Their Ideas Used To Be Called 'Crazy Talk,' But Things Are Different Now

Has the end of their time finally come?

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Dam it!

For hundreds of years, the U.S. was dam crazy. In the U.S., there are about 75,000 major dams (and tens of thousands of smaller dams). That's the equivalent of one built every day since Thomas Jefferson was president. Whoa! Many days. Many dams.


Some of them, like Hoover Dam in Arizona and Nevada, are really, really big.

We liked dams because, well, flood control, hydropower, irrigation, and water storage.

But dams choke the life out of rivers, messing up local ways of life and harming wildlife. They are really tough for fish like salmon that migrate up rivers.

Many Native people share stories about how things were before dams. People whose lives depend on healthy fisheries have advocated for years to remove dams they say do more harm than good.

Edward Abbey and a lot of other people who care about rivers have felt pretty passionate that we needed to stop being so dam crazy.

(OK. He followed that up with "as a last resort.")

After many years of debate, a lot of these dams, many small and even a few big ones, are coming down.

This is how many have come down since 1936!

Learn more about un-dammed rivers coming back to life at American Rivers.

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