EDWARDS DAM REMOVED ON MAINE'S
© Environment News Service (ENS) 1999. All Rights
Fish restoration efforts on Maine's Kennebec River took
a historic step forward today as the Edwards Dam was breached and the river
ran free for the first time in 162 years. The Kennebec is the largest river
in the United States to benefit from a dam removal and Edwards Dam is among
the largest dams ever removed in the nation. Today's action came as the
result of a precedent setting 1997 decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission (FERC) that the environmental and economic benefits of a free
flowing Kennebec are greater than the economic benefits of continued operation
of the Edwards Dam hydroelectric project. FERC denied the relicensing request
in 1997 and ordered the dam removed. "With removal of the Edwards Dam,
the Kennebec River has been given a new lease on life," said Steve Brooke,
coordinator of the Kennebec Coalition, which includes American Rivers,
the Atlantic Salmon Federation, the Natural Resources Council of Maine,
and Trout Unlimited and its Kennebec Valley Chapter. The Kennebec Coalition
was formed in 1989 with the goal of removing the Edwards Dam and restoring
the Kennebec River. The Edwards Dam harmed fish by flooding critical habitat
and preventing fish that migrate from the ocean from reaching prime upstream
spawning grounds. Removal of Edwards Dam opens up 17 miles of spawning
and nursery habitat. Populations of 10 species of migratory fish are expected
to benefit including: American shad, Atlantic salmon, striped bass, Atlantic
sturgeon, short-nosed sturgeon, blueback herring, and alewives. Populations
will not rebound overnight, but are expected to gain steadily over the
next 20 years.
30.06.99: Namibia: Epupa-Dam
From the June 30 edition of SA's Mail and Guardian:
A FINAL decision on where to construct the Epupa hydropower
project is being
delayed by the ongoing war in Angola which has prevented
Luanda attending a key meeting in Windhoek. Namibia and
Angola are already
at loggerheads over which site on the Kunene river to
choose with the
Angolans favouring a smaller dam in the Baynes Mountains,
wants a dam in the area of the Epupa Falls. Mines and
Energy Minister Jesaya
Nyamu has said that Angolan government officials have
been too preoccupied
with the war against Unita to be able to attend scheduled
meetings of the
Permanent Joint Technical Commission (PJTC) on Epupa.
Namibia is adamant
that the plant should be built at Epupa Falls, arguing
that Baynes is too
small, prone to drought and too dependent on Gove. The
feasibility report on
the scheme said the Baynes site is environmentally and
acceptable, and would have less impact on the nomadic
Himba communities in
the Kunene region.
29.06.99: Sweden: DEVASTATING
HYDROPOWER PROJECT NEEDS TO BE STOPPED!
URGENT! Please distribute as widely as possible!
The power company Jaemtkraft in the province of Jaemtland
in the middle
part of Sweden wants to exploit the stream Roennoeforsen
in the Laangan
river in the north-west part of the province for hydropower.
Roennoeforsen has very high nature conservation values:
19 species of
lichens, which are on the list of redlisted in Sweden,
have been found in
the forest and on rocks in an area less than one hectare,
close to the
stream. One of the species is endangered (threat category
1) and as many
as six are vulnerable ( threat category 2), one of these
six is extremely
rare in Sweden. The cause of the exceptionally high concentration
redlisted and rare lichens around Roennoeforsen is the
presence of stream
fog generated by the stream, which creates a very moist
the area close to the stream.
If the stream is regulated this moist habitat will disappear
lichens will be threatened by desiccation. In order to
try to preserve the
moisture Jaemtkraft wants to install a device which will
Since such an experiment has never been done before and
hence little is
known about how such a device works in nature, this means
large threat to this unique lichen locality. The
advise of researchers in
ecological botany is to do this experiment somewhere
else in the stream or
in another stream in order not to jeopardise the lichens.
have been completely neglected by Jaemtkraft. Further,
nothing had been
said about how much the device is allowed to cost and
how much energy it
is allowed to consume, for how long it will work and
Unfortunately, the project is already initiated, but the
stream is still
not affected. We hope that the project still can be stopped
by boycott of
the company. Except for the nature values, the cultural
Roennoeforsen are of national interest and include an
old iron mill with
blast furnace, museum, exhibition localities, cafeteria
and bakery etc.
