State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2009OR116B
Title: Dams and Development: Ecological, Socioeconomic, and Policy Dimensions
Project Type: Other
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2010
Congressional District: 5th
Focus Categories: Models, Ecology, Economics
Keywords: Integrative Dam Assessment Model, Interdisciplinary, Development, Dams, Dam
Principal Investigators: Tilt, Bryan; Tullos, Desiree D. (Oregon State University)
Federal Funds: $ 4,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 22,436
Abstract: Funding from the Institute for Water and Watersheds will support an international workshop entitled, "Dams and Development: Ecological, Socioeconomic and Policy Dimensions," to be held at Oregon State University in April, 2009. The objectives of this workshop are to (a) provide a forum for scholars to communicate their knowledge and expertise on the impacts of dams on ecology, society and culture in the context of contemporary development policy, (b) solicit critical review of a proposed tool for the interdisciplinary analysis of dams, and (c) develop research collaborations and publications on the topics of sustainable hydrodevelopment. The workshop builds on three years of multi-institutional collaboration by an interdisciplinary team of scientists, and an ongoing research grant from the National Science Foundation. This workshop will directly inform the improvement of the Integrative Dam Assessment Model, a multidisciplinary assessment tool to analyze the costs and benefits from dam construction and removal.

There is a critical need for scientists to reach across disciplinary boundaries to study the effects of dams from a holistic perspective in order to help create environmentally sustainable policies regarding dam construction and management. Dams represent an important development strategy and source for energy, but also present the potential to adversely impact areas of critical biological and cultural diversity. Simultaneously, dam removal is increasingly implemented as a river restoration technique, one that is characterized by uncertainty about its consequences, particularly the unknowns related to the extent, magnitude, and timing of physical and ecological outcomes. Given the importance of dams and dam removal to the integrity of rivers, it is our goal to make Oregon State University a center of excellence in studying dams to promote a sustainable future. We thus propose a two-day research workshop that will foster communication between scholars, practitioners, and the public; promote collaboration between different academic disciplines in the holistic study of dams; and encourage the development of practical strategies for making dam development and removal more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF

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