The influence of hydropower dams on river connectivity in the Andes Amazon

January 31, 2018

Hydropower dams in the Andes Amazon significantly disturb river connectivity in this region, and consequently, the many natural and human systems these rivers support, according a new study. The results challenge previous research that collectively underestimates these dams' effects, the authors say. Given the importance of the Andes Amazon rivers to more than 30 million inhabitants (who rely on migratory fishes, floodplain agriculture and forest products as their main sources of protein and income), greater cooperation in water management processes is critical, say the authors, who suggest their findings extend globally. Although Andean rivers strongly influence the greater Amazon, experts have yet to pinpoint concrete effects of increased dam production on river connectivity at a regional scale. Elizabeth P. Anderson and colleagues verified the locations of existing dams in the Andes Amazon using satellite imagery and quantified the growing effects of current and proposed dams on river fragmentation in Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Their analyses not only showed that the number of dams operating or under construction in the region is about two times higher than formerly reported, but also that the influence of hydropower development has been substantially underestimated. Current hydropower dams have already affected tributary networks, they say, though not river mainstreams; the latter will likely change if proposed dams are erected, the authors say. Anderson et al. suggest that, as a result of the dams, migratory patterns of freshwater fish will be greatly disturbed and 100% of sediment will be trapped in downstream dams, thus altering natural river flow and cultural processes of the region.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Dams Articles from Brightsurf:

Dams exacerbate the consequences of climate change on river fish
A potential response of river fish to environmental changes is to colonize new habitats.

Dams in the upper Mekong River modify nutrient bioavailability downstream
Chen et al. shed new light on the effects of hydropower dams on nutrient cycling and ecosystem functioning.

Hydropower dams cool rivers in the Mekong River basin, satellites show
Using 30 years of satellite data, UW researchers discovered that within one year of the opening of a major dam in the Mekong River basin, downstream river temperatures during the dry season dropped by up to 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C).

Proposed hydropower dams pose threat to Gabon's fishes
Proposed hydropower dams in Gabon pose a substantial threat to the African nation's most culturally and economically important fishes, according to a new study.

World's first public database of mine tailings dams aims to prevent deadly disasters
GRID-Arendal has launched the Global Tailings Portal, a new public, searchable database with detailed information on more than 1,700 mine tailings dams around the world.

Fish size affects snake river salmon returns more than route through dams
The survival and eventual return of juvenile Snake River salmon and steelhead to spawning streams as adults depends more on their size than the way they pass through hydroelectric dams on their migration to the ocean, new research shows.

AI could transform how we monitor the structural health of civil infrastructure
The University of Surrey and King's College London have developed a new machine learning algorithm (AI) that could transform the way we monitor major infrastructure - such as dams and bridges.

AI helps reduce Amazon hydropower dams' carbon footprint
A team of scientists has developed a computational model that uses artificial intelligence to find sites for hydropower dams in order to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Coastal ecosystems suffer from upriver hydroelectric dams
Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and UC Riverside found that inland river dams can have highly destructive effects on the stability and productivity of coastline and estuarine habitats, which provide protection from storms, commercial fishery habitats, and belowground carbon storage.

Ecosystem responses to dam removal complex, but predictable
In the United States, the removal of dams now outpaces the construction of new ones -- with more than 1,400 dams decommissioned since the 1970s -- and a new study suggests that the ecosystem effects of dam removal can be predicted.

Read More: Dams News and Dams Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.