USFWS Dam Removal Report

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently released its 2012 National Fish Passage Program Annual Report.

More than 200 dams and other fish passage obstacles on U.S. waterways were removed in 2012 through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Fish Passage Program.

Working with numerous partners, the program improves fish passage, local economies and public safety by ridding the nation’s rivers of derelict dams that no longer serve a purpose.

According to USFWS statistics, there are approximately 74,000 derelict dams and millions of other manmade river impediments in the United States.

These structures impede upstream and downstream passage for native fish, destroy or eliminate access to key spawning habitat, and degrade water quality by preventing normal stream flow that cleanses river systems. In addition, if aging dams fail, they can threaten human safety in downstream communities.

The Service’s FY 2012 National Fish Passage Program Annual Report illustrates a number of collaborative accomplishments, from Alaska to the southeast United States.

Last year, projects were completed in more than 40 states in cooperation with approximately 300 partners across the nation. Projects included fish passage barrier removals, engineering, planning and partnership coordination, monitoring and evaluation, and barrier inventories.

According to USFWS, the National Fish Passage Program has helped fish, wildlife and people in numerous ways. Species benefited by fish passage projects include native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, leopard darter, Ouachita shiner, Rio Grande cutthroat trout, northern pike, American shad, blueback herring, American eel, brook trout, Atlantic salmon, Dolly Varden char, imperiled freshwater mussels, and even the Hawaiian freshwater shrimp. Plants and other native wildlife also benefit from the program’s efforts to restore free-flowing waters.

According to the agency, 70 percent of funds applied to on-the-ground projects and leveraged at a 3:1 ratio (nonfederal match to federal program funds),

Since 1999, the program has:

* Removed 1,345 fish passage barriers.

* Reopened access to 20,229 stream miles.

* Benefited more than 90 species of fish and freshwater mussels.

* Supported 219,195 jobs.

* Provided $11 billion in economic value to local communities.

The FY 2012 report also outlines goals for FY 2013, including identification of more than 350 “shovel-ready” fish passage projects and strategies to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and others to develop a long-term approach for dealing with aquatic resources and road infrastructure resiliency in advance of flooding and other natural disasters.

To view a copy of the report, visit:

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service