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Impact of dams on fisheries

Research Achievements

Impact of dams on fisheries

An interdisciplinary team of GLOBES faculty and students from the Depts of Biology and Economics is studying the impact of hydroelectric dams on small-scale fisheries located on the Kafue Flats, a large floodplain in Zambia. Annual flooding is hypothesized to drive much of the ecological dynamics of the region, including small-scale fishery output on the Kafue River. Due to the country's open-access laws, these fisheries have long served as an "employer of last resort" for Zambia's poorest citizens. Dam operation has severely reduced seasonal flooding, however, it has added a second, smaller flood ahead of the wet season, which further disrupts ecological timing. The study measures the extent to which manipulation of the natural flood regime has reduced fishery output and increased hydroelectric output. GLOBES IGERT trainee Adam Bee presents a summary of the research results at the 2011 IGERT Poster Competition and a paper co-authored with trainee Andy Deines is forthcoming.