This chapter focuses on the burgeoning river-restoration movement in the United States and explores its premise, promises, and challenges. Nearly all of America's rivers are developed, dammed, diverted, dried up, or dirtied. But increasingly Americans want rivers that are clean, free-flowing, teeming with fish and wildlife, and inviting for sports and recreation. To achieve that, it will be necessary to restore a lot of river miles and preserve the small fraction of our rivers that are still relatively pristine. The task may seem insurmountable; nearly all of America's rivers have been altered by 200 years of water development. This chapter examines efforts to restore some of the river segments that have been damaged so that they meet society's increasing demand for clean, living rivers, with particular emphasis on the people behind these restoration projects. It also considers the so-called “water hubris” mentality, which can be seen in the design and construction of Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona; this dam created a reservoir called Lake Powell with a shoreline longer than the West Coast.
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