Science/Ecology

Hydropower Relicensing and Climate Change

Source: 
JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION
Volume: 
1-7
Year: 
2011
Abstract: 

Hydropower represents approximately 20% of the world’s energy supply, is viewed as both vulnerable to global climate warming and an asset to reduce climate altering emissions, and is increasingly the target of improved regulation to meet multiple ecosystem service benefits. It is within this context that the recent decision by the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject studies of climate change in its consideration of reoperation of the Yuba-Bear Drum-Spaulding hydroelectric facilities in northern California is shown to be poorly reasoned and risky. Given the rapidity of climate warming, and its anticipated impacts to natural and human communities, future long-term fixed licenses of hydropower operation will be ill prepared to adapt if science-based approaches to incorporating reasonable and foreseeable hydrologic changes into study plans are not included. The licensing of hydroelectricity generation can no longer be issued in isolation due to downstream contingencies such as domestic water use, irrigated agricultural production, ecosystem maintenance, and general socioeconomic well-being. At minimum, if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is to establish conditions of operation for 30-50 years, licensees should be required to anticipate changing climatic and hydrologic conditions for a similar period of time.

Author(s): 

Viers, Joshua H

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Dam Reconnaissance Study In The Muskegon Watershed

Source: 
Muskegon River Watershed Assembly
Year: 
2010
Abstract: 

This report is to develop a list of likely candidate dams for removal within the Muskegon River Watershed based on a number factors. The report ranks 15 dams as the most favorable for removal, at minimal cost and with minimal public and private opposition based on available information. 

Author(s): 

Muskegon River Watershed Assembly 

Contact: 
Notes: 

Blue Harvest: Inland Fisheries as an Ecosystem Service

Source: 
United Nations Environment Programme
Year: 
2010
Abstract: 

Damming a river may bring electric power, but it often comes at the price of high-quality food fisheries, experts say. When dams are proposed for power, flood control or irrigation, the often devastating impacts on fisheries in rivers and lakes are ignored or discounted.This report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Fish Centre warns that despite over 40 years of steady production globally, rapid environmental changes are occurring which challenge the viability of future fish stocks and a range of internationally- agreed development targets including the Millennium Development Goals.The report is available online at http://www.unep.org/pdf/Blue_Harvest.pdf

Author(s): 

Dugan, P., Delaporte, A., Andrew, N., O'Keefe, M., Welcomme, R.

Contact: 
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The Disconnect Between Restoration Goals and Practices: A Case Study of Watershed Restoration in the Russian River Basin, CA

Source: 
Restoration Ecology
Volume: 
18
Year: 
2008
Abstract: 

Over the past two decades, watershed restoration has dramatically increased internationally. California has been at the forefront, allocating billions of dollars to restoration activities through legislation and voter-approved bonds. Yet, the implications of restoration remain ambiguous because there has been little examination of restoration accomplishments and almost no analysis of the political context of restoration. This article addresses these gaps, utilizing a case study of the Russian River basin in Northern California. We identify trends that shed light on both the ecological and the political implications of restoration at a basin scale by examining a database of 787 restoration projects implemented in the Russian River basin since the early 1980s. Although a total of over $47 million has been spent on restoration in the basin, dominant forms of restoration are limited in scope to small-scale projects that focus on technical solutions to site-specific problems. The majority of restoration efforts are devoted to road repair, riparian stabilization, and in-stream structures, accounting for 62% of all projects. These types of projects do not address the broader social drivers of watershed change such as land and water uses. We suggest that restoration can become more effective by addressing the entire watershed as a combination of social and ecological forces that interact to produce watershed conditions. 

Author(s): 

Juliet Christian-Smith and Merenlender, Adina M.

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Notes: 

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