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Centring fish agency in coastal dam removal and river restoration

Caroline Gottschalk Druschke
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA; caroline.gottschalk.druschke@wisc.edu

Emma Lundberg
University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA; emma_lundberg@my.uri.edu

Ludovic Drapier
LGP UMR CNRS 8591, Université Paris-Est Créteil, Créteil, France; ludovic.drapier@lgp.cnrs.fr

Kristen C. Hychka
University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science, Solomons, Maryland, USA; khychka@gmail.com

ABSTRACT: This article considers the agentic capacity of fish in dam removal decisions. Pairing new materialist explorations of agency with news media, policy documents, and interviews related to a suite of dam decisions in a New England, USA watershed, we identify the ways that river herring seem constrained through technocratic discourse to particular human-defined roles in dam removal discussions. We suggest, meanwhile, that existing human relationships with salmonids like brook trout might serve as a bridge for public stakeholders and restoration managers to recognise the agentic creativity of fish in dam removal and river restoration decisions.

KEYWORDS: Actor Network Theory, brook trout, dam removal, river herring, transspecies