The Impact of Hydropower Dams on California's Populations of Anadromous Fish: What Can Be Done to Mitigate the Dams Effects and Restore California's Watersheds.
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Running head: IMPACT OF DAMS ON ANADROMOUS FISH
The Impact of Hydropower Dams on California's Populations of Anadromous Fish: What Can be done to mitigate the Dams Effects and Restore California's Watersheds.
Western Governors University The Impact of Hydropower Dams on California's Populations of Anadromous Fish: What can be done to mitigate the Dams Effects and Restore California's Watersheds.
The indigenous people of California were completely dependent on the seemingly infinite quantities of salmon and steelhead that annually returned to their coastal rivers. Upon their arrival, European settlers soon developed a commercial fishing industry, which supported them very well. Today, however, that never-ending…show more content… Importantly, let's not overlook the effects of salmon population declines on the indigenous peoples of California. Tribes such as the Karuk, Yurok, Wiyot and the Hoopa, to name just a few, have depended on salmon as their main food source for centuries. Salmon was not just food, but central to their religion, their diet, and their overall way of life. Salmon are the cornerstone of their culture (Harling, 2006). The loss of this abundant natural resource must be seen not only as degrading the health of the river ecosystem, but also as severely impacting the health of the tribes.
Until the early 1850's California's rivers flowed freely to the Pacific Ocean. The emergence of dams started with small earthen dams used to divert water for mining and irrigation purposes. The diverted water used for hydraulic mining would prove to be the beginning of a long era of environmental degradation of California's river ecosystems. With the turn of the century came a population boom and the rapid development of urban centers and an increased demand for water. With the end of the gold rush, agriculture quickly became the main player in California's economy. This too, raised the demand for water and dams were being built at a staggering pace. The introduction of huge hydropower dams proved to be the "nail in the coffin" for anadromous fish because little or no heed was paid to the impact of dams on the state's watersheds. Today California has over fourteen hundred dams responsible for