Reconciling Dams and Salmon
There is a highly polarized environment in which decisions balancing protection of fish populations and energy generation are made. Hydroelectric power accounts for 12% of U.S. electric supply and virtually all the nation's renewable enrage capacity. Yet, hydro is under increasing attack on environmental grounds, mostly for inputs on fish populations. The 1992 listing of sockeye salmon as endangered has intensified a long-running battle over restoring fish runs and sent mitigation costs skyrocketing. Further complicating the regulatory picture, a Supreme Court decision this spring appears to allow states to set minimum flows at hydroelectric facilities under the authority of the Clean Water Act. The real challenge for applied ecologists will continue to be: how best to put the right information on the table, in the right form, and at the right time to best incorporate ecological consequences in the decision making process.
American Rivers produced abstract