The Damage of Dams

Written and illustrated by Dorothy Hazel, ESLLC 2018-2019

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These drawings are sketches of Glen Canyon before and after the dam was built in the Grand Canyon. While dams do provide power and water storage, they also have a huge environmental impact that often goes unnoticed. Glen Canyon dam has threatened native species and allowed for non-native species to thrive. Thus, changing the whole ecosystem of the Grand Canyon. Glen Canyon dam has also slowed the maturing rate for the river and its rapids by preventing spring floods. Without the spring floods, the Grand Canyon is in a time capsule of 1966, and all of the rapids have not changed with the exception of Crystal rapid. Crystal is the exception to the time capsule because it was formed after the dam was built when Crystal Creek blow out. But because the dam upstream was preventing floods, Crystal never got to mature and is now arguable the most technical rapid.

However much damage a dam does to a river, by removing it the river is able to rebuild itself and be back to being close to its original self in just over a year. I not saying that we need to go out and take down all dams, but we do need to reevaluate them and weigh the pros and cons. We need to determine if the profits succeed the damages done and get rid of all the dams that don’t pass the test.

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