I won’t say too much about this to belabor the point, but this is a great video put out by the Hydropower Reform Coalition, a group aimed at pushing the hydropower industry to better manage dams in order to reduce their impact, often great, on river ecosystems.
Dams are complicated things. They’re emission-free and have great side effects, like turning the Central Washington desert into a major agricultural region, but they’re hell on rivers. Salmon are some of the most well-known losers. But dams can impact everything from water temperature and sediment flows to flooding lowland valleys, which are important for animals in search of food in the winter.
I consider myself reasonably informed on Northwest issues, but I had admittedly never heard of “small hydro” until coming across this video on the blog for the American Alps Legacy Project. Let’s just say the video, in all its tongue-in-cheek glory, did its job by framing the debate from the get-go and successfully shaping my opinion, while getting quite a few laughs out of me as well. I’m on board with their view that we should make the most of the dams we have rather than building new ones that will damage creeks in the North Cascades like this.
Bottom line: It’s an impressive piece of work from a fairly small advocacy group.