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2. Environmental impacts of impoundment schemes

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In regulated rivers, high and low flows are conditions under which in-stream habitats are under the most stress

Aim: to determine the environmental impacts of HEP impoundment schemes

In regulated rivers, instream habitats are under the most stress during high and low flows. Our research aims to better understand the impacts of extreme flows on the most sensitive indicator species commonly affected by impoundment schemes. The aim is to determine ecologically suitable flow regimes, in support of ongoing site management and the requirements of European Directives (Habitats Directive and Water Framework Directive).

Our study site is regulated by a long-established HEP scheme. We have been gathering baseline information on hydromorphology and ecology since 2008 and are currently undertaking a detailed study of the effects of extreme flows on the system. A range of physicochemical, hydromorphological and ecological measurements are being made in order to:

  • Characterise potential impacts on indicator species (FPMs and salmonids).
  • Identify areas of habitat vulnerable to mobilisation under high flows (using elevation survey and substrate characterisation).
  • Determine areas most during low flows (by measuring sedimentary dissolved oxygen and redox conditions).
  • Define ecologically sustainable flow regimes.

To find out more about this work contact Susan Cooksley.


Areas of Interest

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.