Hydroelectric Dams Endanger the Coosa River

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The failure by Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the endangered wildlife from impacts from hydropower projects has qualified the Coosa River as one of nation’s most endangered rivers.

In its America's Most Endangered Rivers™ Report released last week, American Rivers, the nation’s leading conservation organization standing up for healthy rivers and the Chair of the Coalition states,” The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) relicensing of Alabama Power’s dams is the first opportunity in half a century to improve river conditions for people, fish, and wildlife, ensuring a future for 21 federally listed species in the area. Unless FERC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service require Alabama Power Company to clean up their act, many of the listed species will likely go extinct.” Read American Rivers’ statement on the Coosa River project here.

More information on American Rivers’ Most Endangered Rivers™ can be found here.

Alabama Power is seeking one license to operate its three hydroelectric projects (P-2146) that include seven dams on the Coosa river. So far, FERC has failed to require critical studies that would provide the information needed for the protection of imperiled fish and wildlife. American Rivers and Alabama Rivers Alliance, also a Coalition member, have demanded that Fish and Wildlife Service initiate a formal consultation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA, Section 7 consultation) during FERC’s relicensing process.

Once one of the most biologically rich rivers in the world, Coosa River has seen extinction of many freshwater species, including mussels, since the hydroelectric dams were built in the mid 1900’s.