Date of Graduation

Spring 5-22-2015

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)

College/School

College of Arts and Sciences

Department/Program

Environmental Management

First Advisor

Kathleen Jennings, Ph.D.

Abstract

Riparian ecosystems rely on longitudinal connectivity of their streams and tributaries to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Longitudinal connectivity is especially important for salmonid populations, which and rely on longitudinal connectivity to reach spawning habitat. Dams prevent longitudinal connectivity while providing cities with potable water, hydroelectricity, and irrigation. With increasing knowledge of how dams negatively affect the riparian ecosystem and various polices, dam removals are increasing in popularly. However, a major concern with dam removal projects is the release of large loads of impounded sediment. Sediment is known to negatively impact salmonids life cycle through increasing turbidity and causing fine sediment infiltration. A series of river erosion dam removal case studies was examined to identify if salmonid populations are impacted by river erosion dam removal. Through the comparison of peak flow, percent impounded sediment eroded, sediment mitigation methods, sediment composition, total peak suspended solids, downstream channel deposition, sediment transfer downstream. The Condit Dam had the highest potential to effect salmonid populations by releasing fine sediment, increasing turbidity, and having a high amount of downstream deposition. It remains to be clear how salmonid populations are affected by river erosion dam removals, since there are few studies examining the effects of sediments on salmonid populations after river erosion dam removal. Further research must be conducted to identify how salmonid populations are affected after river erosion dam removal.

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