All this has to be closed if the stream is exploited
and people will lose
their jobs in a rural part of Sweden which already suffers
Almost all larger waterfalls and rivers in Sweden have
been exploited for
hydropower during the last 100 years. Large nature values
and now the power companies want our last free flowing
streams / rivers.
How can the Swedish government and authorities permit
this? Sweden has
signed the convention of Conservation of biological diversity
in Rio and
still permission can be given to such projects. How is
it possible? We
require that the prime minister Goeran Persson, environment
Larsson and the rest of the Swedish government take their
for the biological diversity by immediately stopping
the exploitation of
The Nature Conservation Society of Krokom
The Nature Conservation Society of Oestersund
The Nature Conservation Society of Jaemtland- Haerjedalen
For more information contact: Annchristine Holmberg
Please help us by sending letters of protest to the power
Jaemtkraft and the Swedish government! Thanks in advance.
To Henrik grill, executive director, Jaemtkraft
It has come to my attention that your company has started
exploitation of the Roennoeforsen rapid in the province
I have been informed of the extreme high nature values
of the area and
find it unacceptable that Jaemtkraft is exploiting one
of the last and
most valuable streams in your country.
I urge you to stop this project immediately!
Send letter to < firstname.lastname@example.org>
To Mr Kjell Larsson, minister of environment
And Mr Goeran Persson, prime minister
It has come to my attention that the Swedish powercompany
started the exploitation of the Roennoeforsen rapid in
the province of
Í find it unacceptable that a rich and progressive
country like Sweden
is exploiting one of its last and most valuable
I have been told that the exploitation area hosts
a unique lichen
locality with 19 redlisted species. – nature values which
likely going to be destroyed by the exploitation.
How can the Swedish government and authorities permit
this? Sweden has
signed the convention of conservation of biological diversity
in Rio and
still permission can be given to such projects. How is
it possible? We
require that the Swedish government takes their responsibility
biological diversity by immediately stopping the exploitation
Send the letter to: <email@example.com>
28.06.99 : China: Report
on Three Gorges Visite
When China's Three Gorges Dam is completed in the year
2010, it will be the
most powerful hydroelectric dam in the world. It
costs an estimated $70
billion USD. There have been ongoing concerns about
the environmental and
social costs of the project, but in recent weeks, China's
media have been unusually outspoken about whether it's
such a good idea
after all. As other infrastructure projects fail
around the country, many
now worry that the dam may not hold.
NPR's Mary Kay Magistad visited the
Three Gorges Dam site and sent this report.
SHOW: Weekend Edition, Sunday
Subject: May 30, 1999 NPR Weekend Edition
MARY KAY MAGISTAD reporting:
With three and a half years to go until the Yangtze Valley
construction on the vast Three Gorges Dam continues full
Thousands of workers are busy pouring concrete, moving
surfaces. Busloads of tourists come to watch the
spectacle, even on a gray,
rainy morning. They huddle on a lookout platform,
their umbrellas a splash of
red and yellow against a gloomy sky. The director
of the Three Gorges Dam
project, Lu Youmei, says this work may be fun to watch,
but it's far from
easy to do.
Mr. Lu Youmei: (Through Translator) For project construction,
we are going to
encounter many challenges that have not been encountered
before in the history
of human beings.
MAGISTAD: Everything about the dam is on a massive scale.
It is to create a
reservoir 400 miles long and 600 feet deep, displacing
some one and a half
million people. Lu is more concerned about the
technical issues, such as the
temporary shiplock that failed during last year's massive
floods. That stopped
traffic on the Yangtze River for more than two days.
