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Trout Unlimited Hosts Anti-dam Movie, Discussion on Plattsburgh Dam Removal

A SUNY Plattsburgh screening of the award-winning environmental documentary “DamNation” will held 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29 in Krinovitz Recital Hall, Hawkins Hall.

The screening is free and will be followed by a discussion about efforts to remove a dam on nearby Saranac River.

The film, which describes the environmental damage created by dams and the benefits of dam removal and watershed restoration, looks at dozens of efforts to remove sometimes poorly conceived or long-obsolete river barriers, examining the science and history behind modern dam building.

A post-film discussion will focus on a decades-long effort by anglers and environmentalists to remove or lower Imperial Dam, which blocks 10 miles of prime spawning ground for salmon and obstructs recreational uses of the popular Saranac.

“For over 20 years veteran members of the Lake Champlain chapter of Trout Unlimited have been anxiously awaiting the restoration of our fishery,” said Derrick Miller, president of the local TU chapter, explaining why his group is sponsoring the event. “The salmon have been waiting for over 200 years.”

According to Miller, the Imperial Dam, which once produced hydroelectricity and served the long-closed Imperial Wallpaper Mill, now serves no purpose. This obstruction is one in a long line of dams that have damaged the regional fishery over the last two centuries, he said.

The film and efforts to modify Imperial Dam directly tie into TU’s mission: To protect, connect and restore cold-watery fisheries, Miller said.

Miller and Dr. Charles List, philosophy professor at SUNY Plattsburgh, will lead the program after the film screening. The documentary will be introduced by Aaron Stone, senior in expeditionary studies.

“DamNation,” which has won awards at a number of film festivals, including the South By Southwest Film Festival and International Wildlife Film Festival, is sponsored by Patagonia.

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