reduce the oxygen levels in the water, with excess nitrogen levels causing the death of species, including but not limited to trout, salmon, snails, and even river dolphins.
Why Damn Removal is Vital For Wildlife
Now that you know a bit more about why dam removal is critical, let’s take a peek at it in a bit more detail regarding our planet’s wildlife. After all, dam construction impacts animal and plant life near them for several reasons.
Upstream, the river becomes flooded, creating a reservoir; downstream, the dam holds back sediment. When an area is flooded, species are required to depart from it, whilst plant life gets killed. Rarer and more vulnerable species may even become endangered further.
Humans have started to conduct reservoir procedures to help the affected species and plants survive in nature reserves. Despite this, these projects can only be carried out successfully when careful thought has been inputted. After all, dams prevent animals such as fish from migrating to safer areas, which is why some have started implementing fish passes into dams, if not getting rid of the barrier altogether. This design enables fish to swim upstream to spawn and downstream later on. This removes various issues associated with downstream environmental impacts that promote non-native species while restoring movement routes.
Why Damn Removal is Important For People
In the discussion of dam removal, we also need to consider people as well as wildlife. Admittedly, dams can affect people’s livelihoods regarding working and living. For example, many humans have been forced to leave their households and set up new homes, with communities being broken up into different regions. Furthermore, many of those in fishing occupations struggled to get new work following the relocation. To tackle these problems surrounding dams, authorities have started implementing resettlement procedures to minimize the damage inflicted on humans in dam areas, including employment opportunities and compensation.
Overall, this will be an ongoing process that will continue to play out as significant numbers of dams emerge as safety liabilities and fail to serve their initial purposes. An increase in dam removal has paved the way for a better understanding of the impact this can have on the ecosystem, specifically rivers.
The long-term ecological advantages of dam removal include resident and migratory species recovery, enhanced water quality, and sediment transport, all indicating that this type of removal can be a fantastic restoration tool for rivers in the long run. As communities continue to face adjusting land use and hydrologic drivers, the dam removal process will be a crucial route to maintain and improve our ecosystem.
We can learn a lot from this content, including that dams may be more harmful than we initially thought. Planners now need to think more carefully before constructing dams due to their whole host of environmental problems.
Secondly, foundations supporting the policy of dam removal may be able to gain increased support as environmental awareness increases. Individuals are starting to care more and more about our environment, suggesting we can expect eco-friendly organizations to thrive in the long run.
All in all, dam removal is a fair restorative strategy to help both people and wildlife thrive in our current environment. We can start protecting our planet appropriately today by taking strategies like this!