Dam Removal in 2013 Restores Nation's Rivers

U.S. communities remove 51 dams to restore more than 500 miles of streams 

American Rivers Dam Removal 51 Pennsylvania Oregon New Jersey

Communities in 18 states, working in partnership with non-profit organizations and state and federal agencies, removed 51 dams in 2013, American Rivers announced today. Outdated or unsafe dams came out of rivers in Alabama, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, restoring more than 500 miles of streams for the benefit of fish, wildlife and people.

Pennsylvania topped the list for the eleventh year in a row. The top three states for river restoration through dam removal in 2013 are:

  • Pennsylvania—12 dams removed
  • Oregon—8 dams removed
  • New Jersey—4 dams removed

Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Vermont all had three dam removals in 2013.

American Rivers will add the information on these 51 dam removals to its database of nearly 1,150 dams that have been removed across the country since 1912. Most of those dams (nearly 850) were removed in the past 20 years. American Rivers is the only organization maintaining a record of dam removals in the U.S. and uses the information to communicate the benefits of dam removal, which include restoring river health and clean water, revitalizing fish and wildlife, improving public safety and recreation, and enhancing local economies.

American Rivers played a role in 25 of the dam removals in 2013. This list includes all known dam removals, regardless of the level of American Rivers’ involvement.

To accompany the 2013 list, American Rivers launched an interactive map that includes all known dam removals in the U.S. as far back as 1936. The map features the name of the dam and river, location, year the dam was removed and a description. 

American Rivers

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