Foreign engineers who
have visited the dam also caution that the bedrock is
weaker than originally
thought. They worry that this could lead to high
rates of seepage and a weak
foundation. There are also reports of cavities
in the dam wall. Patricia
Adams heads the Toronto-based environmental group Probe
Ms. PATRICIA ADAMS (Probe International): Large
cavities, I believe about 90
square feet, and they are large enough that they're causing
concern. I believe
that in one section of the dam, the engineers considered
blowing it up so that
they could recast it and then decided against that because
they felt that it
might destabilize the rest of the dam that's been built.
And I believe there
are other problems, all to do with casting the concrete
with the quality of the
concrete and I guess the way that it has actually formed,
that it may not be
strong enough and it is not up to standard.
MAGISTAD: China's state council actually voted against
the Three Gorges
project 10 years ago, but then, in the wake of the 1989
crackdown, the man who had called in the troops, then-Premier
pushed through the plan as a monument to Chinese pride.
and human rights activists around the world have been
lobbying ever since
to stop the project or at least scale it back.
Besides their concerns about the dam's structural integrity,
the critics are
also alarmed by the shoddy construction of many roads,
bridges and new towns
being built to replace those that will be submerged.
(Soundbite of crowd)
MAGISTAD: Fengjie is one such place, a river town with
steep slopes leading
down to its busy docks. It's to be relocated to
a site higher up a hill on the
other side of the river. Two years ago, as workers
were laying foundations
there for new buildings, there was a landslide.
Luckily, no one was hurt or
killed. Locals like 60-year-old Jao Gien Wan(ph)
are suspicious about why it
Ms. Jiao Jianwan: (Through Translator) Some people
called it a landslide,
but we don't think it was. We think it was caused
by corruption because
the local officials didn't put enough money into building
foundation to support the buildings.
MAGISTAD: All along the Yangtze, there is evidence that
a sudden surge of
money into poor counties has been too much for local
officials to resist.
New roads have broken apart, bridges have collapsed,
killing dozens. In
many cases, investigators have found that contractors
were forced to use
inferior materials because they had to pay such large
bribes to local
officials. This has made Premier Zhu Rongji furious.
He calls such
projects tofu construction because they hold up about
as well as tofu.
The implications for the Three Gorges Dam are obvious
and sobering, but project
director Lu Youmei insists that people need not worry.
Mr. Mr. Lu Youmei: (Through Translator) For those projects
quality problems, the main reason for failure is that
the construction of
those projects did not comply with normal procedures
that should be
followed. With the Three Gorges Dam, that's simply
not the case.
MAGISTAD: Premier Zhu is still worried. He has called
on the Three Gorges
Dam project to start using foreign inspectors, since
inspectors are more susceptible to being bought off.
`Make no mistake,'
Zhu has told those in charge of the dam, `the weight
of responsibility on
your shoulders is like the weight of a mountain, and
if anything goes
wrong, the cost in lives and in China's prestige will
be beyond imagination.'
-Mary Kay Magistad, NPR News, Yichang, China.
c 1999 National Public Radio ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Three Gorges Campaign
International Rivers Network
1847 Berkeley Way
Berkeley, CA 94707
Tel: 510.848.1155 ext. 317
28.06.99 : South Africa: STOP
This is the editorial comment in the latest SARA RiverNews.
(Southern Africa Rivers Association (SARA) is an association
Big dams are a feature of the South African landscape.
They have been there
since at least the decade of the First World War, built
governments to provide irrigation for farms, water and
power for factories,
and sewage for cities. Dams are so common they seem "natural".
South African, standing next to a river, will cry out
that "all this water
is running away to the sea and being wasted". The fact
that rivers have
flowed for all time, supporting the surrounding ecology,
seems to make
little difference to this mindset.
