Hoover Dam: Impacts On The Environment

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The Hoover Dam: Impacts on the Environment and Ecology For more than 70 years the Hoover Dam has brought water and hydroelectric power to much of the Southeast and virtually all of Nevada, but at a cost. Each year, the dam is responsible for environmental and ecological impacts that harm wildlife and negatively impact the natural beauty of the Colorado River Basin. Built from 1931 to 1936, the 700 foot Hoover dam was constructed for a few reasons. First, seasonal flooding was responsible for wiping out farmland throughout the areas surrounding the Colorado River. The dam was built as a way to control the flow of the river and provide water for irrigation purposes. Engineers also realized the hydroelectric potential that such a massive structure would create. Lastly, the dam would provide millions of people with drinking water in an otherwise arid region. Although these things were very beneficial to the people that take advantage of the dam, they are not without environmental and ecological impacts. The dam was constructed in order to limit flooding and sediment transport in the lower Colorado River Basin. Sediment is a vital piece of the puzzle when looking at the health of a river, and taking it away has negative impacts. Downstream ecology has also suffered since the creation of the Hoover Dam. Species of fish are …show more content…
The lower Colorado River Basin and river delta feature 65% of the total species that call the western United States home (3) This is particularly astounding when the basin and delta only make up for 5% of the total land area. Because the river largely runs through arid regions, plant and animal life is densely populated in the land immediately adjacent to the river itself. These species have adapted to living in the riparian zone running along the river and are very sensitive to environmental changes that may