Session C3: An Innovative Solution for the Poutes Dam to Reconcile Respect for Biodiversity and Need for Renewable Energy

Abstract: Located on the River Allier (France), the largest upstream tributary of the Loire River which is one of the longest river systems in Europe in which Atlantic salmon (S. salar) spawning migration occurs, the dam of Poutès was the scene of conflicts for decades. Outcome of a consensus between EDF, the French state, local elected officials and conservationists, an innovative project is running: the "new Poutès" reconciling respect for biodiversity and need for renewable energy. The new dam will be 5m high, against 18 currently, with a water reservoir of 300 m long against 3.5 km, promoting the return of the river in its natural bed. The current fish lift will be replaced by a vertical slot fishpass associated with major auxiliary flow and a surface bypass will allow smolt downstream migration. The design of the new dam and its fish migration devices requests the opinion of recognized experts and led to the construction of a large physical model (1:13) in the research laboratory of EDF (EDF Lab Chatou). This model represents the whole dam with an important upstream and downstream coverage. It aims to maximize the attractiveness and the effectiveness of the fishway and the surface bypass. Innovative hydraulic modeling (LSPIV) is a valuable aid in the design. Concomitantly with the design of the new dam, a major scientific monitoring program was initiated to measure the environmental gain of this project on the salmon population, on sediment transport and fish habitat and on the holobiotic fish population. This monitoring program includes increasing knowledge about the initial ecological state, monitoring during construction and post-construction monitoring to evaluate the ecological gain. Innovative experiments (drone, acoustic...) are also conducted.
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