Blow It Up and They Will Come
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, whose favorite pastime of late seems to be tearing down dams, got his first chance to employ explosives for the sake of fish this week. On Wednesday, he presided over the destruction of a dam on the Little River, near Goldboro, N.C., which opened up 49 miles of spawning habitat for striped bass, shad, sturgeon, alewife, and other fish. Wearing a flak jacket and helmet, Babbitt said, “I’ve been waiting for this one. I’ve done it with backhoes, jackhammers, and sledgehammers. I’ve never blown one up before.” The Rains Mill Dam, built in 1928 for a now-defunct grist mill, was the third to fall in North Carolina since 1997, part of a growing trend in the U.S. to remove dams to help fish populations.