SARA has for a long time questioned the wisdom of damming
wild and free rivers in Southern Africa. New dams are
planned or mooted for
the Orange, Tugela and Bushmans, Mkomazi, Mzimvubu, Doring,
Kavango, Zambezi and other major rivers. Most of these
rivers are already
penned-in by mighty concrete walls. The new dams add
insult to injury.
But SARA faces a dilemma over its opposition to dams.
schemes like those on the Katse, which sends water north
to the Vaal, and
the Gariep, which sends water to the Great Fish River
basin, are likely to
provide a constant flow for river tour operators. Reliable
equal good business, and business is partly what SARA
is about. We
constituted ourselves as an association to improve the
competitive position of river tourism. Dams do that,
Well, yes, and no. Once dams are built, the best we can
hope for is that
their impacts will be mitigated - in other words, we
have to make the best
of a bad job. One example of this is utilising the outflow
sport and commercial operations, as is already happening
on the Great Fish
and is suggested for the Ash River outfall at Clarens.
supports any move to make use of the water transfers
in this way.
But face it, big dams do big damage to the environment
and often to the
social fabric and heritage of the areas where they are
built. The fact that
they may promote limited forms of ecotourism should not
blind us to their
serious negative impacts.
Popular governments who have the interests of the mass
of the people at
heart are constructing walls across valleys because this
is the easiest -
and the most short-sighted - way to capture water. The
Water Project (LHWP) will cost the SA taxpayer about
R10billion, and the
planned new Thukela dam system R5-R6bn more. The costs
will have to be met
by taxpayers and water users, mainly in Gauteng. Ironically,
these RDP dams
will hit the poor hardest.
Despite the costs it is claimed that dams are good for
they bring roads, irrigation schemes, industries, ecotourism,
other benefits. In the world at large experience has
proved otherwise. On
America's Colorado river ways are now being sought to
dams that were supposed to stand for all time and bring
development to the
By flooding river valleys we destroy precious riverine
forests and biotic
communities. We drive people off the land, we drown their
heritage. When riverbeds dry up due to damming, the dried-out
collapse, causing serious siltation. And there are better
ways to generate
electricity, using solar and wind power.
SARA's mission is to protect rivers, as the basis of our
help create sustainable conditions for ecotourism. Big
dams do neither.
They are literally costing us the earth and all our rivers.
groups benefit while the rest pay, and even those (like
who can make money from dam-controlled rivers are not
assured that the
resource will remain reliable, because the water might
be piped away to
South Africa needs a Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, designating
as inviolate, not to be dammed or opened to major constructions
roads and resorts. River guides and operators can promote
daily contact with corporate leaders and members of the
public and media
who go on river trips.
By investing now in research and development into low-cost,
water-purifying technologies, South Africans could lead
the way towards a
new water dispensation for the entire globe. Wars will
be avoided, rural
peoples get their land back, producers have enough water
for their needs,
and recreationists may continue to run rivers knowing
that we have saved a
precious natural heritage from destruction.
Southern Africa Rivers Association (SARA)
P.O. Box 645
Irene 0062, South Africa
Head Office: Ph/Fax: +27.12.667.1838
24.06.99 : European Meeting
of the Youth for Water July 12-18 in France
The European Meeting of the Youth for water is an interactive
and intergenerational process aiming at the recognition and valorization
of the role of the European Youth in the actions related with the environment
and water in particular. This process will develop over a twelve
month period (July 99 - June 2000) and be the statement of a devoted
Set up by the Solidarity Water Europe whose main role
is the mobilization and everyone's involvement in the collective management
of his environment, the European Meeting of the Youth for water was made
possible thanks to local, national and international partners.
From July 12 to 18, European youngsters between the age
of 11 to 15 years of age will participate in the two first steps of the
European Meeting of the Youth for water which will start up in Espalion
(Aveyron - France). This step achieved in cooperation with the H²O
French Central Massif Festival will get together about one hundred youngsters
with their teachers from around twenty European and Mediterranean countries..
