Event Title

Ecological Effects of Dams and Dam Removal

Location

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Start Date

30-4-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

30-4-2015 3:55 PM

Project Type

Poster

Description

The construction and use of dams are known to create habitat fragmentation within freshwater ecosystems. Rivers and other freshwater sources fragmented by dams suffer a loss of biodiversity and other long-term ecological effects, which are still being studied. These ecological effects can range from lower groundwater tables, collection of beneficial sediment upstream, decrease in nutrient cycling, to terrestrial ecosystem disturbance and can lead to the extinction of many aquatic species. The removal of dams restores some of the previous ecological integrity, but if the process is not carried out appropriately it can cause its own ecological disturbances and harmful long-term effects. If dam removal is not carried out carefully there can be a quick change of river flow and vast amounts of sediment transported downstream. This sediment can severely alter the river ecosystem and the damage can extend far further downstream from the dam removal . Looking at three case studies, the Edward's Dam, the Fort Halifax Dam, and the Veazie Dam, reveal that habitat fragmentation caused by dams results in biodiversity loss from the loss of local anadramous fish populations, substrate organisms, and low elevation riparian communities and natural wetlands. Because of terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity loss, important ecological services such as the cycling of water, nutrients, sediment, and organic matter are restricted. Short-term effects of dam removal also have to be taken into consideration.

Faculty Sponsor

Russ Cole

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Environmental Studies Program

CLAS Field of Study

Interdisciplinary Studies

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

1825

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Apr 30th, 2:00 PM Apr 30th, 3:55 PM

Ecological Effects of Dams and Dam Removal

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

The construction and use of dams are known to create habitat fragmentation within freshwater ecosystems. Rivers and other freshwater sources fragmented by dams suffer a loss of biodiversity and other long-term ecological effects, which are still being studied. These ecological effects can range from lower groundwater tables, collection of beneficial sediment upstream, decrease in nutrient cycling, to terrestrial ecosystem disturbance and can lead to the extinction of many aquatic species. The removal of dams restores some of the previous ecological integrity, but if the process is not carried out appropriately it can cause its own ecological disturbances and harmful long-term effects. If dam removal is not carried out carefully there can be a quick change of river flow and vast amounts of sediment transported downstream. This sediment can severely alter the river ecosystem and the damage can extend far further downstream from the dam removal . Looking at three case studies, the Edward's Dam, the Fort Halifax Dam, and the Veazie Dam, reveal that habitat fragmentation caused by dams results in biodiversity loss from the loss of local anadramous fish populations, substrate organisms, and low elevation riparian communities and natural wetlands. Because of terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity loss, important ecological services such as the cycling of water, nutrients, sediment, and organic matter are restricted. Short-term effects of dam removal also have to be taken into consideration.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/35