Start Date

1-6-2007 4:10 PM

End Date

1-6-2007 4:20 PM

Description

Large dams in the United States have frequently been the targets of attacks by environmentalists who believe that the dams and the reservoirs they create are violations of wilderness. There are currently numerous proposals to dismantle some dams in order to restore river ecosystems to their pre-dam conditions, including Hetch Hetchy Reservoir’s O’ Shaunnessy Dam. Less attention has been paid to those dams and reservoirs that have arguably created protected areas that otherwise may have been subject to degradation from development. The Quabbin Reservoir, the primary water source for metropolitan Boston, serves as a prime example. Viewed as an engineering success in the 1930s, the Quabbin project consisted of two large earthen dams and a 25 mile-long tunnel to supply Boston with high-quality, unfiltered water from a submerged valley in central Massachusetts. Although building the reservoir required the taking of four towns by eminent domain, the reservoir and surrounding lands are now viewed favorably by the public as a “watershed wilderness.” This paper explores the ramifications of how technology—in this case, the construction of a large water supply system—serves as a creator of wilderness, as opposed to destroyer.

Keywords

California -- Hetch Hetchy Reservoir; Dams; Environmental impacts; Environmental quality; Massachusetts; Massachusetts -- Quabbin Reservoir; Massachusetts--Swift River Valley; Quabbin reservoir; Swift River Valley; Water supplies; Water supply; Wilderness areas -- Social aspect; Wilderness values

Disciplines

Environmental Health and Protection | Fresh Water Studies | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Place and Environment | Water Resource Management

Language

English

Comments

5 pages
DOI: 10.1109/ISTAS.2007.4362215

 
Jun 1st, 4:10 PM Jun 1st, 4:20 PM

Session 7 - Technology and the creation of wilderness: The Making of quabbin reservoir

Large dams in the United States have frequently been the targets of attacks by environmentalists who believe that the dams and the reservoirs they create are violations of wilderness. There are currently numerous proposals to dismantle some dams in order to restore river ecosystems to their pre-dam conditions, including Hetch Hetchy Reservoir’s O’ Shaunnessy Dam. Less attention has been paid to those dams and reservoirs that have arguably created protected areas that otherwise may have been subject to degradation from development. The Quabbin Reservoir, the primary water source for metropolitan Boston, serves as a prime example. Viewed as an engineering success in the 1930s, the Quabbin project consisted of two large earthen dams and a 25 mile-long tunnel to supply Boston with high-quality, unfiltered water from a submerged valley in central Massachusetts. Although building the reservoir required the taking of four towns by eminent domain, the reservoir and surrounding lands are now viewed favorably by the public as a “watershed wilderness.” This paper explores the ramifications of how technology—in this case, the construction of a large water supply system—serves as a creator of wilderness, as opposed to destroyer.