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        3-5, 13+

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        Oregon | Activity 7.4: Restoring Rivers

        Students watch a video about restoring the habitat for salmon spawning. They learn there are good things about building dams on waterways, but that there are also negative effects. Students then create a list of reasons river restoration is beneficial.

        Lesson Summary

        Students watch a video about restoring the habitat for salmon spawning. They learn there are good things about building dams on waterways, but that there are also negative effects. Students then create a list of reasons river restoration is beneficial.

        This lesson is part of "Oregon | Unit 7: Oregon’s Natural Resources and Economy." In this unit, students will examine Oregon’s natural resources and their significance to the state.

        Time Allotment

        30 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards: 

        4.11: Identify conflicts involving use of land, natural resources, economy, and competition for scarce resources, different political views, boundary disputes, and cultural differences within Oregon and between different geographical areas.

        4.13: Describe how technological developments, societal decisions, and personal practices influence Oregon’s sustainability (dams, wind turbines, etc.).

        4.12: Explain how people in Oregon have modified their environment and how the environment has influenced people’s lives.

        4.18 Identify key industries of Oregon.

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Explain to students that dams were built along rivers to create water reservoirs and generate electricity. Briefly explain that if you build a wall along a river, the water will pile up, effectively creating a manmade pond or reservoir. That water can then be filtered and pumped into towns and farms, or it can be controlled and used to generate electricity. This happens when the stocked-up water is released through machinery and, as it flows, it spins turbines, generating electricity for local populations. The water then flows down the river, out of the dam, and back on its course.

        1. Salmon populations decreased significantly with the rise of dams. Salmon are born in rivers and lakes, and then swim to the ocean. They return, sometimes years later, to the same river to spawn. If the river is no longer accessible because of a dam, the salmon can’t reproduce. In this video, students will learn the efforts made to restore streams so that salmon can thrive.

        1. Play the video, Nature | Salmon: Running the Gauntlet – Restoring Streams. [6:54]

        1. Ask students: what benefits do dams provide? [Increase water supply for communities and irrigation, supply electricity.] Ask students: “What are adverse effects of dams, and what benefits are there to river restoration (the removal of dams)?” Write their answers on the board.

        Answer Key:

        • Cons of dams/pros of restoring streams:

          • Negatively affects salmon population

          • Removing dams help salmon returning to spawn

          • Restores ecosystem to a natural state

          • Increases salmon for people to eat and sell

          • Recreational use (fishing, canoeing, kayaking)

          • Dams are expensive to maintain

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