For thousands of years, we (humans) have been making feeble attempts to control old mother nature. Some of these attempts specifically have been used for recreation, power and flood control.
During that time, we seem to have forgotten who is in charge, for all around us we see nature's physical elements defeat us.
Of particular interest to avid outdoorsmen is the constant change in stream habitat such as relocation of riparian structures and holding pools for fish.
Have you noticed that the larger streams that have a larger volume of water have the tendency to run wild and thus have the ability to move and displace millions of cubic yards of gravel and siltation though out the stream's length?
In addition, you probably have noticed that the tiny head water streams with good forest protection have gone nowhere. And, that brings up the old adage, "that when a stream develops enough volume and cubic feet per second, it goes where it wants to go."
My late friend and boss, Justice Baum, schooled well in geology and spent a summer working with techniques controlling water runoff. His philosophy was to stop water volume before it was started. If dams were to be used they should be small and in the head waters of the entire drainage system.
Through our time, beginning in the 20th century, we manufactured the idea that if water was moving, build a large or medium dam.
Bill Brady, my geology professor at the University of Colorado, always was adamant and insisted "big dams are damn foolishness. And all dams are dying a natural death."
We now know that he was correct and most dams are filling up with fine silt and gravel.
It is true that nothing is destroyed in nature and the elements just change their form and relocate.
Streams have a way of telling us who is in charge. If you don't believe that is true, a trip on Route 87 North will make a believer out of you.
Locally, the Hepburn Street Dam is beginning to tell us something, as the silt and gravel is deposited below, making fertile grounds for an island that is sure to follow. This is a great example illustrating when a stream loses its ability to carry its sediment load, it merely dumps all of it on the bottom and creates a new path or pool.