These youngsters come from schools, associations and communities, and are
already involved in local actions regarding water management.
They will present their achievements and various forms
of involvement they used in their actions in the water management sector.
In Espalion, within the H²O Water Festival in French
Central Massif, they will participate in the debates leading to the preparation
of an official document, the Espalion Declaration, on one hand, and on
the other, the development of tools to sensitise the public at large
conveying a message of a European solidarity for an integrated management
of water. Furthermore, they will plan their future actions in the
same line as those already achieved.
On Saturday July 17, the Espalion Declaration will be
presented to the Water Parliament composed of these youngsters, local and
European agents. water professionals, scientific searchers and citizens.
Later on, the Espalion Declaration with its plan
of action will be issued throughout Europe with the help of the participants
in the first step of the process in Fall 1999 and Spring 2000 in the course
of public manifestations.
Finally , the Espalion Declaration and the attached documents
will be handed out to the MPs of the Environment, Territory Development
and local Authorities Commission of the Water Parliamentary Assembly of
the European Council in Strasbourg in May 2000 by a delegation of youngsters.
The "Solidarity Water Europe" network promotes local initiatives
favouring a protection of the natural ecosystems and water savings in the
Europe of the 40. This promotion is done in co-operation with the
local agents and the youngsters , and aims at sensitising the decision
makers, the teachers and the public at large in order to develop, teach,
issue and implement sound water management. To do so, the Youth is
a lobbying group not to be neglected that can influence the social, economic
and local environmental situation. Moreover, it is of prime importance
to capitalise the experiences of the Youth, which is tomorrow's society.
The "Solidarity Water Europe" network, the "Environment,
Territory Development and local Authorities Commission of the Water Parliamentary
Assembly of the European Council", GREEN, the "River College", the city
of Espalion in co-operation with other local, national and international
partners, propose an awareness and public information campaign to the local
authorities and European MPs on the role to be played by the Youth in the
water management matters throughout Europe and the Mediterranean.
The general objective of this action is to get together
the European Youth from various countries and regions within the Europe
of the 40 and the Mediterranean shore for a better mutual understanding
and for the promotion of the vision of civil and democratic Europe united
by its waters. Simultaneously, the various actions will demonstrate
the importance and the value of water for Europe.
The youngsters will discuss their experiences related
to water management in Europe. They will present their achievements
and the various forms of involvement in local actions regarding water management.
They will sensitise the European public and the local, national and international
representatives to the idea of conserving the natural resource called water
and will issue their vision as decision makers of tomorrow's Europe.
4.. Process, steps and forecasted activities
The "Solidarity Water Europe" network and its partners
will organise, through this action of a European Meeting of the Youth for
Water, a process divided into three steps.
21.06.99 : India: Narmada
Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Valley Movment) announce his own website
in english !
As you are well aware, the controversy over large dams
on the Narmada has
become one of the most important social issues in India
today. In an
effort to disseminate information and present the perspective
struggles on this issue, we have created a new site,
http://www.narmada.org. Through this site, we will endeavour
to keep you
informed of the activities in the valley, the developing
provide an informed perspective on the debate. I would
request each one of
you to take a look and to visit this site periodically.
Please do also
forward this message to your friends who would be interested
With the arrival of monsoon in India, the Andolan faces
greatest challenge till date. This monsoon as many as
families may lose their homes and lands. Satyagraha has
already begun in
the Narmada Valley and people are firmly resolved to
stay and assert their
right over their lands and their homes. At this juncture,
it is important
that we come together in solidarity with the Andolan
and help in
mobilising public opinion on this matter. If you are
interested in lending
a hand, organising an event or in visiting the valley
to express your
support, please send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) a note. In
the weeks to come,
your help will be critical.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Narmada Bachao Andolan
B-13, Shivam Flats
Ellora Park Road
Baroda, 390 007
Phone/Fax : (91) 265 382 232
Email : email@example.com