Removing Nelson Dam
Produced by American Rivers, this is the story of the rural town of Craig, Colorado as it faces economic transition away from fossil fuel extraction and toward a possible future that leverages its natural amenities for tourism. Traditionally defined by mining, energy production, and ranching, Craig lies in the high mountain plains above the meandering Yampa River. As the town reckons with the closure of a large coal-fired power plant and surrounding mines, a growing coalition of leaders and community advocates are working to save their town and move from an extraction-based economy to one focused on recreation and tourism, centering the health and well-being of the planet and its inhabitants. Dam removal and restoration of the river are pieces of that puzzle.
Film by California Trout showcases the benefits of the Potter Valley Project to communities, farms and fish on the Eel and Russian Rivers. The project calls for the removal of Scott Dam, which blocks access for salmon and steelhead to nearly 300 miles of prime spawning and rearing habitat, and construction of new facilities to enable continued diversion of water from the Eel to the Russian River.
Scenes from the first water release on the Eklutna River after the removal of the lower dam. The release was temporary and symbolic, but an important moment nonetheless in the long effort to restore the river.
Film by California Trout, provides overview of the effort to remove Rindge Dam and restore Southern California Steelhead.
Nooksack Dam was removed in the summer of 2020, opening 17 miles of habitat for fish, including Chinook salmon, an important part of the culture and diet of the Nooksack and Lummi tribes. Removal also reduces safety risk and maintenance costs to the City of Bellingham, while ensuring long-term reliable water supply and providing jobs. The project is a win-win-win for salmon, Puget Sound orca whale populations, and the community.
Watch a timelapse of the removal of the Nooksack Middle Fork Dam Removal Project, which took place in July 2020. Removal of the dam is listed as one of NOAA Fisheries’ top recommended actions to recover Puget Sound Chinook salmon populations.
Film by the Conservation Fund, in partnership with the Alaska Native Village of Eklutna. Eklutna Dam, in south central Alaska, was built in the late 1920s to provide hydropower to the growing city of Anchorage. Located in traditional Eklutna Dena’ina Territory, the dam has blocked salmon runs for almost 100 years. The dam was decommissioned in the 1950s after sediment filled the reservoir and removed in 2017.
Rattlesnake Dam was removed in the summer of 2020. Its removal restores migratory fish passage to historic spawning grounds on Rattlesnake Creek for the first time in 115 years. The project improves habitat for fish and other animals, adds new recreation opportunities, and offers other benefits to the community and Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes.
Bear River is a working river supporting agriculture and ranching. But over time, the river has suffered and so have the native Bonneville cutthroat trout. Open Rivers Fund is working with Western Native Trout Initiative to remove 13 diversions in the Bear River watershed to open up 90 miles of habitat for native trout, while improving the irrigation function the river provides.
The Watershed Education Network engages community members in Missoula, Montana to monitor Rattlesnake Creek and gather scientific data that informs creek restoration efforts.
Video produced by California Trout: California Trout ranks Matilija Dam, located in the Ventura River watershed, as one of the top 5 dams to remove in California. Originally designed for water storage and flood control, Matilija has filled with sediment over the years, reducing water storage and rendering the dam obsolete. Removing Matilija Dam will reconnect access to critical spawning and rearing habitat for the endangered Southern California steelhead.
Rich Reid’s documentary Watershed Revolution asks the question “What is a Watershed?” The answer is explored through interviews with concerned citizens working to protect and preserve the Ventura River watershed while stunning high definition cinematography highlights the beauty of the river. The unique challenges faced by a river that is the sole source of water for a thirsty community are brought to life and will change forever your definition of a watershed.