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Introduction How Rivers Run Stories Value Of A River What We Can Do
Stream of Life

For as long as humans have walked the planet we have put demands on our rivers and streams. We have fished their rapids and diverted their water for drinking and irrigation. But in the last two centuries, we have used our streams especially hard, blocking their flow with dams, separating channels from floodplains with dikes and levees, straightening their channels to speed the flow of water, and flushing them with pesticides, sediment, and human and industrial waste.

These changes were made to produce singular benefits: production of power, greater efficiency in transportation, cheap removal of industrial wastes or municipal sewage. Unfortunately, the costs of these actions only became apparent later: streams have become less beautiful, less productive of fish and wildlife, more prone to sedimentation, and in some cases more likely to flood. In many ways, these water resources are less able to serve our needs. Often, the costs have far outweighed the benefits.


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Stream of Life
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