See this as opposed to: What happens when a dam is built?

Dams have been constructed in order to retain water for a very long time. Dams can be used to store, re-route water, prevent floods and to create and alternative source of renewable energy. The US went through a period where many were constructed. However The era of dam building is nearing an end, and many of them are being destroyed. This decision of dam removal has large array of opportunity costs.
Often people wonder what will be the impact of this event on their community, local businesses, and their environment should the river continue to flow.

One thing that needs to be considered in order to understand the impact of a dam removal is the size of the dam. Dams are often seen as a necessary tool in order to control water irrigation or to prevent flooding. Large dams are often very expense to keep well maintained, and have larger environmental and economical impacts. Small dams however tend to not have a very large impact, and it's creation is seen often as the most efficient dam as it is cheaper to build, maintain while giving the benefits of water irrigation and flood control.


The green movement has embraced the hydroelectric dams due to the fact that it is a natural source of renewable energy. Hydroelectric dams have been a large political aspect for many years now. The World Bank has pushed the use of hydroelectric dams on developing nations in order to improve irrigation, control floods, and produce electricity for export. Indeed the political world of dam building has gotten international attention. Due to the fact that most of these developing countries chose to export their electricity this creates a real opportunity cost over it's other functions such as flood control. Should a flood occur the dam must be opened to allow the flooded river to flow. This forgoes the water from running through the dam creating electricity. Every time the dam is opened potential money is lost. This has given governments the incentive to not release the river, at the expense of severe flooding and the rotting of agriculture and forestry. This issue has been the focus around the international issues surrounding dams.

Ashland has so many streams for you to go off and find

What will happen to my community?

In places where dams have been removed, the water has continued to flow creating a river in the area. Rivers are considered a valuable amenity towards a real estate. Theoretically this creates river-side properties which will raise in value. However we mostly see that residential land value is only significantly affected if the river returned to to a very large and stable river. For a small stream however, only immanent houses to the stream would be effected in value. This stream is a more direct amenity to the home owners and are not so much a glowing prospect for the community.

In cases of a huge river being created by dam removal actually harms near-by property values in communities that affiliate nicer neighborhoods to being further away from a river. In addition when the river is first allowed to flow property values may initially go down as the newly re flowing river is often volatile with varying water levels. However overall there is an increase in property values as the river is allowed to flow.

This change in real estate can cause a gradual trickle down effect towards raising the overall wealth in your given community. The addition of a river can add a lot of recreational value towards a community giving a place for the community to meet up and cool off.

Often in communities that experience the removal of a dam may see a decrease in seasonal flooding. This will lessen the amount of preventative care needed to aid floods, and saving a large sum of money.

One of the concerns to removing a dam is a loss of recreational activities that are affiliated or take place due to the placement of the dam. This loss of recreational space may have serious weight and impact towards understanding the net impact of dam removal. Another concern is that spawns from removing a dam are people worried that their water-front property will decrease in value once the dam is destroyed and the water is allowed to flow. This worry is mostly unfounded, as most river-side properties gain in value to be as much as water-front properties, but there is no decline in property value for those on the water front. An exception to this worry however comes from an example over households along Tolo Slough near the dam site. Once the dam was remove, the slough began to disappear and the shoreline began to recede. This drop in ground level have serious impact towards the productivity of wells. These crucial factors do not have to effect property values however should an alternative to the wells were established.

Very large dams can be very beautiful, which attracts tourists. Should a dam be a large pull for tourists in the town then it's removal may have catastrophic consequences on the community. Tourists often indulge in a community's lodging, dining, and other services generate wealth and income in a community. Should this site be taken down it may come at a very intense loss for the community.

What will happen to local business?

With the increase in property values, businesses may be able to expect a gradual increase in wealth in
Ashland is wonderful

the community. Depending on the size of this increase this may increase the overall business outlook in the area, which may also attract business at the same time. Beyond this increase in wealth a recreational activity has been encouraged to the town. Fisheries often see the a large positive impact due to a removal of a dam. This has huge impacts over your local fish market, as more anglers are encouraged to fish, and fish are closer, therefore skipping out on the stated travel costs.

Should the dam be the town's main pull as a tourist attraction then business may suffer greatly at the removal of a dam. As the tourists who come here and spend money in the town, this money goes to profit the business. Should the dam be a popular site to visit then business may lose a huge portion of their costumers and profits.


Farmland and agriculture are very dependent upon near-by water sources. Should a dam be removed however we find that this plays out to have a impact on agriculture. Should agriculture above the dam area have a lowered slough due to the removal of the dam, this could have serious impact on the water availability and wells on nearby agriculture.

Some farmlands that are very scenic or have rich opportunities to fish and hunt. The farmer may chose to allow the public to use her land for recreational purposes in exchange for generating additional income. Should a dam be removed farm land not far from the river may look increasingly attractive as a site of recreation. This could lead to changes in land use and possibly could lead to re-zoning projects in the community.

How will this effect the environment?

The removal of a dam has significant impact on the environment. As water is allowed to flow we see a long-term improvement of water quality. This increased quality of the water is good for the fish and other plants and animals that rely on the water. In places with poor water quality surrounding a dam it may be beneficial to consider removing the dam not only for it's benefits toward local business and communities but also the environmental impact.
Beautiful public farmland not far from family housing

As water quality improves, so does the environment. As counts of fecal coli lessened along Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, the value of real estate on near-by properties improved. It was found that the value of the near-by real estate actually increased by 2% as the water quality improved. Indeed water improvement has real weight for the community and its environment.

The improvement of the quality of water also brings in more fish. This creates a whole new atmosphere for the fisheries. As water quality improves, more fish swim through the river it is found that so does the value of fisheries to the community. Fish restoration is often projected to the community as a way
to receive higher fish counts and often comes with an increased willingness to pay for the fish restoration. For example in Elwha River in Washington surveys responded that on average people were willing to pay $72 per year for fish restoration. The total benefit of the restored fish totals to be $94 million benefit to the residents of Washington.

If the site at which the dam was removed had been suffering issues in flooding, then they may see a lessening in flooding. However the removal of a dam does not always end issues of flooding and the issues faced by degrading rain forests. Smaller dam structures may further need to be developed in order to accomplish this.

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