Special Issue "Hydropower Impacts on Aquatic Biota"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ana Margarida Ferreira Teixeira da Silva
Website
Guest Editor
The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), P.O. Box 5685 Torgard, 7485 Trondheim, Norway
Interests: upstream and downstream fish migration; ecohydraulics; fish passage engineering; ecology and fish conservation and restoration; fish physiology; fish evolution and behavior; biomechanics of fish; environmental hydrodynamics; renewable energy
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Torbjørn Forseth
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Aquatic Biodiversity, The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), 7034 Trondheim, Norway
Interests: Life history and growth; thermal adaptation; environmental effects of hydropower; fish passage solutions; climate change; conservation limits; fisheries management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Habitat fragmentation of watercourses, river impoundment, and construction of large reservoirs are major threats to worldwide aquatic biodiversity (Winemiller et al., 2016, Silva et al., 2018). On one hand, hydropower is a renewable source of energy and an important part of the worldwide effort to reduce emissions of climate gasses in face of climate change and for the economic growth of developing countries. On the other hand, as a result of the burgeoned development of hydropower, the majority of rivers in the world have been or are being dammed, compromising the ecological welfare of freshwater ecosystems (Zarfle et al. 2014). With the rise of worldwide environmental awareness through the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992), environmental concerns have had an increasingly important influence on the development and operation of hydroelectric generation policies, management, and operations.

Solutions to this dilemma depend heavily on basic and applied research on the impacts of hydropower development on freshwater communities and ecosystems, but also on targeted research on developing measures to reduce the negative impacts. This Special Issue embodies the varied research in aquatic biology and ecology, from individual to population levels, eco-hydraulics, and engineering pertinent to aquatic biota and ecological restoration and sustainability.

We invite research studies from the fields of biology, ecology, hydrology, eco-hydraulics, and engineering based on the assessment of hydropower impacts on freshwater biota, as well as proposing innovative systems and technical solutions for impact mitigation and restoration of aquatic ecosystems. Interdisciplinary research studies linking physical and ecological/biological processes are particularly welcomed.

We welcome contributions on:

  • Impact case studies from both rivers and reservoirs on all taxonomic levels, in particular studies showing general patterns of impact (including meta-analyses).
  • Links between hydraulics, hydrology, and freshwater animal performance and population dynamics
  • Fundamental and applied research on freshwater fish behaviour, biomechanics, bioenergetic, population dynamics, and migration
  • Methods for reestablishment of lateral and longitudinal connectivity for fish and other animals (e.g., fish passages, screens, fish-friendly turbines, removal of dams)
  • Mitigation of hydropower footprint in rivers and reservoirs for aquatic fauna at all taxonomic levels, including river restoration measures.
  • Design criteria and measures for minimizing environmental impacts and ensuring the sustainability of new hydropower developments.

References:

A.T. Silva, M.C. Lucas, T. Castro-Santos, C. Katopodis, L.J. Baumgartner, J.D. Thiem, K. Aarestrup, P.S. Pompeu, G.C. O’Brien, D.C. Braun, N.J. Burnett, D.Z. Zhu, H.-P. Fjeldstad, T. Forseth, N. Rajaratnam, J.G. Williams, S.J. Cooke. The future of fish passage science, engineering, and practice. Fish and Fisheries. 2018, 19, 340– 362.

Convention on Biological Diversity, 5 june, 1992. 1760 UNTS 79, Can. TS No 24, 31, ILM818 (CBD)

Winemiller, K.O., P.B. McIntyre, L. Castello, E. Fluet-Chouinard, T. Giarrizzo, S. Nam, I.G. Baird, Zarfle, C., Lumsdon, A.E., Berlekamp, J., Tydecks, L., and Tockner, K. A global boom in hydropower dam construction. Aquatic Science. 2014, 77, 161-170.

