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NFC: River runs Free

[NOTE: the following is from a Web posting by the International Rivers
Network -- Rebuffoni] 

Baraboo River officially "running free" 

In October 2001, history was made in Baraboo, Wisconsin. With the clank
backhoe against concrete, the Linen Mill Dam, the final dam on the
River, was dismantled, restoring the entire Baraboo River, all 115 miles
it, to free-flowing condition. The Baraboo River is now officially the 
longest mainstem of a river returned to free-flowing through dam removal
American history. There is a lot to celebrate in this achievement. The 
Baraboo River Restoration was a six-year campaign involving a vast number

stakeholders including the City of Baraboo, the Wisconsin Department of 
Natural Resources, River Alliance of Wisconsin, the US Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Sand County Foundation and other agencies and groups who worked 
tirelessly to purchase and remove the final four dams on the river. It is

being held as a model of dam removal where everyone wins and all parties,

local, state and federal, play an important role in the process. "This
a long time in coming and is a tribute to all of the hard work of many 
partners," said River Alliance of Wisconsin executive director Todd Ambs.

"The free-flowing Baraboo River is rapidly healing itself proving what we

have often said  if you remove the dams, the fish will come. Selective
removal is one of the best tools we have for restoring the health of
throughout Wisconsin." Changes have come indeed, with documented
in fish diversity from 11 to 26 species and larger populations of darters

and smallmouth bass upstream of the dams. Wisconsin leads the country in 
dam removal, with 100 deteriorating structures taken down in the last 35

For more information, visit the River Alliance of Wisconsin at 
http://www.wisconsinrivers.org. E-mail River Alliance at 
wisrivers at wisconsinrivers_org, or contact their Small Dams Program
Helen Sarakinos, at 608.257.2424. 

(Sandin, Jo, "After 150 years, dams no longer interrupt Baraboo River," 
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 October 2001.) 

Fish ladders bring new life to streams in Iowa 

Gary Siegwarth sees the future in the idea of fish ladders. The
of Natural Resources fisheries biologist wants people to know how they
revitalize dozens of Iowa streams and the aquatic species that are often 
missing from them. At Quasqueton in Buchanan County, a flooded 'stairway'

ascends the west bank of the Wapsipinicon River adjacent to the old dam. 
The just completed fish ladder links upstream and downstream stretches of

the Wapsi. At the top, it links with a culvert, directing water from the 
upstream side down the cobbled platforms. "We have a set of riffle pools 
that the fish use," Siegwarth points out. "They can use a quick burst of 
speed to get up the fast moving water, then rest in the pool before 
'stairstepping' the rapids into succeeding pools." "Fish migrate for
reasons: for spawning, for feed purposes and for overwinter habitat," 
explains Siegwarth.  Of the three urges, it is the overwintering instinct

that is critical. "From our radio telemetry data, we see mass 
concentrations of game species overwintering in very specific kinds of
water habitat," stresses Siegwarth. "If they can't migrate to these
there is a great deal of mortality. Just having water doesn't necessarily

guarantee good habitat." That's because fish have to utilize the limited 
downstream wintering areas. Any good angler will tell you that at certain

times of the year, the fishing just below a dam is excellent. Often, that

is because fish are stacked up, trying to get upstream through an 
unyielding dam. 

(Wilkinson, Joe, "Fish ladders bring new life to streams," The Associated

Press State & Local Wire, 11 October 2001.) 
Robert Rice
NFC president

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