Removing dams in US and protection of European rivers
The largest dam removal project in U.S. history is underway on the Klamath River along the California-Oregon border – four dams in that area will be removed by 2024. The electricity-generating structures have stopped the river’s natural flow and disrupted the salmon’s life cycle. These fish are culturally and spiritually significant to the indigenous people living there. Removing dams that block the natural flow of rivers and streams is an increasingly popular trend in the U.S.
In Swedish Lapland, Rewilding Sweden is removing artificial river barriers, strengthening beaver populations, and restoring drained wetlands, peat bogs and riverine forests damaged by the forestry industry. The restored rivers will act as migration corridors for reindeer, which is essential for the indigenous Swedish Sámi. Henrik Persson from Rewilding Sweden says, “natural river catchments are also more resilient to climate change.”
Through its EMPOWER Rivers programme, Thames21 will enable Londoners to take greater responsibility for the condition of their local rivers. A network of independent community groups can apply for small grants to finance their work. Volunteers will gain access to the knowledge and skills necessary to take care of the condition of rivers and carry out their restoration on a small scale. You can hear about the condition of rivers and restoring their natural habitat in our conversation on YouTube, which Ania Górnicka had with Ilona Biedroń, an independent expert with almost 20 years of experience in implementing water management projects.