In the Pacific Northwest, the well-being of 400,000 salmon that make their habitat around the Glines Canyon Dam are creating job opportunities for those in the environmental field. It’s hard to imagine salmon creating jobs for the unemployed, but it’s certainly true. In Olympic National Park, two dams are being taken down and destroyed so as to bring back one of the world’s largest and most productive salmon runs. In the process, jobs are being filled and many that are unemployed can return to work.
Back in 1992, President Bush signed the dam removal law in order to restore the habitat of 400,000 salmon in the Pacific Northwest. It’s now 2012 and the first dam, Elwha Dam, has been brought down. If you’re like me, you’re wondering what took them so long to finally take the dam down? According to Sustainable Business, the project was held up this long so that experts could analyze the benefits of taking down the power plant versus restoring the environment in the area. It seems as though the environment won. The Elwha Dam was a 108-foot tall that was build in 1918 and was the first of the two to be demolished. The river it sat on is flowing freely for the first time in nearly a century and the salmon can swim free.
The next dam on the list is almost twice as tall and is one of the largest dam-removal projects in U.S. history. The Glines Canyon Dam is a 210-foot tall dam that was built in 1927 and will be completely gone in about a year. This restoration project is supposedly worth $325 million dollars and has the main goal of bringing back the huge population of salmon that once teemed in the waters. Though the main goal of the project is beneficial to the wildlife of the area, Sustainable Business states that there are roughly 30 jobs created for every $1 million that is spent. For a $325 million project, that is a lot of jobs.
So, not only will this environmental restoration project benefit the environment, it will also benefit the job market and economy. This is great to see, since a lot of governmental projects that are aimed at creating jobs usually do not benefit the environment at all. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. With the Glines Canyon Dam set to come down in a year, the job market in the Pacific Northwest is faring much better for those working in environmental sciences.
Do you think the government should implement more projects like this that benefit the environment while also benefiting the job market?