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Re: NFC: Re: NANFA-- dam decommissioning

Luke provides an excellent overview of why blanket "quick fixes" are a 
bad idea.  In fact, some dams are of net benefit to native fishes, 
especially when they prevent natives from being assaulted by invasive 
exotics working upstream (remember that post on installing a small, low 
dam in the  Southwest to counter red shiners? Works for controlling 
parasitic sea lampreys also).

As a trained biologist with a lot of fisheries coursework, I can tell 
you that peak-power hydro facilities, which store water, then discharge 
at peak times for power production, tend to be much more destructive to 
aquatic environments than run-of-the-river dams which generate power 
without storage.  However, in some cases, the cold water discharge of 
large impoundments in the South used to generate peak power generate 
cold water in their discharges that supports cold water fisheries that 
are essential to local economies (the famous trout fishery on the White 
River in Arkansas comes to mind as an example).

Dams, like logging, allowing wildfires to burn, reintroduction of 
extirpated species, commercial fishing and a number of similar 
environmental issues can either be destructive or constructive to 
waterways and fisheries, depending on a number of factors that need to 
be considered. Avoid knee-jerk reactions to complicated issues, as 
unthinking responses can do significant damage to your professional 
credibility and that of the organization that you represent. It takes a 
bit of work to do the research necessary for an informed opinion, but 
such effort is the hallmark of the professional.

>From owner-nfc at actwin_com Tue Jan 12 10:48:14 1999
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>Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 12:47:33 -0600 (CST)
>From: mcclurg luke e     <mcclurgl at washburn_edu>
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>To: nanfa at aquaria_net
>cc: robert rice <lepomis at email_msn.com>, NFC Discussions 
<NFC at actwin_com>
>Subject: NFC: Re: NANFA-- dam decommissioning
>In-Reply-To: <s69b3df7.014 at wbdoner_com>
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>On Tue, 12 Jan 1999, Chris Scharpf wrote:
>> Fellow NANFA members and native fish enthusiasts,
>> Please read the following and share your thoughts on the subject of
>> dam decommissioning.
> Is it a good idea?
>A. In some circumstances, yes.  But not in all cases or places.
> Are all dams bad?
>A. H--L NO!  some provide VERY necessary benefits.  Besides, a million
>beavers can't be wrong.
> And should they all come down?
>A. Absolutely NOT!  Forgetting the benefits some dams provide...who 
>pay for all of it?  The 'government', hah, WE are the government and
>'their' money is our money...just more poorly used. 
> How would you feel about NANFA endorsing the Declaration cited below?
>A. Honestly, I would probably resign from the organization...that
>depending on how much actual research NANFA did into the problem on 
>own.  I may be wrong, but I didn't see any scientific organizations
>backing that plan (again, I may have just missed them in the 
>lists).  I have little patience for 'knee-jerk' reactionism and
>emotionalism taking over where common sense is called for.  Tear them 
>down?...I don't THINK so.  
>It's all well and good to talk about this...but where does it end?  
>farm ponds can qualigy as 'dams' in someone's book.  Do the millions of
>farm ponds and private lakes have to be destroyed too?  What about low
>water bridges?  What about the potential thousands of human lives lost 
>to flash flooding that will come from it all?  No, some dams are a good
>thing and we shouldn't begin to even consider throwing out the 'bably 
>the bath water'.  Instead of one blanket endorsement, each dam needs to 
>studied case by case.  But, that's my opinion.
>Luke McClurg

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