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The construction of new dams has become one of the most controversial issues in global efforts to alleviate poverty, improve human health, and strengthen regional economies. Unfortunately, this controversy has overshadowed the tremendous opportunity that exists for modifying the operations of existing dams to recover many of the environmental and social benefits of healthy ecosystems that have been compromised by present modes of dam operation. The potential benefits of dam "re-operation" include recovery of fish, shellfish, and other wildlife populations valued both commercially and recreationally, including estuarine species; reactivation of the flood storage and water purification benefits that occur when floods...