There’s some urgency to the timing of this journey. “The river is at a crossroads,” Jeff continues. “Even 10 to 20 years from now, it could be a very different place.”
The Mekong River is largely untapped for hydropower. However, dozens of dams are planned and decisions about dam development—such as how many are built and in what locations—will have a huge impact on fish populations. “The Mekong, you could say, is really the global focus for the debate about the sustainability of large dams and hydropower,” offers Jeff.
The river is much more than a fascinating destination for his family. He’s helping to build the scientific support for the Great Rivers Partnership (GRP), a coalition of partners working to develop sustainable solutions for our world’s most important rivers. On this trip, Jeff hopes to learn about this river, its challenges and opportunities, and make connections with the conservation scientists working to keep it healthy.
Photos © Jeff Opperman