Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014OH327B

Linked geomorphic and ecological responses to river restoration: Influence of dam removal on river channel structure and fish assemblages

Institute: Ohio
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-04-01 End Date: 2015-06-30
Total Federal Funds: $24,871 Total Non-Federal Funds: $51,268

Principal Investigators: Kristin Jaeger, Mazeika Sullivan

Abstract: It is widely acknowledged that dams can exert substantial negative impact on river processes. As of 1999, 75,000 dams existed in the continental United States. Ohio alone contains 4,796 dams, the vast majority of which are small or lowhead dams (< 4 m in height). Dam removal is an increasingly popular restoration method to reestablish connectivity of upstream and downstream streamflow, sediment regimes, and movement of organisms; however empirical data in terms of river and ecosystem response following dam removal is surprisingly limited. The recent (2012) removal of the 77 year-old “5th Avenue” lowhead dam on the Olentangy River in Columbus, OH presents an opportunity to investigate linked ecological-geomorphic consequences of dam removal as they relate to fish assemblage structure, an important component to aquatic ecosystem with significant social and economic roles in Ohio. This project will comparisons between pre-dam removal conditions and repeat (~ 3 month intervals), post-dam removal surveys of river bed morphology, streamflow velocity characteristics, and fish community assemblages, will provide necessary information on river and ecosystem response to dam removal, particularly with regard to fish populations, which serve as important recreational fishing species in Ohio.