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Environmental FlowsSaving Rivers in the Third Millennium$
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Angela H. Arthington

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520273696

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520273696.001.0001

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Effects of Dams on Sediment, Thermal, and Chemical regimes

Effects of Dams on Sediment, Thermal, and Chemical regimes

(p.99) 7 Effects of Dams on Sediment, Thermal, and Chemical regimes
Environmental Flows

Angela H. Arthington

University of California Press

Dams store and release water in different ways depending upon the climatic and catchment setting, purpose, design, and mode of operation. These factors influence the impact of a dam on sediment, thermal, and chemical regimes downstream of the impoundment. Storage of floodwaters and high flows deprives the river below a dam of “flushing flows” that would normally flush out accumulated sediments and rejuvenate stream habitat. Vertically stratified impoundments release deep cold water, which is often oxygen deficient as well as colder than normal stream water. Alterations to the volume, frequency, duration, and timing of floods directly affect nitrogen cycling in alluvial soils by controlling the duration of inundation and of aerobic and anaerobic phases. These changes impact severely on aquatic biota.

Keywords:   dams, mode of operation, flushing flows, accumulated sediment, cold water, oxygen deficiency, nitrogen cycling

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