River Restoration Through Dam Removal

Session Date & Time: 
May 6, 2012 - 8:30am
Session Length: 
90 minutes
Skill Level: 
Intermediate/Advanced
Presenter(s): 

Thomas O'Keefe, American Whitewater

Gordon Grant, Pacific Northwest Research Station; Bob Hunter, WaterWatch of Oregon;

Clayton Hawkes, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service

This workshop is intended for those who are interested in learning more about successful dam removal efforts in the Pacific Northwest and how science, policy, and public education and outreach all come together for a successful project. Highlighted projects will include dam removals on the Elwha, White Salmon, and Rogue as well as others in the region. We will present lessons learned in a format that provides insight and inspiration for those interested in learning more about how to develop a successful plan for dam removal. While our primary examples are regionally-focused to the Pacific Northwest, this session is intended for participants from across the country who are interested in implementing techniques and approaches we have developed in the region that have broad application. Specifically we will explore topics that include the science of dam removal and the important question of how to manage the sediment, how to work with stakeholders who do not initially see the value of dam removal, partnering with agencies that have important regulatory authority, and strategies for effectively engaging the public to apply strategic pressure and build support for dam removal. Following the workshop we will tour the Condit Dam removal project on the White Salmon River, one of the largest dam removal efforts in the nation currently underway. We will then spend the afternoon whitewater rafting on the White Salmon River.

Presenter Bio(s): 

Gordon Grant
Gordon is a Research Hydrologist with the U.S. Forest Service at the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis, Oregon, and also Professor (Courtesy) in the Departments of Geosciences and Forest Engineering at Oregon State University. Following a decade-long career as a whitewater river guide, he received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1986. His research has focused on the geomorphic response of rivers to changes in stream flow and sediment transport due to land use, dams and dam removal, volcanic eruptions, and climatic variation. This work has included extended collaborations with research groups in Japan, China, and Italy. He is a former Deputy Editor and current Associate Editor for the journal Water Resources Research, and serves on the national steering committee for the NSF-sponsored Critical Zone Observatory network.

Clayton Hawkes
Clayton received his MS from the University of Alaska. His graduate school work focused on parasites of Alaska king crab. After several years of field work in Alaska he was hired by the National Marine Fisheries Service-Northwest Region to work on Clean Water Act reviews and Federal Power Act relicensing, including Condit Dam, Leaburg-Walterville, and the North Umpqua hydroelectric projects. He was wrote NMFS's §18 prescription for adult and juvenile fish passage at Condit dam, which ultimately led to an EIS examining dam removal as a viable means to achieve fish passage and negotiations with PacifiCorp about dam removal. Later at the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority, he continued to organize meetings with river advocates to coordinate and plan strategy. In 1996, he returned to Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to work on FERC licensing until 2003. Since 2003 he has worked on community fisheries in Cambodia as a VSO volunteer and with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (2004-2006), as a Federal Aid Coordinator with ADF&G (2007-2009), and on endangered Atlantic salmon/transportation issues in Maine with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (2009-2011). Recently he moved back to NMFS-Portland to work on listed salmon in Oregon.

Bob Hunter
In addition to a career in private practice, Bob has been with WaterWatch as a Staff Attorney, Board Member or Board President for over twenty-five years. Bob's vision and commitment to rivers can be seen in the results of his work. Bob drafted Oregon's Instream Water Rights Act, the visionary law that provides legal protection for water instream. Bob also played a key role in starting the water trust movement now found across the West. Bob led WaterWatch's Free the Rogue Campaign, the most successful river restoration campaign in the nation and was the primary force behind the removal of Savage Rapids Dam from the Rogue River. This Campaign removed four major dams from the Rogue Basin and completed the largest instream conversion of water rights in Oregon's history at Savage Rapids Dam. Bob graduated from both the University of Michigan (B.S. in Zoology) and University of Michigan Law School (J.D.).