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NFC: Fw: RiverCurrents: December 7, 2001

RiverCurrents: December 7, 2001 
Brought to you by www.americanrivers.org: 
The online community for river activists and river friends 
AOL KEYWORD: American Rivers 
RiverCurrents is a weekly summary of river news and information as
by media outlets across the country. The inclusion of a story or point of
in RiverCurrents does not necessarily indicate endorsement by American
If you have clarifications or corrections about a story in RiverCurrents,
send them to asouers at amrivers_org. 
Do your holiday shopping this season...and help rivers! 
When you buy your gifts here this holiday season, a percentage of each 
purchase will be donated to river conservation efforts. 
Here's just a sampling of what's for sale in our 'river marketplace' -- 
* Fleece vests from Patagonia 
* A beautiful brass rain gauge for your backyard or garden 
* "Hydro Stik" water guns for your next water fight on the river 
* A deluxe fly-tying kit from Umpqua Feather Merchants 
* Chaco sandals 
Come check it out! 
This week's river news: 
1) "Stranded Mid-Stream" -- New report released on hydropower reform 
The Hydropower Reform Coalition this week released a report documenting
how certain 
rivers are languishing in regulatory limbo due to industry foot-dragging
intergovernmental bickering over the licenses for hydropower dams. 
The report outlines the true causes of these delays, the consequences for
the health 
of the rivers, their fish and wildlife inhabitants, and the recreational
and economic 
opportunities the rivers support. The coalition also recommends reforms
to speed the 
dam licensing process while maintaining stringent environmental
Click here for the report, map, and additional materials: 
New: Information Kit 
Confused about the in's and out's of hydropower, dam licensing, and
Get a clear overview of the issues and solutions in our 
user-friendly online information kit. 

2) BPA "fails salmon, fails people"-- new report released 
In the wake of the deadliest Columbia and Snake river salmon and
steelhead migration 
since Pacific salmon stocks landed on the Endangered Species list, a
coalition of fishing 
and conservation groups this week released a report detailing how the
Bonneville Power 
Administration (BPA) could have significantly helped salmon while keeping
power rates 
low - but chose not to do so. 
The Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition report, titled "Bonneville Power
Administration and 
the 2001 Salmon Migration," focuses on the federal agency which markets
power produced 
by federal dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers. 
The report documents that, during the summer of 2001 when migrating young
salmon badly 
needed help, BPA could have allowed water for those fish to spill over
the dams, at a cost 
of well under a dollar per month for most residential ratepayers that
receive federal power. 
Instead, BPA ordered nearly all the water legally reserved for salmon to
be run through turbines 
to generate electricity. ("Spill" is water passed over the top of a dam
rather than through 
its turbines, and is the safest method of getting young salmon past
"For a couple of pennies per day, people could have had both salmon and
low-cost power, but 
BPA chose not to do that," said the coalition's Nicole Cordan. 
(Save Our Wild Salmon press release, 12-3-01) 
For more information on restoring Columbia and Snake river salmon, click
***Test your River IQ*** 
Put this list of rivers in order from longest to shortest 
(Answer is at the bottom of this email) 
Columbia River 
St. Lawrence River 
Yukon River 
Colorado River 
Missouri River 
Mississippi River 

