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How are changes from the New Deal still visible in the Western US today?

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user5007484 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted March 4, 2013 at 11:27 PM via web

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How are changes from the New Deal still visible in the Western US today?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 5, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Answer #1)

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The main way in which the effects of the New Deal are visible in the West today is in the dams that were built during that time period. 

Looking at the Pacific Northwest, we can see that the landscape and the economy were dramatically changed by the building of dams.  A number of dams were built on the Columbia River on the Oregon-Washington border and in Washington after the Columbia turns north.  These dams changed the landscape in a number of ways.  First, they brought electricity to the area.  This area still gets its power from hydroelectricity, much of it from dams built during the New Deal.  Second, the dams changed the economy of the region forever.  The inlands of Central Washington were dry desert and were very hard to farm before the building of the dams.  When the dams, in particular Grand Coulee Dam, were built, farming boomed in this area.  The entire area came to be irrigated and remains a very prosperous farming area today. 

Thus, the dams were the New Deal project which had the greatest impact on the rural West and are visible today. 

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