Dr. Ana T. Silva
Dr. Torbjørn Forseth
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Freshwater ecosystems
  • Hydropower
  • Ecohydraulics
  • Animal movement and migrations
  • Animal conservation
  • Mitigation measures
  • River restoration
  • Hydropower sustainability

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Can Energy Depletion of Wild Atlantic Salmon Kelts Negotiating Hydropower Facilities Lead to Reduced Survival?
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7341; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187341 - 07 Sep 2020
Abstract
Repeat spawners constitute an important component of Atlantic salmon populations, but survival of post-spawning individuals (kelts) are often compromised by anthropogenic structures such as hydropower plants (HPPs). Potential effects of HPPs include migration delays and associated increased energy depletion, which potentially results in [...] Read more.
Repeat spawners constitute an important component of Atlantic salmon populations, but survival of post-spawning individuals (kelts) are often compromised by anthropogenic structures such as hydropower plants (HPPs). Potential effects of HPPs include migration delays and associated increased energy depletion, which potentially results in increased overall mortality. We combined a detailed 3D hydraulic model with high-resolution 3D tracking of tagged kelts (length 73–104 cm) to obtain estimates of kelt movement through water. These estimates were then used in an energetics model to estimate hourly energy expenditure while negotiating the HPP area. Hourly kelt energy expenditure varied between 0.8 and 10.1 kJ × h−1 and was dependent on kelt length. Degree of additional energy depletion can amount to several percent of remaining energy content (our study indicates 4–5 percentage points) potentially leading to reduced post-spawning survival. In turn, this can nullify the iteroparous breeding strategy and jeopardize long-term stability and persistence of Atlantic salmon populations inhabiting HPP rivers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydropower Impacts on Aquatic Biota)
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Open AccessArticle
Validation of Francis–Kaplan Turbine Blade Strike Models for Adult and Juvenile Atlantic Salmon (Salmo Salar, L.) and Anadromous Brown Trout (Salmo Trutta, L.) Passing High Head Turbines
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6384; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166384 - 07 Aug 2020
Abstract
The negative effects of hydroelectric power (HEP) on salmonid populations has long been recognized and studied. Downstream passage through turbines may potentially constitute a significant source of mortality for both juvenile and adult fish in regulated rivers. Numerical models have been developed to [...] Read more.
The negative effects of hydroelectric power (HEP) on salmonid populations has long been recognized and studied. Downstream passage through turbines may potentially constitute a significant source of mortality for both juvenile and adult fish in regulated rivers. Numerical models have been developed to calculate turbine passage mortality based on the probability of collision with the turbine blades, but although widely used in management and conservation, their performance is rarely validated in terms of the accuracy and bias of the mortality estimates. In this study, we evaluated commonly used blade strike models for Kaplan and Francis turbines by comparing model predictions with observed passage mortalities for juvenile 13–27 cm and adult 52–94 cm Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar, L.) and anadromous brown trout (Salmo trutta, L.) acquired by acoustic telemetry. Predictions made for juveniles aligned closer with observed mortality for both Kaplan and Francis turbines (within 1–3% percentage points). However, the model severely underestimated the mortality of adult fish passing through Francis turbines, with up to 50% percentage points difference between predicted and observed mortalities. Furthermore, the model did not capture a clear negative correlation between mortality and discharge observed for salmon between 50–60 cm (grilse). We concluded that blade strike models are a useful tool for quantifying passage mortality for salmonid smolts passing large, high-head turbines, but that the same models should be used with care when trying to estimate the passage mortality of kelts in iteroparous populations. We also concluded that the major cause of passage mortality for juveniles is injury by collision with the turbine blade, but that other factors seem to contribute substantially to the passage mortality of kelts. Our study reports low mortality for smolts up to 27 cm passing through Kaplan and Francis turbines (0–12%), but high mortality for salmon over 50 cm passing though Francis turbines (56–81%). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydropower Impacts on Aquatic Biota)
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Open AccessArticle
Higher-Order Velocity Moments, Turbulence Scales and Energy Dissipation Rate around a Boulder in a Rock-Ramp Fish Passage
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5385; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135385 - 03 Jul 2020
Abstract
This experimental study investigated the higher-order velocity moments, turbulence time and length scales, and energy dissipation rates around an intermediately submerged boulder within a wake-interference flow regime in a rock-ramp fish passage. The results show a noticeable variation in the studied parameters in [...] Read more.
This experimental study investigated the higher-order velocity moments, turbulence time and length scales, and energy dissipation rates around an intermediately submerged boulder within a wake-interference flow regime in a rock-ramp fish passage. The results show a noticeable variation in the studied parameters in the wake of the boulder, as well as near the bed and boulder crest. The higher-order velocity moments show the presence of infrequent strong ejections downstream of the boulder, which may lead to higher sediment deposition and vertical mixing. The eddy length scales and the volumetric energy dissipation in this experimental model were discussed in relation to fish behavior for both the experimental model and a prototype. Relationships were proposed to roughly estimate integral length scales and energy dissipation rates around the boulder over the flow depth. The findings of this study may improve the design of rock-ramp fish passages considering the effects of turbulence on fish swimming performance and sediment transport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydropower Impacts on Aquatic Biota)
