Synthesis of Ecological and Physical Effects of Dam Removal Projects
This researach effort will publish two papers that synthesize information gained in dam removal implementation projects over the last 12 years. The papers will focus on documenting questions related to reservoir sediment release:
1) How much sediment was released?
2) Where did the sediment go?
3) How long did sediment impacts last?
4) What were the common pre-removal management concerns and what actually happened?
Reserach Paper #1: Synthesis of Ecological and Physical Response to Dam Removals
Research Paper #2:
Six common engineering concerns in dam removal projects: What do 12 years of monitoring data tell us?
Need and Benefit
Dam decommissioning is rapidly emerging as an important river restoration strategy in the U.S., with several major removals recently completed or in progress. But few studies have evaluated the far-reaching consequences of these significant environmental perturbations, especially those resulting from removals
of large (>10–15 m tall) structures during the last decade. In particular, interactions between physical and ecological aspects of dam removal are poorly known. From recent work, however, observations are now available from several diverse settings nationwide to allow synthesis of key physical and ecological processes associated with dam removals, including fish and benthic community response, reservoir erosion, downstream sedimentation, water quality issues (including turbidity and contaminant transport), riparian vegetation, food web response, gene flow changes, effects on migratory aquatic species, and invasive species response. Our proposed examination and synthesis of these observations, framed and tested as hypotheses and conceptual models, will provide better understanding of the multifaceted and interrelated consequences of dam decommissioning, thereby providing a basis for formulating realistic expectations for river restoration in addition to identifying key information gaps and research needs.
Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.
Bureau of Reclamation Review
The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.
Synthesis of Ecological and Physical Effects of Dam Removal Projects (final, PDF, 750KB)
By Jennifer Bountry
Publication completed on September 30, 2015
The following documents were not reviewed. Statements made in these documents are those of the authors. The findings have not been verified.
Understanding the Dynamics Behind Dam Removals (final, PDF, 1.3MB)
By Jennifer Bountry
Publication completed on September 30, 2016