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But dams give the Northwest more than power. The harnessing of a river's falling waters also means flood control, irrigation, and navigation benefits, and recreation on the dams' reservoirs. Dam Spillway

Along with flood control, storage dams on the upper reaches of Northwest rivers hold spring runoffs and release them gradually to sustain levels of power generation when streamflows would ordinarily be low. Fish passage facilities enable salmon - and other fish that live in the sea, but spawn in rivers - to get past the dams.

All the hydro projects in the Northwest, large or small, work hand-in-hand to supply the needs for electric energy in the Northwest. Their power has helped to win wars, build industry, and make a better life for millions of people. Today, a new era has begun. Conservation, biomass, co-generation, geothermal, wind, coal, and nuclear power are all being called upon to meet the growing energy needs of the region. But the dams remain the backbone of the system.
NEXT: The Hydrologic Cycle

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