Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dammed if you do

damThis week, Portland General Electric began the largest dam removal in the Pacific Northwest in nearly 50 years.

Removing these two dams will allow water from the Columbia River to flow from Mt Hood once more, freeing fish and other wildlife to resume their natural habitat. Steelhead and salmon need fresh flowing water to survive, and "removal of Marmot Dam is a historic moment in salmon recovery taking place in the backyard of metropolitan Portland."

Eight feet of the 47-foot-tall Marmot Dam was removed by Tuesday afternoon and over the next two months there will be five more blasts, along with jackhammers working daily, company spokesman Mark Fryburg said.

"Today, this partnership took a great step toward restoring a breathtaking river for fish, wildlife and people," Portland General Electric CEO and President Peggy Fowler said in a statement.

Using dams to create electricity seems like a nice way to use a renewable resource (rushing water) to generate power, but the damage it does to the eco-system probably isn't worth it. As Portland General Electric saw, the dams will one day have to be removed to restore critical fish and wildlife. Portland electric consumers are fortunate to be able to use wind power, at a considerable discount. Wind and solar power allow electric companies to reduce their impact on the environment.

Unfortunately, NE Ohio is considering building more dams to generate electric power. Our current dams are posing health risks because the water downstream is so polluted. While power companies in the west are taking steps to remove dams, this seems like a step backward. Why not invest in wind and solar? We do get plenty of sunny days here, and plenty of wind too. I hope more companies follow the example of Great Lakes Brewing Company, and the Cleveland Indians stadium, and invest in renewable energy. (posts on those forthcoming)

Tip of the day: Use a Brita or Pur water filter pitcher instead of bottled water. (saves money, power, landfill space, and plastic)

6 comments:

Petey said...

Why Not? Because the stranglehold that the energy mafia has on us will need to abate first.

I am all for alt energy...it sort of soothes my applied science nature

terra said...

Petey, I was talking to a guy who works for Ohio Edison and he was saying how the solar panels at the Indians stadium won't do any good. I wonder if his employer as an incentive to tell their employees that renewable energy doesn't help... He was actually pretty defensive about it. If it's so impractical, why would anyone do it?
(I'll do a post on those solar panels and their savings soon)

Petey said...

T, my deceased uncle was district manager for Columbia Gas, He told us all about how the energy cartel has the "fix" in.

Probably, the energy cartel has a contingency angle on how to control alt energy when it finally knocks their egg off the wall.

The spreadsheet on solar panels includes the startup costs and so forth. For ethanol, I predict that it will production will grow when gasoline hits about $3.75- $4.00/ gallon

I still feel good about the Indians and their solar panels.

Incidentally, The Eisenhower Library in Abilene, KS has a very impressive array of solar panels that power the premises. All that alt energy from a great Republican's family.

Anonymous said...

Terra, Awesome blog! BG was there and saw it happen. He is so excited. Thank you so much for taking interest and posting this on your blog.
love you
mom
This was in the IFish blog here in the northwest:
Yesterday, B.G. Eilertson of Joe's Sports (Former NSIA President, and current Board Member) and I attended the formal "blasting ceremony" for the removal of Marmot Dam on the Sandy. It has been eight long years of work by over 23 Government, business and non profit organizations, and many of us there reminisced about the days when we didn't (quite) believe this would really happen.

The coffer dam is in place, diverting the entire flow of the river around the original dam. While humongous construction buckets and trucks stood ready, a crowd of appropriately 100 counted down 'till Peggy Fowler of P.G.E. pushed the plunger. The dynamite was intended to initiate the deconstruction of the concrete structure over this summer. The coffer dam will give in to the Sandy river's own demolition effort, sometime after the first heavy rains this fall.

The Association of Northwest Steelheaders, Sandy River chapter, were well represented at the event, as they should be. If it were not for them, and their strong stewardship on the river, the fishery resources would not be what they are today.

PGE has gifted 15,000 acres of land to the public for recreational purposes--a crown jewel just outside of the Portland/Vancouver metro area for fishing, hiking, kayaking, rafting, bird watching, wildlife viewing, and just generally being in love with the Pacific NW. Oregon now has a true inland river that will flow unimpeded to the ocean. We have the chance to watch a river heal itself, and learn how fish, wildlife and aquatic life respond to the free flowing river. We can also be very proud to be in a region where we are big enough to know when we need to change our course in order to have a better future.

Yours in service,

Liz Hamilton, Executive Director
Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association
PO Box 4
Oregon City, OR 97045
503 631 8859
866 315 NSIA

terra said...

I had a feeling BG was involved in this somehow. It's nice to see the company realizing natural resources.

Anonymous said...

Terra, on your tip of the day:use your brita pitcher instead of bottled......we had a news flash the other day on a bottled water company that confessed their water is basically just tap. OMGosh! People are paying money for something that probably is not good for them. Brita is so wonderful and it sure tastes great too.