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Ecological Implications of Post-Dam Removal Sediment Processes
Alternative Title
Managing Watersheds for Human and Natural Impacts: Engineering, Ecological, and Economic Challenges, EWRI and ASCE 2005 Watershed Management Conference, Williamsburg, Virginia, July 19-22, 2005
J. Craig Fischenich
Jock Conyngham
Environmental Laboratory, Engineer Research and Development Center, USACE
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
UC Riverside, Library, Water Resources Collections and Archives
Clearinghouse for Dam Removal Information (CDRI)
Rights Information
Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Scope/Content: Abstract: The presence of a dam or dams fundamentally alters sediment continuity, local morphology, boundary characteristics, thermal regimes, and, depending on size and operations, hydrology. The magnitude of these alterations and their interactions usually leads to local physical adjustments as the channel system establishes a new equilibrium. By definition then, the removal of a dam, depending on size, scale relative to the channel system, characteristics of sediment deposition, and the degree of alterations caused by the dam's presence and operations can lead to significant ecological, morphological, and water quality disturbances as the system adjusts to its new regime and morphology as well as physical disturbances related to removal implementation. These disturbances can affect both aquatic and riparian ecosystems and extend significant distances upstream and down. Issues of contaminants, horizontal and longitudinal changes in particle sizes, deposition lens shape, invasive plant species, threatened and endangered populations, flood risk, nutrient sinks and cycling, risk management, and dynamic processes that underlie aquatic and riparian structure and function need to be addressed where relevant to enable effective decision making and communications and to attain maximum ecological benefits from individual projects and basin restoration plans. Quantitative ecological models need development and effective linkage to hydrologic and sediment models. Finally, monitoring of ecological responses to dam removals needs emphasis and a higher profile if restoration techniques and funding flows are to improve.
digital copy
Sediment and channel dynamics
Dam retirement

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