Event Title

Session A1 - History of fish passage public policy

Presenter Information

Alex Hoar

Location

UMass Amherst

Event Website

http://fishpassage.ecs.umass.edu/Conference2012/

Start Date

5-6-2012 10:50 AM

End Date

5-6-2012 11:10 AM

Description

Protecting the integrity of the aquatic pathways used by fish to migrate upstream and downstream has been a critical social issue since ancient times. There is a long history in Europe of fisheries being held in the public domain and protected by the sovereign under the common law for the benefit of its subjects. Conflicts between the fishery and other uses in the public interest arose and many were resolved, but tension remained. The fishery provided a critical food source and an important source for commerce and there was a common belief that the fisheries resources were held in the public domain. This was established as common law in England and transferred to colonial America. In accord with English laws and practices of the day, landowners were required to mitigate an obstruction to fish passage at their own expense or compensate their upstream abutters. At independence, the states became the sovereign and assumed responsibility to hold fisheries in the public domain, to protect them in the public interest, and adopted fishway laws. Later, in eighteenth and nineteen-century U.S., several important court decisions in coastal and inland states and the U.S. Supreme court not only reaffirmed fisheries as a publicly held interest, but required dam owners to protect the resource by providing fishways at their own expense. Increasing legal requirements to pass fish helped fuel the science of fishway engineering. Vast numbers of barriers to fish migration remain. In the U.S. alone, there are over 85,000 dams and 2 million culverts; the majority are an impediment to riverine and diadromous fish movement. Fish passage is now an important element at the interface of engineering design, ecohydrology, and higher education. Sustainable solutions are being advanced to support connectivity and quality of aquatic habitat, transportation systems, and renewable energy generation with hydropower. To enhance the ecological literacy of water resource engineers and foster collaborative research in the fields of fish passage, stream restoration, road ecology, and dam removal, a relevant graduate level program in Fish Passage Engineering and Ecohydrology has recently been created at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

This presentation identifies the biological purposes supported by effective fish passage. It raises awareness that interest in fish passage is not new, has long been an important public purpose, and the need for research and education in the field. Historical and current perspectives are presented that foster understanding of how the history of fish passage has influenced public policy, modern statutes, and creation of the graduate program.

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Jun 5th, 10:50 AM Jun 5th, 11:10 AM

Session A1 - History of fish passage public policy

UMass Amherst

Protecting the integrity of the aquatic pathways used by fish to migrate upstream and downstream has been a critical social issue since ancient times. There is a long history in Europe of fisheries being held in the public domain and protected by the sovereign under the common law for the benefit of its subjects. Conflicts between the fishery and other uses in the public interest arose and many were resolved, but tension remained. The fishery provided a critical food source and an important source for commerce and there was a common belief that the fisheries resources were held in the public domain. This was established as common law in England and transferred to colonial America. In accord with English laws and practices of the day, landowners were required to mitigate an obstruction to fish passage at their own expense or compensate their upstream abutters. At independence, the states became the sovereign and assumed responsibility to hold fisheries in the public domain, to protect them in the public interest, and adopted fishway laws. Later, in eighteenth and nineteen-century U.S., several important court decisions in coastal and inland states and the U.S. Supreme court not only reaffirmed fisheries as a publicly held interest, but required dam owners to protect the resource by providing fishways at their own expense. Increasing legal requirements to pass fish helped fuel the science of fishway engineering. Vast numbers of barriers to fish migration remain. In the U.S. alone, there are over 85,000 dams and 2 million culverts; the majority are an impediment to riverine and diadromous fish movement. Fish passage is now an important element at the interface of engineering design, ecohydrology, and higher education. Sustainable solutions are being advanced to support connectivity and quality of aquatic habitat, transportation systems, and renewable energy generation with hydropower. To enhance the ecological literacy of water resource engineers and foster collaborative research in the fields of fish passage, stream restoration, road ecology, and dam removal, a relevant graduate level program in Fish Passage Engineering and Ecohydrology has recently been created at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

This presentation identifies the biological purposes supported by effective fish passage. It raises awareness that interest in fish passage is not new, has long been an important public purpose, and the need for research and education in the field. Historical and current perspectives are presented that foster understanding of how the history of fish passage has influenced public policy, modern statutes, and creation of the graduate program.

http://scholarworks.umass.edu/fishpassage_conference/2012/June5/8