Hydrology Essay Research Paper IntroductionThe earliest remains

June 10, 2018 Biology

Hydrology Essay, Research Paper


We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

The earliest remains of dikes that archeologists have unearthed day of the month back to around 5000 A.D.They were constructed as portion of a domestic H2O supply system for the ancient town of Jawa in Jordan. Over the following few millenary, the edifice of dikes for H2O keeping spread throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Southern Asia, China, and Central America. Subsequently, as engineerings increased and industrialisation took clasp in Europe, dike mechanisms advanced to integrate watermills. With the coming of the H2O turbine in 1832 and developments in electrical technology, the first hydropower works began running in Wisconsin in 1882 ( IRN n. pag. ) . Over the following few decennaries, while structural technology techniques improved, dikes multiplied in size, strength, and Numberss worldwide.

Today, although the building of new dikes is holding ( albeit with less energy in developing states ) ( de Villiers 146 ; Pielou 206 ) , they are still being built around the Earth for a battalion of societal and economical grounds: inundation control, hydroelectric power production, river pilotage, irrigation, human ingestion, industrial usage, exigency H2O reserve, touristry, and flat-water diversion ( e.g. , NPDP n. pag. ; Trout Unlimited 11 ) . For all the benefits that dams provide, nevertheless, there are inauspicious effects and concerns that arise from pull stringsing the environment in such an unnatural mode.

Impacts of Dams on the Hydrologic Regime

Dams are finally created as a H2O reservoir. This impoundment of H2O impedes the circulation of a river and later changes the hydrology and ecology of the river system and its immediate environments.

Behind a dike, the rise in H2O degree submerges the landscape ; frequently displacing people and ingurgitating culturally valuable ruins. Furthermore, biodiversity of the part is constrained by the devastation of flora and loss or extinction of wildlife ( Power et al. 887-895 ) . In kernel, both the aquatic and land-based ecosystems are damaged by the coming of a dike ( Pielou 209 ) .

Upstream of the roadblock, the one time streamlined H2O that housed the riverine home ground becomes still, O depleted, deepens into darkness, temperature stratified, and susceptible to heighten vaporization which adjusts the full hydrologic rhythm ( e.g. , Pielou 207, 210 ; Ocean Planet N. pag. ; Leopold 157 ) . Furthermore, drowned flora in the dead H2O is capable to decomposing and may thereby foul the ambiance and reservoir with methane and C dioxide ( Leopold 158 ; Pielou 208 ) .

Another alteration in the H2O chemical science that alters many river-based systems is the inclusion of heavy metals ( and minerals ) such as methyl quicksilver due to reactions between the reservoir bed and the standing H2O ( Pielou 114, 207 ) . If undetected, these toxins may bioaccumulate by traveling through the trophic degrees of the nutrient web, finally making worlds.

Aside from the alterations in the chemical constituencies of the H2O, a dike will besides physically augment the river by modifying the form of the channel. This is chiefly due to the keeping of deposits behind the dike wall. Water that was one time entrained with silts has the increased erosive power to degrade the riversides downstream while upstream, the deposition procedure is shoaling and contracting the river reaches ( e.g. , Moffat 1116 ; Pielou 210 ) . These changes in channel form can besides switch the lift of the groundwater tabular array and can magnify the badness of the inundations that the dike may hold been built to forestall ( de Villiers 155-56 ; PCFFA n. pag. ) .

The silting procedure, though, can hold other effects on riverine environments. With the want of deposits, valuable foods are withheld from the flood plains and the delta of the river. Ultimately, agricultural land suffers from birthrate loss and coastlines recede ( e.g. , DRIIA n. pag. ; Pielou 212 ) . In add-on to the above noted impairment of wetland environments, major fish spawning and nursing evidences are harmed by the deficiency of continual silt and crushed rock refilling ( e.g. , Chambers n. pag. ) .

Fish species, however, are non merely affected by the reduced deposition that occurs below a dike. These, and other aquatic based biology adapted to the natural pulsings of seasonal implosion therapy, can be strained by the ordinance of watercourse flow afforded by a dike ( Pielou 145 ; Leopold 156 ) . Furthermore, chairing the flow may really retard the full government of the river by detaining spring break-up ( Pielou 212 ) .

Why Remove a Dam?

Apart from the hasty effects on the hydrologic rhythm and river-based ecosystems therefore far celebrated, there are an extended figure of farther grounds to take a dike. Briefly, a few of these are ( Ocean Planet N. pag. ; Pielou 208-09 ; Trout Unlimited 17 ; Leopold 156 ) :

x the Restoration of anadromous fish migration and subsequent reliant piscaries

ten ameliorate conditions associated with damming which promote epidemics such as schistosomiasis and milaria

ten damming has accelerated the rate of Earth s rotary motion, displaced the axis of the Earth, changed the form of Earth s magnetic field, increased the happening of seismal events, and influenced sea degree alterations

ten dike remotion has been shown to better diversion, touristry, and aesthetics to the associated riverbank communities

ten amend the river and groundwater quality

Yet for all of the grounds that a dike may be removed, it is frequently economic and, in portion, safety intents that prompts the decommissioning of a dike. Whether the reservoir has filled with silt, wear-and-tear has taken its toll, or the dike has become disused, the benefit of remotion may outweigh the cost of keeping dam operation ( PCFFA n. pag. ) .

