Check out this film on dams and their effects on fish and humans.
DamNation, a film produced and directed by Matt Stoecker, Travis Rummel, Ben Knight and Beda Calhoun, discusses the impact of dams on fish and human culture of the dozens of rivers across the United States.
Dams are sometimes difficult to understand. Here is how a dam works, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), speaking towards Mansfield Dam in Austin, Texas: “The lake can store as much as 256 billion gallons of floodwaters, helping to prevent destruction downstream.”
When the lake elevation increases to a point above 681 feet, the LCRA, with the permission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, releases the floodgate to the water below the dam.
So, if you are standing in Lake Travis and suddenly the water is rising, you are not going crazy. But you should probably make your way to the shore.
The film paints a grim picture of the impacts of dams on fish such as steelhead and salmon, but what about here in Texas?
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD), Texas rivers boast an abundance of catfish, bass and gar; how do the dams affect these native species?
Because dams change migration patterns, the state stocks “approximately 40 million fish in public lakes, ponds, and saltwater bays,” according to TPWD.
The TPWD website says that by stocking bodies of water, the diversity of fish will increase along with the enhancement of the genetic makeup of species. This in turn increases the amount of fish in the water, which is good for anglers.
The Damnation film argues it only wipes out native species by mixing their genetics with hatchery fish. The film also expresses the changes in human culture, including certain tribes of Native Americans with the change in amounts and species of fish in dammed rivers.
What do you think about the concept of dams and hatcheries? How have dams impacted your fishing experience in Texas?