Watch This Dam Come Down

This week's investigative reporting, analysis and environmental news.
The Revelator
Middle Fork Dam

No. 141, July 16, 2020

Hello Revelator readers,

This week's detonation of the Middle Fork Nooksack Dam in Washington state was the start of something big. We've got the explosive video, the story behind the decades-long effort to remove the dam, and the details on how this could help tribes, cities, salmon and even killer whales.

In 2015 a still-unidentified virus killed 90% of the world's Bellinger River snapping turtles — in just two months. How did it happen, and why? We've got the story behind the horrifying mystery — and the people trying to save this species from extinction.

Successful conservation efforts rely on access to the latest science, including what's published in academic journals. But do those journals conform to ethical publishing models? The answer may surprise you.

Northern fish are tough, but can they survive climate change? New research reveals how some populations and species will face trouble in a warming world — and that will pose problems for species and the people who rely on local fisheries for food, culture and economic security.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

Here are five more stories we're watching this week.  

1. "New Data Show an 'Extraordinary' Rise in U.S. Coastal Flooding" (New York Times)

2. "EPA Declines to Tighten Smog Standards Amid Pressure From Green Groups" (The Hill)

3. "Climate Science Has a Blind Spot When it Comes to Heat Waves in Southern Africa" (InsideClimate News)

4. "'It's All on Hold': How COVID-19 Derailed the Fight Against Plastic Waste" (Guardian)

5. "Red Wolves Name for Washington Could Help Save the Species, Scientist Says" (Washington Post)

In case you missed it:

Many experts hope this week's removal of the Nooksack Dam will boost efforts to save Southern Resident orcas from extinction, a decline caused by killer toxins and other threats.

What should we cover next?

Our stories rely on insight from experts, frontline activists and readers around the world — especially these days, when so much damage is being done behind the scenes, out of the public eye. We want to hear from you, so please drop us a line anytime.

Coming up:

Does the United States do a good job protecting its most important fish habitats? Well, no. We'll explain why (and reveal how things have gotten even worse in recent years).

Look for our latest links in next Thursday's newsletter — or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the headlines as they go live.

As always, thank you for reading — and stay safe.

John R. Platt

John R. Platt
Editor, The Revelator


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Photo of  Middle Fork dam courtesy American Rivers

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