Free Rivers: The State of Dam Removal in the U.S.

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American Rivers


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Case StudiesDecommissioning and removalReportsPublished   3/22/2022

This 2022 report from American Rivers provides a comprehensive look at the current state of dam removal across the country,

2021 Dam Removal Summary Statistics

  • Number of dams removed in 2021: 57 removals
  • Number of upstream river miles reconnected in 2021: More than 2,131 miles
  • Top states for dam removals in 2021:
    • Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Oregon (all with 7 removals each)
    • New Jersey (6 removals)
    • Wisconsin (4 removals)
  • 22 states removed dams in 2021: California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin

Historical Dam Removal Summary Statistics

  • Total number of dam removals from 1912-2021: 1,951 removals
  • Years with the highest numbers of dam removals:
    • 2018 (111 removals)
    • 2019 (102 removals)
    • 2017 (99 removals)

The following are highlights of 2021 dam removals and a curated list of dam removal projects to watch in 2022 and beyond.

  1. Ward Mill Dam, Watauga River, North Carolina
  2. Sugar Creek Dam, Sugar Creek, Indiana
  3. Red Ives Dam, Red Ives Creek, Idaho
  4. Hyde Dam, Second Branch of the White River, Vermont
  5. Hammel Woods Dam, DuPage River, Illinois

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