LETTER- No dead river for us

I have just read that the Rivanna Conservation Society is working with state and federal agencies to remove the Woolen Mills Dam [News, March 30, "Dam demo: Breach at Woolen Mills good for shad."]

I'm all for removing dams and restoring heritage fish populations, but we're talking about a river already compromised by dams upstream. I've always assumed that for better or worse, the Woolen Mills dam restores some strength and flow to the river that the larger dam takes away.

I remember what the Charlottesville section of the Rivanna looked like after our recent four-year drought: it was only inches deep in places and clogged with algae bloom and snakes. After the drought, officials talked of raising the upstream dam four feet. Can we just keep cutting off water upstream forever without consequences? I'm picturing the Charlottesville portion of the river transformed into a creek.

A pair of eagles has recently been spotted in the Key West area of the river. Where is our national bird supposed to live? Don't they have as much history behind them as the shad?

And what are the fish, turtles, cranes, and land mammals and other birds that depend on the river supposed to do?

I didn't feel much respect coming from Jason Halbert in his Hook letter ["Get dam facts straight," April 13]. Maybe he looks down on all those who don't share his vision. I do respect the combined effort of the people behind this restoration effort.

I too want things back the way they were. But I don't want a dead river.

Systems have to be respected as a whole, and as long as we aren't prepared to remove upstream dams, I strongly feel Woolen Mills dam should stay.

Sky Hiatt