As many as 500 sites for small power plants have been identified in Washington alone.
Despite the green goals of renewable energy generation, the location of some of these facilities puts sensitive lands in danger.
"[T]he small-hydro trend is beginning to raise eyebrows in environmental and recreation circles, especially in the West where much of the activity is taking place. The concern is that dozens, if not hundreds of dams and small power plants could industrialize vast reaches of spectacular backcountry, while providing relatively little power. Aside from ruining prized whitewater rafting runs, the projects could kill fish, critics say, while carving up habitat for other wildlife, such as for bears and eagles, with roads, transmission lines and other infrastructure."