Removing obsolete, local and not-so-local dams and restoring streams will be the topic of a Friday, December 2 film screening hosted by the Foothill Conservancy. The featured film, DamNation, starts at 7:30 pm at the Sutter Creek Theatre on Main Street, Sutter Creek. DamNation chronicles how removing obsolete dams allows rivers and their native fish stocks to recover, provides opportunities to revitalize local economies and increases watershed resiliency. A short film on the recent removal of East Panther Creek Dam in Amador County will also be shown. Tickets are $15 in advance and $17 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets.
“We’re excited to show this important film to a local audience while we celebrate the recent removal of the East Panther Creek Dam,” said Foothill Conservancy Vice President, Pete Bell. “In Amador County and across, the nation, dams that have outlived their useful life are being removed to restore rivers and streams for people, fish and wildlife.”
DamNation is a powerful film odyssey across America that explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.
In a review of the award-winning film, the Santa Barbara Independent note, “DamNation is a movie that matters...With a blend of history, face-melting nature cinematography, and a dash of Edward Abbey–style criminal mischief, DamNation lays bare this truth in a way that is educational, entertaining, and, perhaps most importantly, inspirational.”
Foothill Conservancy’s video on East Panther Creek Dam provides history on the dam from its construction through its recent demolition by blasting. Located in Amador County, the diversion dam was built and used by PG&E until 1997 to boost dry-year power generation. Although the dam was breached in 2003 to improve fish passage, it took 16 years for the dam to be more completely removed.
“We encourage ticket buyers to both carpool and come early to enjoy Sutter Creek’s annual Christmas Open House,” said Foothill Conservancy Director Cecily Smith. “The town will be filled with holiday revelers (and parking at a premium) as merchants open their stores, share refreshments, and launch the winter holiday season.”
Event guests will have the chance to literally take a piece of local river history home as chunks from the dam will be among the raffle prizes offered. All proceeds will support Foothill Conservancy’s Mokelumne River and watershed conservation efforts. For more information, contact Carolyn, firstname.lastname@example.org, 209-223-3508.
DAMNATION: Official Trailer
|Ben Knight films the former Elwha Dam before its removal. Elwha River, Washington in a scene from DAMNATION. Photo: Travis Rummel|
|A pod of wild pink salmon swim up the pristine and free flowing Susitna River just below the site of a proposed mega dam being pushed by the State of Alaska in a scene from DAMNATION. Photo: Matt Stoecker|
Skateboarding a dam pipe outlet somewhere in the USA in a scene from DAMNATION.
Photo: Ben Knight