new-logo25Chuck Frank


In spite of the seven year drought and future weather patterns that are not necessarily predictable, one would think that storing water for domestic use or agricultural needs such as growing food and raising livestock would be a priority for government. Not in California. Yet, fast track environmentalism in the last 20 years that caused the removal of 971 dams after Bill Clinton’s term as President, but at a later date, President George W. Bush, during his Presidency, opposed breaching dams in the Pacific Northwest.

fish 1Today, dam removal in the United States is now stronger than ever while the Western United States presently needs even more water than ever, but farmers in the Central Valley are fully cut off from their normal allotments. If we remember, years ago, the Auburn dam proposal was shelved because of the “potential” of earthquakes. Really, or was there something else going on under the radar?

Enviro, politicians in 19 states, working in partnership with enviro, nonprofit organizations and state and federal agencies, removed 72 dams in 2014, along 730 miles of streams in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. 51 dams were also removed in 2013. (All statistics by American Rivers.)

While environmentalists climb aboard the “climate change” movement, one would think that because of less water being available in drought laden states, that the top priority for government, and especially in California would be “water storage” because the Central Valleyprovides an extraordinary amount of food, fruits, nuts and vegetables for the entire nation and other parts of the world.  But that isn’t the case. Free flowing river restoration in our country is “more important” than putting water and food on our tables, all the while, billions of gallons of precious snow and rain water finds its way into the ocean every week.

Then there is the factor of clean hydroelectric power that is lost along the way when dam removals are done. And what is the end result of this? It will be higher electric costs which will be born by 100 million Americans who are already facing their own financial shortfalls. Many of these people are already living in shack like accommodations or in trailer parks because of inflation. Add this to thousands of factories being closed in America due to out sourcing and the “free trade” factor that benefits corporations going overseas for cheaper labor. But now, these same unemployed people will be paying higher energy costs. There is no end to the present assault on the poor and the middle class.

Finally, the need for dams is very apparent because the deep cold water behind the dams serve as a reserve for not only the volume of water that people and fish need during the summer months, but also dams add to the higher and colder water levels that are needed for fish to survive. Fish need colder water that is released from dams or they will die when stream water is too low and warm during the summer. This was the case this year along the Klamath River in Northern California where dam removals are already taking place. The fish were dying. Also, many streams dry up when there are no dams. The Truckee River which flows from Lake Tahoe at the Tahoe City dam use to dry up every year without the dam.

Consequently, The Truckee River, today, flows all year round all the way to Reno, Nevada and supports the population of trout downstream from the dam.

When dams are engineered correctly they provide water and life for fish, along with affordable power for the people. Dams can be a win, win situation and they have fully demonstrated for a long time that they are an extremely valuable asset for people, the earth, the fish and for many other animals that depend upon water.

House of Lords: America in the Balance
Charles W. Frank
Available in bookstores, & Tate Publishing