Presenter Information

Nick Nelson, Inter-Fluve, Inc.

Location

UMass Amherst

Event Website

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

Start Date

6-6-2012 11:10 AM

End Date

6-6-2012 11:30 AM

Description

Removing dams, building fish ladders and bypass channels, and restoring river habitat can be expensive. In this period of funding shortfalls, cutbacks, and layoffs, resource managers are tasked with improving passage and habitat with minimal resources. They must decide which projects can provide the most benefit per dollar spent. With over 3000 dams in MA and hundreds of thousands nationwide, these impediments to water and sediment flow and fish and aquatic organism passage are often targeted as providing the greatest benefit to the resources. Aside from the relatively simple engineering, removing dams is a multi-faceted challenge including permitting, managing historical/archaeological resources, protecting endangered and threatened species, removing the structure itself, water management, managing residents' expectations and concerns, and managing the impounded sediment that may be contaminated. With all of these important aspects to dam removal, the attention given to restoring post-removal aquatic habitat may be overlooked or minimized. Dam removal can remove the impediment to passage but does not guarantee quality aquatic or riparian habitat in the former impoundment. What is the importance of restoring the channel and aquatic and riparian habitat? Is dam removal a success if a formerly wide wetland or swamp becomes a single-thread channel with high banks surrounded by upland because of all the impounded sediment? This presentation discusses the challenges of dam removal and restoration with limited budgets, the importance of coordinating dam removal and channel/habitat restoration, and suggests opportunities when successful dam removal can be accomplished with a minimum of upstream restoration.

Comments

Nick Nelson is a fluvial geomorphologist and manages Inter-Fluve's New England office in MA. He has over six years of combined experience in fluvial geomorphology and hydrology. Primarily interested in human impacts on rivers, Nick has focused his academic and professional careers on the effects of dams on rivers and floodplains and the geomorphic-based design of dam removal and river restoration. His work with Inter-Fluve has focused on dam removal and channel restoration/rehabilitation planning and design, geomorphic and habitat assessments, and GIS and hydraulic analyses. Nick is currently involved with over 10 dam removal and river restoration projects in MA alone, working on all phases of these projects from project manager to construction oversight and topographic surveying to restoration design. He has completed geomorphic and habitat assessments on over 200 miles of river in the past five years.

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Jun 6th, 11:10 AM Jun 6th, 11:30 AM

Session C4 - Is dam removal enough? Finding the balance between economics and channel/habitat restoration.

UMass Amherst

Removing dams, building fish ladders and bypass channels, and restoring river habitat can be expensive. In this period of funding shortfalls, cutbacks, and layoffs, resource managers are tasked with improving passage and habitat with minimal resources. They must decide which projects can provide the most benefit per dollar spent. With over 3000 dams in MA and hundreds of thousands nationwide, these impediments to water and sediment flow and fish and aquatic organism passage are often targeted as providing the greatest benefit to the resources. Aside from the relatively simple engineering, removing dams is a multi-faceted challenge including permitting, managing historical/archaeological resources, protecting endangered and threatened species, removing the structure itself, water management, managing residents' expectations and concerns, and managing the impounded sediment that may be contaminated. With all of these important aspects to dam removal, the attention given to restoring post-removal aquatic habitat may be overlooked or minimized. Dam removal can remove the impediment to passage but does not guarantee quality aquatic or riparian habitat in the former impoundment. What is the importance of restoring the channel and aquatic and riparian habitat? Is dam removal a success if a formerly wide wetland or swamp becomes a single-thread channel with high banks surrounded by upland because of all the impounded sediment? This presentation discusses the challenges of dam removal and restoration with limited budgets, the importance of coordinating dam removal and channel/habitat restoration, and suggests opportunities when successful dam removal can be accomplished with a minimum of upstream restoration.

http://scholarworks.umass.edu/fishpassage_conference/2012/June6/12