How Big of an Effect Do Small Dams Have? Using Geomorphological Footprints to Quantify Spatial Impact of Low-Head Dams and Identify Patterns of Across-Dam Variation

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dc.contributor.author Fencl, J. S.
dc.contributor.author Mather, Martha E.
dc.contributor.author Costigan, K. H.
dc.contributor.author Daniels, M. D.
dc.date.accessioned 2016-04-04T22:13:52Z
dc.date.available 2016-04-04T22:13:52Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2097/32249
dc.description Citation: Fencl, J. S., Mather, M. E., Costigan, K. H., & Daniels, M. D. (2015). How Big of an Effect Do Small Dams Have? Using Geomorphological Footprints to Quantify Spatial Impact of Low-Head Dams and Identify Patterns of Across-Dam Variation. Plos One, 10(11), 22. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141210
dc.description Longitudinal connectivity is a fundamental characteristic of rivers that can be disrupted by natural and anthropogenic processes. Dams are significant disruptions to streams. Over 2,000,000 low-head dams (<7.6 m high) fragment United States rivers. Despite potential adverse impacts of these ubiquitous disturbances, the spatial impacts of low-head dams on geomorphology and ecology are largely untested. Progress for research and conservation is impaired by not knowing the magnitude of low-head dam impacts. Based on the geomorphic literature, we refined a methodology that allowed us to quantify the spatial extent of low-head dam impacts (herein dam footprint), assessed variation in dam footprints across low-head dams within a river network, and identified select aspects of the context of this variation. Wetted width, depth, and substrate size distributions upstream and downstream of six low-head dams within the Upper Neosho River, Kansas, United States of America were measured. Total dam footprints averaged 7.9 km (3.0-15.3 km) or 287 wetted widths (136437 wetted widths). Estimates included both upstream (mean: 6.7 km or 243 wetted widths) and downstream footprints (mean: 1.2 km or 44 wetted widths). Altogether the six low-head dams impacted 47.3 km (about 17%) of the mainstem in the river network. Despite differences in age, size, location, and primary function, the sizes of geomorphic footprints of individual low-head dams in the Upper Neosho river network were relatively similar. The number of upstream dams and distance to upstream dams, but not dam height, affected the spatial extent of dam footprints. In summary, ubiquitous low-head dams individually and cumulatively altered lotic ecosystems. Both characteristics of individual dams and the context of neighboring dams affected low-head dam impacts within the river network. For these reasons, low-head dams require a different, more integrative, approach for research and management than the individualistic approach that has been applied to larger dams.
dc.relation.uri https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0141210
dc.rights Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
dc.subject Of-River Dams
dc.subject Community Structure
dc.subject Fish Assemblages
dc.subject United-States
dc.subject Neosho River
dc.subject Removal
dc.title How Big of an Effect Do Small Dams Have? Using Geomorphological Footprints to Quantify Spatial Impact of Low-Head Dams and Identify Patterns of Across-Dam Variation
dc.type Article
dc.date.published 2015
dc.citation.doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0141210
dc.citation.issn 1932-6203
dc.citation.issue 11
dc.citation.jtitle PLoS One
dc.citation.spage 22
dc.citation.volume 10
dc.contributor.authoreid mmather


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