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View Diary: The Willamette Falls Locks closed for good after 138 years (120 comments)

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  •  When was the last time you travelled (5+ / 0-)

    along the Columbia River Gorge?  It's absolutely loaded with windmills.  
    Remove the dams and allow the salmon to return.  There are alternative sources of energy.  Alternative sources of species, not so much.

    "On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps...of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again."

    by middleagedhousewife on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 08:36:13 AM PST

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    •  Just ask the birds killed by those windmills how (0+ / 0-)

      much they like the dams instead. We consume a lot of energy as a species, we're really the only one that does, so our footprint is enormous. We need to find ways to lessen that impact, agreed, but there is no perfect solution. And before you argue how few birds are killed remember we produce a considerable amount of power in WA from hydro and next to nothing from wind. Reverse those and figure out the impact on animals, it's not pretty.

      Compassionate Conservatism is letting all the bridges collapse so you won't have to live under one after losing your home when they cut off your unemployment insurance.

      by ontheleftcoast on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 08:53:48 AM PST

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      •  it is still not comparable (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        middleagedhousewife, esquimaux

        the complete wipeout of breeding habitat is a much greater impact, particularly when it affects key species in the ecosystem.  Wind turbine impacts can be sustantially reduced.

        Intelligent, passionate, perceptive people will always disagree, but we should not let that disagreement, however heartfelt, lead us to become deaf to those better angels of our nature.

        by Mindful Nature on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 10:03:07 AM PST

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        •  And dams don't completely wipe out salmon (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Desolations Angel

          either. If they did we'd long ago have lost all the salmon. Yes, dams have an impact, but that impact can be lessened as well.

          Compassionate Conservatism is letting all the bridges collapse so you won't have to live under one after losing your home when they cut off your unemployment insurance.

          by ontheleftcoast on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 10:07:18 AM PST

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          •  they wipe out *breeding habitat* (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            middleagedhousewife, Fantastic

            no, they don't completely wipe out salmon, though between that and the impacts on flow regimes and temperature down stream, they're doing a pretty good job.  It is true, that the impacts can be lessened if there's a will to do so, with some substantial modification.  There's some suggestion that's happening too, which is fantastic.

            Of course the reality of climate change is such that the real answer here is that we desperately need both sources and can't afford to hold back on either, since the real alternative isn't wind v. water, it's renewable v coal.

            Intelligent, passionate, perceptive people will always disagree, but we should not let that disagreement, however heartfelt, lead us to become deaf to those better angels of our nature.

            by Mindful Nature on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 10:20:36 AM PST

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          •  They do effect salmon. (5+ / 0-)

            Yes, modern dams have fish ladders that allow passage of adults upstream.  The major problem is when the juvenile smolt attempt to migrate back to the ocean.  The pools behind dams create slack water that force the fish to swim more which causes stress.  Furthermore, invasive species such as bass introduced for sport fishing feed heavily on the smolts.  The dam itself tends futher kill fish when they get sucked through the turbines.  All sorts of schemes, including trucking of smolts downstream are only marginally effective.  

            Also, there needs to be an acknowledgement that all dams are not created equal.  Bonneville or Grand Coulee, say, aren't going anywhere, nor should they as they generate massive amounts of electricity.  Aging dams and run of the river dams (like the ones on the lower Snake) generate much smaller amounts of electricity.   Dams whose damage outweigh their benefits need to go.  

            I tend to vote for Democrats because they're not Republicans. I tend to hate Democrats when all they offer me is not being Republicans.

            by Fantastic on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 10:52:10 AM PST

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          •  The large newer dams in the Columbia system (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cartoon Peril

            have mandated fish ladders, so called "passages". The older smaller tributary dams, the ones across breeding streams/rivers, often do not.

            Condit Dam on the White Salmon and the Hood River power dams were removed when the operator (power company) was told for license renewal they would have to put in Salmon passage systems. They made the calculation that it would be cheaper to remove the dams.

            These are small facilities and so many of us are installing residential solar, insulating our homes and other conservation and local generation, that these will not be much missed.

            One caveat, is the coal fired plant up Columbia way east of Portland may be taking up the slack for lost power generation.

            Energy efficiency and local energy production subsidies and tax breaks would go a long way to allowing us to mitigate, and enhance fish habitat by removing small dams.

            Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

            by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 04:24:13 PM PST

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