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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 Habitat and Aquatic Biodiversity

Effects of Dams on Habitat and Aquatic Biodiversity

Chapter:
(p.113) 8 Effects of Dams on Habitat and Aquatic Biodiversity
Source:
Environmental Flows
Author(s):

Angela H. Arthington

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520273696.003.0008

Flow regulation by dams often disrupts the diversity of riverine habitats. Prolonged stable flows of particular levels can be damaging to fish, invertebrates, and vegetation. Pulsed reservoir discharges associated with hydroelectric power generation can cause fish to be stranded on gravel bars or in off-channel habitats during rapidly fluctuating or declining water levels. Irrigation impoundments often shift the seasonal timing of peak flows, causing disruption of life-cycle processes normally cued to seasonal flow and thermal patterns. Altered timing of floodplain inundation is drastic for fish species that must have access to floodplain habitats for feeding and growth. Interbasin water transfer schemes may disrupt water balance, temperature, and chemistry; as well as sedimentation, groundwater levels, and natural biotic distribution patterns; and they can facilitate the spread of pests and diseases.

Keywords:   flow regulation, pulsed reservoir discharges, habitat diversity, fish stranding, interbasin transfers, biotic distribution, pests and diseases

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