Item


Ecological impacts of small hydropower plants on headwater stream fish: From individual to community effects

Hydroelectricity is increasingly used worldwide as a source of renewable energy, and many mountain ranges have dozens or hundreds of hydropower plants, with many more being under construction or planned. Although the ecological impacts of large dams are relatively well known, the effects of small hydropower plants and their weirs have been much less investigated. We studied the effects of water diversion of small hydropower plants on fish assemblages in the upper Ter river basin (Catalonia, NE Spain), which has headwater reaches with good water quality and no large dams but many of such plants. We studied fish populations and habitat features on control and impacted reaches for water diversion of 16 hydropower plants. In the impacted reaches, there was a significantly lower presence of refuges for fish, poorer habitat quality, more pools and less riffles and macrophytes, and shallower water levels. We also observed higher fish abundance, larger mean fish size and better fish condition in the control than in impacted reaches, although the results were species-specific. Accordingly, species composition was also affected, with lower relative abundance of brown trout (Salmo trutta) and Pyrenean minnow (Phoxinus bigerri) in the impacted reaches and higher presence of stone loach (Barbatula quignardi) and Mediterranean barbel (Barbus meridionalis). Our study highlights the effects of water diversion of small hydropower plants from the individual to the population and community levels but probably underestimates them, urging for further assessment and mitigation of these ecological impacts

This study was financed by the Catalan Water Agency (ACA), Government of Catalonia (CTN1001569). Additional financial support was provided by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (project CGL2013-43822-R) and the Government of Catalonia (ref. 2014 SGR 484)

© Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 2016, vol. 25, núm. 2, p. 295-306

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

Author: Benejam Vidal, Lluís
Saura-Mas, Sandra
Bardina, Mònica
Solà, Carolina
Munné, Antoni
García-Berthou, Emili
Date: 2016 April
Abstract: Hydroelectricity is increasingly used worldwide as a source of renewable energy, and many mountain ranges have dozens or hundreds of hydropower plants, with many more being under construction or planned. Although the ecological impacts of large dams are relatively well known, the effects of small hydropower plants and their weirs have been much less investigated. We studied the effects of water diversion of small hydropower plants on fish assemblages in the upper Ter river basin (Catalonia, NE Spain), which has headwater reaches with good water quality and no large dams but many of such plants. We studied fish populations and habitat features on control and impacted reaches for water diversion of 16 hydropower plants. In the impacted reaches, there was a significantly lower presence of refuges for fish, poorer habitat quality, more pools and less riffles and macrophytes, and shallower water levels. We also observed higher fish abundance, larger mean fish size and better fish condition in the control than in impacted reaches, although the results were species-specific. Accordingly, species composition was also affected, with lower relative abundance of brown trout (Salmo trutta) and Pyrenean minnow (Phoxinus bigerri) in the impacted reaches and higher presence of stone loach (Barbatula quignardi) and Mediterranean barbel (Barbus meridionalis). Our study highlights the effects of water diversion of small hydropower plants from the individual to the population and community levels but probably underestimates them, urging for further assessment and mitigation of these ecological impacts
This study was financed by the Catalan Water Agency (ACA), Government of Catalonia (CTN1001569). Additional financial support was provided by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (project CGL2013-43822-R) and the Government of Catalonia (ref. 2014 SGR 484)
Format: application/pdf
ISSN: 0906-6691 (versió paper)
1600-0633 (versió electrònica)
Document access: http://hdl.handle.net/10256/13003
Language: eng
Publisher: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Collection: MINECO/PE 2014-2016/CGL2013-43822-R
Reproducció digital del document publicat a: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/eff.12210
Articles publicats (D-CCAA)
Is part of: © Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 2016, vol. 25, núm. 2, p. 295-306
Rights: Tots els drets reservats
Subject: Truites (Peixos) -- Pirineu català
Trout -- Catalan Pyrenees
Truita comuna -- Pirineu català
Centrals nuclears -- Aspectes ambientals
Nuclear power plants -- Environmental aspects
Title: Ecological impacts of small hydropower plants on headwater stream fish: From individual to community effects
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Repository: DUGiDocs

Subjects

Authors