Science/Ecology

A regional analysis of the impact of dams on water temperature in medium-size rivers in eastern Canada

Source: 
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume: 
73
Year: 
2016
Abstract: 
Various studies have helped gain a better understanding of the thermal impacts of dams on a site-specific basis, but very few studies have compared the thermal impacts of varying types of dams within the same region. In this study, we conducted a regional-scale assessment of the impacts of dams on the thermal regime of 13 medium-size rivers in eastern Canada. The objectives of this study were to identify features of the thermal regime of rivers that are predominantly impacted by dams and to compare the impacts associated with different types of regulation (run-of-river, storage, peaking). The thermal regime of regulated and unregulated rivers was characterized using 15 metrics that described the magnitude, frequency, duration, timing, and rate of change of water temperature. Results indicate that storage and peaking dams impounding at least 10% of the median annual runoff generally (i) reduced the magnitude of water temperature variation at seasonal, daily, and subdaily timescales and (ii) increased the monthly mean water temperature in September. This regional assessment offers important insight regarding a generalized pattern of thermal alteration by dams, and this information could be used to guide biological monitoring efforts in regulated rivers.
Author(s): 

Audrey Maheu, André St-Hilaire, Daniel Caissie, Nassir El-Jabi, Guillaume Bourque, and Daniel Boisclair

Category: 

Review: Balancing Hydropower and Environmental Values: The Resource Management Implications of the US Electric Consumers Protection Act and the AWARE™ Software

Source: 
Environmental Values
Volume: 
4(3)
Year: 
1995
Abstract: 
This paper reviews the AWARE™ software distributed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The program is designed to facilitate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license renewal process for US hydropower installations. The discussion reviews the regulatory, legal, and social contexts that give rise to the creation and distribution ofAWARE™. The principal legal impetus for AWARE™ is the Electric Consumer Protection Act (ECPA) of 1 986 that directs FERC to give equal consideration topower and nonpower resources during relicensing. The software is reviewed in this paper from several perspectives including those of natural resource economics, systems modeling, and the social context within which FERC licensing decisions are made. We examine both the software and its underlying methodology and find significant problems with each. Because of its flaws, AWARE™ does little to further ECPA's equal consideration requirement. We And that the conservation and restoration impact of ECPA for US fisheries could be seriously hampered by the widespread use of AWARE™.
Author(s): 

Bartholow JM, Douglas AJ, Taylor JG.

Category: 

Setting environmental flows in regulated rivers

Source: 
SINTEF Energy Research
Year: 
2012
Abstract: 

There is a clear need for identifying simple relations between changes in flow and ecosystem response for the improved management of rivers and the implementation of the EU WFD. Despite this, it appears very difficult to identify widely applicable relations between hydrological/hydraulic parameters and ecosystem response, and one specific water flow target/methodology could hardly be found nor recommended. The review of management practices of setting environmental/minimum flows in selected European countries, rather revealed that a number of approaches are used, most of them, however, ending up in minimum flow/environmental flows in the range of 5-10% of mean annual flow. The authors would propose to use the building block methodology (BBM) as a conceptual framework for setting flow targets in regulated rivers. This would support the overall idea of the EU WFD of introducing ecosystem-based management with stakeholder involvement. This is in line with recommendations given to authorities in e.g. the UK where trials are currently undertaken.  The authors believe the use of hydrological/hydraulic analysis still have an unleashed potential in the environmental management of regulated rivers in general and related to the EU WFD in particular, possibly supporting rapid assessment ecological status in rivers in the future. 

Author(s): 

Tor Haakon Bakken, Peggy Zinke, Andreas Melcher, Håkon Sundt, Teppo Vehanen, Klaus Jorde, Mike Acreman

Category: 

Mitigation Measures Against Hydropeaking Effects

Source: 
SINTEF Energy Research
Year: 
2011
Abstract: 

Hydropeaking consists of variations in discharge and water level due to releases of water retained in storage basin to generate electricity according to the market demand. These unnatural flow fluctuations create frequent and rapid variations in terms of flow magnitude, flow velocity, water depth, water temperature, wetted area and sediment transport which also can affect channel morphology. Such changes may lead to degradation of physical conditions and habitats in local ecosystems which directly affect biological communities in rivers. Mitigation measures can enhance the ecological state of rivers and lakes altered by hydropeaking. They are classified into 3 different types: Operational measures place constraints on the hydropower plant regime itself, fixing threshold values for amount of water released; construction measures involves construction of hydraulic structures like retention basins; and in-stream measures are renovation or maintenance works carried out inside the river. Mitigation measures are site-specific and thus local investigations must be carried out to ensure successful implementation of measures. In addition, long-term monitoring and systematic evaluation should be conducted during and after the completion of rehabilitation projects to assess the benefits of measures on local ecosystems. The literature review gathers examples of abatement measures implemented in several countries to mitigate negative impacts of hydropeaking. Examples are classified in a table and sorted by the aim of the measures.

 

Author(s): 

Julie Charmasson and Peggy Zinke

Category: 

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