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Open AccessArticle
Pool-Type Fishway Design for a Potamodromous Cyprinid in the Iberian Peninsula: The Iberian Barbel—Synthesis and Future Directions
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3387; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083387 - 21 Apr 2020
Abstract
The Iberian barbel (Luciobarbus bocagei) is one of the most common cyprinids in the Iberian Peninsula, whose migratory routes are often hampered by anthropogenic barriers. Fishways might be an effective mitigation measure if they integrate designed operational characteristics that account for [...] Read more.
The Iberian barbel (Luciobarbus bocagei) is one of the most common cyprinids in the Iberian Peninsula, whose migratory routes are often hampered by anthropogenic barriers. Fishways might be an effective mitigation measure if they integrate designed operational characteristics that account for the biomechanical requirements of this species. Understanding the flow conditions inside the fishway, and how barbel responds to the hydrodynamics of the flow is imperative to improve free migratory routes with minimum energetic cost associated. Herein, we analyze and synthesize the main findings of research on pool-type fishways for upstream passage of the Iberian barbel and derive recommendations of design criteria for pool-type fishways for this species and others of similar biomechanics capacities. Ultimately, we identify research needs to improve upstream passage of this species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydropower Impacts on Aquatic Biota)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Fish Passage and Injury Risk at a Surface Bypass of a Small-Scale Hydropower Plant
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6037; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216037 - 30 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In contrast to the efforts made to develop functioning fishways for upstream migrants, the need for effective downstream migration facilities has long been underestimated. The challenge of developing well-performing bypasses for downstream migrants involves attracting the fish to the entrance and transporting them [...] Read more.
In contrast to the efforts made to develop functioning fishways for upstream migrants, the need for effective downstream migration facilities has long been underestimated. The challenge of developing well-performing bypasses for downstream migrants involves attracting the fish to the entrance and transporting them quickly and unharmed into the tailrace. In this study, the acceptance of different opening sizes of a surface bypass as well as the injuries which fish experience during the passage were examined. Overall bypass acceptance was low compared to the turbine passage. There was no significant difference in the number of downstream moving fish between the small and the large bypass openings. Across all fish species, no immediate mortality was detected. Severe injuries such as amputations or bruises were only rarely detected and at low intensity. Scale losses, tears and hemorrhages in the fins and dermal lesions at the body were the most common injuries, and significant species-specific differences were detected. To increase bypass efficiency, it would likely be useful to offer an alternative bottom bypass in addition to the existing surface bypass. The bypass injury potential could be further reduced by structural improvements at the bypass, such as covering protruding components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydropower Impacts on Aquatic Biota)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Do We Know Enough to Save European Riverine Fish?—A Systematic Review on Autecological Requirements During Critical Life Stages of 10 Rheophilic Species at Risk
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5011; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185011 - 13 Sep 2019
Abstract
Modeling of fish population developments in the context of hydropower impacts and restoration planning requires autecological information on critical life stages (especially on juvenile stages and reproduction). We compiled and examined the current data availability in peer-reviewed and grey literature on autecological requirements [...] Read more.
Modeling of fish population developments in the context of hydropower impacts and restoration planning requires autecological information on critical life stages (especially on juvenile stages and reproduction). We compiled and examined the current data availability in peer-reviewed and grey literature on autecological requirements of ten rheophilic fish species at risk, belonging to the salmonid, cyprinid, and cottid families. In total, 1725 data points from 223 sources were included. Economically important salmonids and the common nase were the most studied species. Grey and peer-reviewed data showed similar dispersion and variance and contributed nearly equally to the data pool of the specific species. An in-depth analysis on seven ecological parameters revealed no significant differences between both sources in terms of data availability and quality. We found substantial deficits in the data for about a quarter of the reviewed ecological parameters, in particular on individual densities in the habitats, egg development and information about juvenile stages despite the necessity of such data for more advanced population analyses. To secure fish populations in the long term, more data on basic autecological parameters is needed and grey literature might add valuable information, particularly if it relies on standardized methodologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydropower Impacts on Aquatic Biota)
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