Friday, April 22, 2011

Cyclists need fishladders!

While selecting photos for the catkin post I had a photo I was going to put there, but then I got the idea that it would be worth a blog post on own. With another photo to really drive (hmm, not on a cycling blog) hammer in the point.  

I'm going to show the complementary photo first:
The "overflow dam" of the hydro power plant.
The bar you see in the front of the picture is an axle, part of machinery to control the sluice gates. In the dam you see also has holes where the water gets out when it reaches high enough level, to prevent flooding. As you can see, all of the water has been going through the power plant, no need to waste water by letting it go through the sluice gates.

Here's the photo that sparked my imagination:
Fish ladder to get past the hydro dam.
What do these photos to have with cycling?

Compare the pictures. First is the hydro dam. Effective at getting as much water as possible through the turbines. Not very pretty and definately unappealing to fish. Height difference is too big for them to jump, and they can't get through the turbines.

The fish ladder looks nice, even in April. Fishes like it, obviously. The route is certainly navigable for them. And the web camera shows that salmons etc. use it too. If it wasn't for the ladders, there'd be no salmons upstream!

The dam is a barrier, like a railway tracks or highway without underpasses. Or any street which does not have a safe way for cyclists and pedestrians to cross it or ride/walk along it. The barrier stops people from moving. It kills active, human powered transportation.

One could also compare the fish ladder to bikeways. One might imagine that a few, strong and fearless fish might survive the dam. But the fishladder? Can you see the small fishes cycling to school and the old granma fishes cycling to bingo, with no danger from the turbine blades?

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