for roughly 10% of the power generation inthe United States, far and away the largest contribution coming from a renewablesource. There are many advantages to hydropower over electricity generated byburning fossil fuels, including zero emissions and no release of thermal pollution tothe environment. These hydroelectric plants can last for decades, and require littlemaintenance. They also serve other purposes aside from power generation includingstorage of water for irrigation and drinking, and flood control. However, there arealso downsides to hydropower, including sometimes shortened life-span due tosiltation behind the dam, the danger of dam failure, and most notably the loss of freeflowingstreams and the land and habitat that is flooded by the dam. A contentiousissue in the Pacific Northwest is the effect that dams are having on fish populationsin California and the Pacific Northwest. The once abundant fish are now in dangeror becoming extinct in many parts of the west. In fact, The U.S. Fish and WildlifeService reports that 214 of the 400 stocks of salmon, steelhead, and sea-run cutthroattrout in the California and the Pacific Northwest are at risk of extinction, and that106 have already become extinct. Some say fish ladders help the fish migrate back totheir spawning grounds, while others say the only way to allow for these fish to makea comeback is to return the rivers back to their original condition. Base on this,answer the following questions:1. Are the power generation, irrigation, and flood control benefits from hydropowerfacilities worth the disadvantages that have been identified? Think about thisquestion from both an economic and environmental perspective.2. Do you feel that more hydropower facilities should be constructed?Source: http://www.fws.gov/species/species_accounts/bio_salm.html
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