Hydropower and connectivity in inland rivers
About the project
The implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires preservation or improvements of the ecological status in large rivers developed for hydro electrical purposes. RIVERCONN is designed to address key R&D challenges required to achieve Good Ecological Potential (GEP) or Status (GES) according to WFD in regulated rivers. This is obtained by investigating evolutionary and resilience consequences following reduced or lost connectivity caused by hydropower installations. The primary objective is to provide new and fundamental knowledge to
disentangle criteria to assess GEP and GES by investigating ecological and evolutionary consequences following connectivity change experienced by grayling and brown trout in large regulated rivers. Secondary objectives are to 1) establish basic knowledge on the effects of fragmentation inflicted by hydropower dams on ecosystem functionality on grayling and trout,
2) define life history variations, species-specific responses and genetic signatures for the same species in natural and fragmented sections of the rivers, 3) evaluate the impact from genetic and evolutionary changes during a century-long stocking program on the resilience capacity of a
trout population, 4) assess dam passage efficiency for both species in two fishways and 5) to operationalize and expand the GEP/GES-concept in the context of balancing society’s costs and benefits regarding preservation of connectivity for grayling and trout and maintenance of sufficient hydropower production. It is anticipated that the project findings will meet major demands from management authorities in the process of defining GEP and GES in heavily as well as less modified river basins. Furthermore the knowledge will be useful in the process of revisions of discontinued hydropower licenses and evaluating plans for new hydropower installations and rearmament of existing installations.
Project Coordinator: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, NINA.
This project in funded by The Research Council of Norway.
01.01.2013 - 31.12.2015