Consequences Associated with Dam Removal: A Case Study of the Elwha River

Early on in the twentieth century, two hydroelectric dikes were built on the Elwha River within the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. The Elwha Dam, the first to be constructed ( 1910 ) , created the Lake Aldwell reservoir 4.9 stat mis from the oral cavity of the Elwha river [ fig. 1 ] . Respectively, 8.5 stat mis upriver, Lake Mills is

contained by the Glines Canyon Dam ( 1926 ) . Despite their continued success as a feasible resource for Bonneville Power Administration ( Meyer n. pag. ) , the being and use of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams causes damaging besetment for the ecosystem and native anadromous fish populations of the Elwha River basin ( U.S. Dept. of the Interior, 1995, n. pag. ) . Therefore, per damages judicial admissions, the 1992 Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act ( the Elwha Act ) authorized the Secretary of the Interior to allow the two dikes ( e.g. , Winter N. pag. ) . Measures to take the dikes will be undertaken as sanctioned from the Environmental Impact Assessment ( EIS ) that followed in 1995.

Fig. 1. Map of the Elwha River, Clallam County, Olympic Peninsula, Washington.

( Olympic National Park N. pag. )

In an attempt to take the dikes in a safe, environmentally sound and cost effectual mode ( U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Apr. 1996, n. pag. ) , assorted procedural options are being considered prior to the execution of the scheduled 2004 deconstruction. Under the River Erosion option, which is the proposed action, the Elwha and Glines Canyon dikes would be incrementally removed in sequence over a two twelvemonth period with the controlled ordinance of natural sediment eroding ( e.g. , U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Aug. 1996, n. pag. ) . A dredge and slurry system, a farther method of deposit disposal, is an action option that has besides been analyzed by the Environmental Impact Statement ( EIS ) Team ( e.g. , U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Apr. 1996, n. pag. ) .

Between the startup of the Elwha River dikes and 1994, it is estimated that 17.7 million three-dimensional paces of deposits has become trapped in the Lake Aldwell and Lake Mills reservoirs ( U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Aug. 1996, n. pag. ) . Of that entire deposition, some 4.8 to 5.6 million three-dimensional paces of powdered alluvial sediment ( silts and clays less than 0.075 m in diameter ) and 1.2 to 2.6 million three-dimensional paces of coarse grained deposits ( littorals, crushed rocks, and setts greater than 0.075 millimeter in diameter ) will be reintroduced into the Elwha River system through the proposed action ( U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Apr. 1996, n. pag. ; U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Aug. 1996, n. pag. ) . In comparing, about 6.9 million three-dimensional paces of the powdered deposits stand to be straight pumped via a grapevine into the Strait of Juan de Fuca if the dredge and Slurry alternative is undertaken ( U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Aug. 1996, n. pag. ) . Incremental remotion of the dikes will be the primary ordinance on the rate of deposit backdown and will partly consequence the ensuing term of biological and physical impacts felt on downstream ranges of the Elwha River ( U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Aug. 1996, n. pag. ) .

An addition of alluvium conveyance will regenerate the natural deposit distribution and hydrological flow forms to their pre-dam character while new channels and wetland home grounds will be created in the freshly drained countries ( Foster Wheeler 17 ) . Aggradation of watercourse burden stuffs will be most outstanding in the low-lying and less circulating shoals, including a revival of the Ediz Hook [ fig. 1 ] and estuarine beaches ( U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Aug. 1996, n. pag. ) . In response to these raised river beds, H2O lifts are expected to lift, thereby endangering the resources that fall within the 100-year flood plain ( U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Apr. 1996, n. pag. ) .

Surface H2O quality is likely to be hampered for two to six old ages after dam abstraction as turbidness, suspended deposits and dissolved solids flow through the system. Furthermore, H2O temperatures, dissolved O concentrations, and pH degrees will be affected for the meantime of dike remotion ( U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Apr. 1996, n. pag. ) . Turbidity, in bend, will be the main cause of groundwater taint by infiltration into implicit in foundations or good and infected systems ( removal ( U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Apr. 1996, n. pag. ) .

The execution of either the Proposed Action or Dredge and Slurry options will besides impact the native anadromous ( indigenious? ) and resident populations on the Elwha River. The high deposit governments, particularly those of the River Erosion Alternative ( the proposed action ) , will restrain the migrating fish over the deconstruction procedure. However in the long term, tallies will better with the staged delayed of dam devastation, piscaries direction ( including the supplementation fish stocks through hatchery intercession ) , unrestricted transition up the full stretch of the Elwha River, and the formation of quality engendering evidences and rise uping home grounds from the released deposits ( U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Aug. 1996, n. pag. ) . ( steph, this last paragraph seems akward ) Furthermore, apart from the obvious economic net incomes of salmon tally Restoration, the heightened decomposition of dead fish after engendering will significantly enrich foods cycling through the riparian country ( Munn et al. N. pag. ) .

Exaggerated Numberss of anadromous fish will, excessively, finally increase the biotic diverseness down the length of the Elwha Basin. In the future wildlife will be drawn to the decaying remains of dead fish and their immature even though the immediate perturbations during the removal period may guard off certain animate beings ( U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Apr. 1996, n. pag. ) . Vegetation and Marine beings will profit from the circulation of organic remains ; those chiefly adapted to sandy substrates will boom after the initial strain of post-dam sediment conditions ( Winter, 2000, n. pag. ; U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Aug. 1996, n. pag. ) .

Prospective impermanent effects to the environment will besides include air, traffic, and noise pollution in concurrence with dam devastation and debris conveyance ( U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Apr. 1996, n. pag. ) .


This Elwha River instance survey exemplifies the foremost likely impacts on the hydrologic rhythm and the environmental ecosystems which it encompasses. Successful remotion of a dike can, in the terminal, rehabilitate a part to its natural province. Recovery, nevertheless, is non without inauspicious effects to the bing governments and full Restoration may take many old ages.


I'm Amanda

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out