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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
A majority of America's dams require billions of dollars in upgrades for them to handle heavier precipitation. skibreck / Getty Images

By Jeff Masters

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave America's infrastructure a C- grade in its quadrennial assessment issued March 3. ASCE gave the nation's flood control infrastructure – dams and levees – a D grade. This is a highly concerning assessment, given that climate change is increasingly stressing dams and levees as increased evaporation from the oceans drives heavier precipitation events.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Matthew Micah Wright / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Deborah Moore, Michael Simon and Darryl Knudsen

There's some good news amidst the grim global pandemic: At long last, the world's largest dam removal is finally happening.

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Xsandra / Getty Images

Looking for ways to cut down on single-use plastic while grocery shopping? You may already have eco-friendly shopping bags, but bringing your own reusable produce bags is another easy swap.

According to the UN Environment Program, up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used globally each year, and because of the material they're made from, most municipal recycling centers don't accept them (more on this below).

The most sustainable option is to skip the bag altogether. You can also make your own reusable produce bags out of old T-shirts. But if you'd rather purchase them new, here are our recommendations for the best reusable produce bags on the market today.

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The numbers of migratory freshwater fish such as salmon have declined 76 percent since 1970. Mike Bons / 500px / Getty Images

The latest warning of the Earth's mounting extinction crisis is coming from its lakes and rivers.

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State Disaster Response Fund personnel prepare for deployment in Uttarakhand state on February 7, 2021 after a glacier broke off in the Himalayas, causing flash floods along the Dhauli Ganga river. -/ AFP / Getty Images

A piece of Himalayan glacier in the Indian state of Uttarakhand broke off and fell into a river Sunday, triggering an avalanche and floods that have killed at least 20 people so far, while nearly 200 remain missing.

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There are more than 90,000 dams in the United States, most of which were built more than 50 years ago. AlbertPego / Getty Images

There are more than 90,000 dams in the United States. Many of those dams are at risk of failure.

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The John C. Boyle Dam is one of four dams on the Klamath River to be removed. Bobjgalindo / CC BY-SA 3.0

In a historic move to resurrect the largest dam removal project in the U.S., Oregon, California, the Yurok Tribe and the Karuk Tribe signed an agreement on Tuesday to push forward on dam removal.

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Construction on the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric station in 2015. Government of Newfoundland and Labrador / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Tara Lohan

In 1999 a cheering crowd watched as a backhoe breached a hydroelectric dam on Maine's Kennebec River. The effort to help restore native fish populations and the river's health was hailed as a success and ignited a nationwide movement that spurred 1,200 dam removals in two decades.

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Indonesia's dam project might devastate the most critical areas of the Batang Toru ecosystem and drive the Tapanuli orangutan to extinction. Tim Laman / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 4.0

By Hans Nicholas Jong

Construction of a hydropower plant in the only known habitat of a critically endangered orangutan species on the Indonesian island of Sumatra might be delayed for up to three years due to COVID-19 and funding issues.

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Over the next couple of weeks, crews will fully remove the 125-foot-wide, 25-foot-tall dam, allowing the Middle Fork Nooksack to run free for the first time in 60 years. Ctyonahl / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Tara Lohan

The conclusion to decades of work to remove a dam on the Middle Fork Nooksack River east of Bellingham, Washington began with a bang yesterday as crews breached the dam with a carefully planned detonation. This explosive denouement is also a beginning.

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The Blue Nile river passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia on December 26, 2019. EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP / Getty Images

By Sonya Angelica Diehn

Dams are often touted as environmentally friendly. Although they do represent a renewable source of energy, a closer look reveals that they are far from green. DW lays out the biggest environmental problems of mega-dams.

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Floodwaters flowing from the Tittabawassee River into the lower part of downtown Midland on May 20, 2020 in Midland, Michigan. Thousands of residents have been ordered to evacuate after two dams in Sanford and Edenville collapsed. Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

Around 10,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes in central Michigan after heavy rain prompted what the National Weather Service called "catastrophic failures" at two dams.

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Spider excavators remove on dam on San Juan Creek in California's Cleveland National Forest. Julie Donnell / USFS

Removing one gigantic dam can have a massive effect on restoring a river ecosystem.

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