Dam Removal

Source: Brian Cluer

As our nation’s infrastructure ages and fisheries have declined, dam removal is increasingly being implemented to address liability and restoration objectives. Decommissioning and removing dams comes with a host of engineering- and ecologically-related challenges. Through the generous funding and support of multiple project partners (see icons below), the Rivers Lab has examined a number of the challenges of dam removal, focusing primarily around:

Current projects

Prior work

  • Field experiments on sediment transport
    • Habitat response (Zunka et al. 2015)
    • Transport phenomena of reservoir erosion (Tullos and Wang 2013)
    • Timeframes and synchrony of recovery (Tullos et al. 2015)
    • Sediment pulse behavior (Pace et al. 2017)
  • Synthesis
    • Factors driving geomorphic responses (Major et al. 2017)
    • Common management concerns (Tullos et al. 2016)
    • Synthesis and research needs (Foley et al. 2017)
  • Governance (Fostvedt et al. 2020)

Some of this work has resulted from collaboration with the great folks from the USGS Powell Center Working Group on Dam removal, who produced this impressive database and a bunch of papers on the subject of dam removal.

Case studies and data

Brownsville Dam Removal

Chiloquin Dam Removal

Savage Rapids Dam Removal

Gold Ray Dam Removal

Oak Creek Barrier Removal

Sodom and Shearer Dam Removals

Dam removal database for OR, WA, CA, ID, MT: ArcGIS shapefile, Excel spreadsheet

Our Research Partners