Jamie Workman, a former top aide to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, and Secretariat of the World Commission on Dams, mentions Restoration Systems’ dam removal work in a recent issue of the market-based environmental journal PERC Reports. Jamie contacted me by email a year or two ago from Africa (we have yet to meet in person), where he was working on dam issues and had heard of for-profit removals. He has since returned to the states where he seems to be pursuing the idea.
Workman really gets it. He has independently identified the same opportunity Restoration Systems developed here in North Carolina: leveraging mitigation needs to accomplish dam removal. He seems to be saying the article that he is giving it a shot himself, by way of this reference:
“So what I’m betting my personal savings on is that when faced with a hefty price tag for fixing what has become a public nuisance, dam owners—whether a farmer or a county executive—will logically seek a more affordable exit strategy. With half a dozen colleagues at PERC, I began to develop a business plan for dam removal. It focuses less on structural removal, which is straightforward, and more on whom might finance it, which is trickier.”
We wish Jamie well in his new venture. This is not proprietary knowledge by any means, and there are plenty of dams to go around (~75,000). I caution him, however, that as soon as “profits” are mentioned, what started as a wonderful idea to remove dams by using developers’ funds can quickly become, in some eyes, a get rich quick scheme to make it easier to harm the environment. As soon as he hears this kind of chatter from the bench – he will know he is doing something right.