English-Final Research Paper

English-Final Research Paper - "Dam Politics" Dams across...

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“Dam Politics” Dams across America are aging and dam removal is a hotly debated topic, leading to research and data on varying issues such as the ecological impacts of dams (and their potential removal). There are over 75,000 dams (varying in size) in the United States and there are many small dams that are unable to perform their original function. Many small dams were originally constructed for water diversion, irrigation purposes, local hydroelectric power generation, or to power machinery directly. However, since these run-of the river dams no longer function, many small dams have become abandoned or targeted for removal. This topic is worthy of investigation because it addresses yet another environmental topic that has only begun to arise in politics. By studying these subject areas in a liberal arts education, students become more aware of what is happening around them environmentally and how humans impact and tend to damage their surroundings. Providing eco-awareness, if you will, to those in the higher education system may be one of the only ways to save our challenged ecosystems. Change begins with small steps and dam politics is an interesting area of study, which can be addressed at a local level. Because of the wide array of size variation existing in dams across the United States, my studies have been narrowed down to the dams in the northeastern geographic portion of the United States. The impacts of a small impoundment differ greatly from the large dams in the west, therefore it is important to decipher the results of dam removal as size fluctuates. Minimal information exists for these run-of-the-river dams, which is why it is an imperative area of research. When addressing the conditions of a particular
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impoundment, a rough framework may be applied to the assessment. Some of the foremost issues to be considered include the study of sediment and geomorphology . Sedimentation encompasses the study of the combined processes of soil erosion, transport, deposition, and consolidation. The stream channel is the bed where a natural stream of water runs or may run and geomorphology is the study of the processes that can change and alter the evolution of landforms. Many small run-of-the –river dams are located within the headwaters or in close proximity to them. This is important because a dam impedes the natural sediment functions within the river by trapping the sediment. The sediment is trapped because morphology of a river upstream of a dam resembles the presence of an impoundment. Dam removal restores natural flow regimes and therefore the ability of the river to control its shape or form. The next selection for framework criterion is the consideration of fish and wildlife habitats . The presence of a dam is extremely detrimental to the functional aspects of a river or stream. The natural system is being disrupted and with the presence of an unnecessary dam it will continue to deteriorate and cause problems for the entire ecosystem. Specifically, the life cycles of fish and other inhabitants of the land that drains
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2008 for the course ENGL 202B taught by Professor Wrightelizabeth during the Fall '08 term at Penn State.

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English-Final Research Paper - "Dam Politics" Dams across...

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