Video: Year of the River

VideoReminding us of the necessity, and resilience, of our planet’s rivers.

Rivers are an integral part of ecosystems and cultures around the world. Unfortunately, many of them are blocked from flowing freely, subject to the demands of power companies. Despite the challenges, there are successes.

Last fall I sat and watched the Condit Dam on the White Salmon river come down, albeit via live streaming. For years people have talked about this dam coming out, and friends and colleagues have been seeped in the process that it took to make that dream become a reality. Out of town on dam explosion day, I kept a window open on my computer screen and watched as an iconic dam was blown to pieces.

The White Salmon wasn’t the only dam to come down in the Pacific Northwest last year. A month earlier, the largest river restoration in history began on the Elwha River on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington.

American Rivers, a national organization that works to protect and restore rivers across the United States called 2011 the “Year of the River,” marking these two historic events and the removal of 1,000 dams across the country. American Rivers, American Whitewater and the Hydropower Reform Coalition released a short film today that illustrates the remarkable dam removals on the Elwha and White Salmon rivers. The seven-minute film premiered at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in January and is the final installment in the “Year of the River” series by filmmaker Andy Maser.

This film is a good reminder of the power and resilience of nature, and how we all have a connection to the very rivers that run through our backyards.

Year of the River from Andy Maser on Vimeo.

American Rivers and Patagonia are prompting people to help to restore more of America’s rivers by removing 100 dams in 2012. You can take action here.

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.