River of the Year

HRC or member-contributed

Submitted to this collection by:

Hydropower Reform Coalition, American Whitewater, American Rivers
Videos Published   9/2/2011

Films by Maser Films

The biggest dam removal in history begins September 17, 2011 on Washington’s Elwha River. Removing the two dams on the Elwha will restore a free-flowing river, abundant salmon runs, and deliver significant cultural, economic, and recreation benefits to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and surrounding communities. American Rivers has dubbed 2011 “The Year of the River” because our country will reach the significant milestone of 1000 dams removed nationwide. The Elwha’s Glines Canyon Dam, at 210 feet tall, will be the tallest dam ever removed.

The restoration of Washington’s White Salmon River begins on October 26, when a hole will be blasted at the base of Condit Dam. Removing the outdated 125-foot tall dam will restore the health of the river and habitat for salmon and steelhead. It will also create new recreation opportunities on this river that is already a premier whitewater destination. The conservation community, including Friends of the White Salmon, the Yakama Nation, American Rivers, American Whitewater, and others have worked for more than 20 years to restore the river.

The third video in our Year of the River series, this film gives background on the historic Elwha River conservation success, and introduces us to two advocates, Rick Rutz and Shawn Cantrell, who helped make it happen. And special thanks to our oarsman Bruce McGlenn for getting us down the river.

2011 was an historic year for rivers. The two dam removal projects that began as “crazy ideas” 30 years ago kicked off this year on the Elwha and White Salmon Rivers in Washington. These dam removal projects are the largest in history and represent a turning point in the effort to restore freeflowing rivers for salmon, recreation and culture. The climactic moment of the year was the explosive breach of 125 foot tall Condit Dam on the White Salmon, captured using video and timelapse photography techniques.

 

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