3) Tackling polluted runoff 
Rain -- and polluted runoff from rooftops and pavement-- is the
fastest-growing source of 
contaminants in many watersheds across the country. It is an especially
dire problem 
in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 
As reports the Washington Post (12-3-01), by the time rainfall from a
single storm reaches 
the bay, it can carry 10,000 tons of dirt and grit and millions of pounds
of toxins and 
nutrient pollution. 
And according to the Environmental Protection Agency: 
In one year, rain pouring off streets, roofs and parking lots washes more
than 442,000 tons 
of sand, mud and grit, nearly 3 million pounds of phosphorous and 28.2
million pounds of 
nitrogen into the watershed. 
The runoff is responsible for fouling nearly 1,600 miles of streams and
destroying thousands 
of acres of habitat for crabs, fish and other aquatic life. 
This week, officials from Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC and
Pennsylvania said they hope 
to lead the way in demonstrating new technologies that can dramatically
decrease rainwater pollution. 
At the heart of the agreement is a dramatic shift in thinking about how
best to design home sites 
and developments to minimize environmental impacts. 
As reports the Post, "Under the old way of thinking, construction
engineers drew development 
plans so that rainwater was quickly flushed away from buildings and into
drainage ponds or 
nearby creeks. Over time, however, the ponds fill up with dirt and
sediment and flood into 
neighboring streams and communities." 
But with the new low-impact construction designs, developers should aim
to leave a site's 
natural drainage functions intact as much as possible, adding small
gardens and vegetation 
to soak up rainwater. 
Innovative drainage techniques can go a long way in helping to clean up
local waters. 
Scientists estimate that rain gardens -- patches of vegetation built into
parking lots and 
home sites that trap water and allow it to soak back into the ground --
can trap 94 percent 
of the sediment, 70 percent of nitrogen and 43 percent of phosphorous
that is washed off 
the land by rain. 
Conservation solutions 
Mary, Mary, quite contrary 
How does your garden grow? 
With silver bells and cockleshells 
...and rooftop planters all in a row. 
***Learn more about rooftop gardening*** 
4) General Electric ordered to pay for Hudson River cleanup 
The Environmental Protection Agency ordered General Electric Co. this
week to pay 
nearly half a billion dollars to dredge toxic PCBs from the upper Hudson
The order comes after vigorous efforts by the company and its political
allies to derail 
the river restoration plan. 
As reports the Washington Post (12-5-01), EPA Administrator Christine
Todd Whitman 
essentially held to the proposal unveiled last summer calling for the
dredging of 2.65 million 
cubic yards of contaminated sediment along 40 miles of the Hudson. The
riverbed was 
contaminated with PCBs from GE manufacturing plants over several decades.

General Electric had spent millions of dollars' worth of advertising
insisting that dredging would 
further damage the river. Environmental groups and New York's political
establishment, including 
Gov. George E. Pataki and Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles E.
Schumer, supported 
the dredging plan. 
"Overall, we're pleased Administrator Whitman recommited to the cleanup
and the restoration 
of the Hudson," said Chris Ballantyne, director of the Sierra Club's
Hudson River campaign. 
"We thought GE would seek to kill the cleanup before it began." 
"This cleanup is essential to the future of the river," said Richard
Schiafo, environmental project 
manager for Scenic Hudson, which has led the battle to dredge the river. 

Washington Post (12-5-01) 
Read more about the Hudson, named the fourth Most Endangered River 
in the nation in April 2001: 
Group of the Month: 
The Center for Watershed Protection 
Do your community's development rules protect your rivers 
and streams? CWP can help you find out: 
Answer to River IQ Quiz 
Here is the list, in order from longest to shortest: 
Missouri River 
Mississippi River 
Yukon River 
St. Lawrence River 
Colorado River 
Columbia River 
Click here for the actual river lengths and other river facts: 

About RiverCurrents 
RiverCurrents is a weekly summary of river news and information as
by media outlets across the country. The inclusion of a story or point of
in RiverCurrents does not necessarily indicate endorsement by American
If you have clarifications or corrections about a story in RiverCurrents,
send them to asouers at amrivers_org. 
To unsubscribe to RiverCurrents, please email asouers at amrivers_org 
with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line. 

About American Rivers 
Headquartered in Washington, DC with field offices around the country,
American Rivers 
is a national non-profit conservation organization dedicated to
protecting and restoring 
rivers and to fostering a river stewardship ethic. 
If you'd like to support our conservation efforts, please consider
a member of American Rivers. 
Visit www.americanrivers.org/joindonate/default.htm or call
1-800-296-6900 x3009 
to find out how. An American Rivers membership also makes a nice gift. 
Additional information is available at our website,

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