Dismantling Dams on Our Waterways.
Dismantling dams on some of the worlds water ways is an extraordinary event. Whether for environmental or economic reasons there will be downsides for some folk. Built over a century ago in some cases, people over a number of generations, have become accustomed to their benefits and economic values. Many people have built their lives, families and incomes from these structures both directly and indirectly.
During a not so recent family visit to the Pacific North West, and unbeknownst to me, brother in law Ted had arranged the hire of a river boat on one of these magnificent dams. Three couples and one youngster had more than adequate space and comfort on this purpose built vessel over the next few days. One hundred and forty miles and two major rivers along with significant Canadian snow melt gave rise of one foot per day, even with irrigation of half a million acres under way. This phenomenon provided excellent fishing and abundant wildlife on show, much to our delight.
One morning at day break, rather than use the boat toilet, Ali did the decent thing by going ashore to use a toilet on a vacant meeting place adjacent to where we were moored. He returned in no time at all siting, ‘Dave, are you awake?, there’s a snake in the toilet’. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes I responded, ‘Did you get the paper work done Ali?’ ‘Nope, not in that toilet anyway’. The commotion stirred brother in law Ted into action to investigate, ‘holy crap, it’s a rattler’, came his voice from the early morning mists. By the time the entire manifest of our boat had gathered around in various states of undress, Ted had the rattler dangling over a willow stick. The youngster was instrumental in saving the snake from becoming breakfast when he blurted out, ‘it might have brothers and sisters’.
In most cases the resilience of our fauna and flora enables them to adapt to human changes that occurred generations ago. To say the same about their human counterparts when the process is reversed could well be arguable. According to a recent report, over 800 dams have been dismantled in the US alone.