Communities in 19 states, working in partnership with non-profit organizations and state and federal agencies, removed 65 dams in 2012, American Rivers announced recently. Outdated or unsafe dams came out of rivers in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin, restoring 400 miles of streams for the benefit of fish, wildlife and people across the country.

American Rivers will add the information on these 65 dam removals to its database of nearly 1,100 dams that have been removed across the country since 1912. Most of those dams (nearly 800) were removed in the past 20 years. American Rivers is the only organization maintaining a record of dam removals in the United States 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.

“The river restoration movement in our country is stronger than ever. Communities nationwide are removing outdated dams because they recognize that a healthy, free-flowing river is a tremendous asset,” said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers.

The top three states for river restoration through dam removal in 2012 are:

1. Pennsylvania – 13 dams removed
2. Massachusetts – 9 dams removed
3. Oregon – 8 dams removed

The complete list of dam removals in 2012 is available here.

American Rivers played a role in 24 of the dam removals in 2012. This list includes all known dam removals, regardless of the level of American Rivers’ involvement.

“The projects on this list represent more than just data points. They illustrate the power of community,” said Irvin. “Behind many of these projects are stories of dam owners kept awake at night wondering if their dam will survive the next storm, or of local watershed groups struggling to find funding in this tough economy to restore their river and fisheries.”