31 Jan 2014

2014 FMCS Dam Removal Workshop

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The Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society’s biennial workshop will be held on April 24 and 25, 2014 in Portland, Maine. This year the workshop will focus on “Mussel Studies and Regulatory Processes Associated with Dam Removal Projects”. Thousands of low head dams no longer serve their intended purpose and as such there has been increasing interest and success in the removal of dams and other barriers that impede river flows, fish passage, and connectivity within stream reaches. In some cases, even active hydropower dams are being removed as the cost of mitigation, such as effective fish passage, outweigh the economic benefits of power production. Dams are often assumed to negatively affect mussel populations, so the expectation is that dam removal will improve aquatic habitat and freshwater mollusk communities in the affected reaches. In some cases where reservoirs are small or riverine, freshwater mussels may be abundant and the removal of dams for stream restoration may affect existing resident mussel communities.

We also are requesting poster abstracts associated with this year’s workshop theme and others associated with the following topics: Habitat and Conservation, Range-wide Status and Distribution, Life History and Ecology, Evolution and Phylogenetics, Outreach and Education, Propagation and Reproduction, Recovery, Contaminants and Water Quality or any other mollusk related work.

The entire first day of this workshop (Thursday, April 24th) will be devoted to invited oral presentations of field studies conducted pre- and post- dam removal from projects in various regions of the country. Speakers will share their experience and lessons learned, in particular where freshwater mussel studies were conducted. Such studies may not be limited to mussel surveys, but other environmental variables that may affect aquatic habitat and thus the restoration capacity for mollusks. Speakers will provide recommendations for others currently dealing with active or potential dam removals or refurbishing. Friday morning (April 25th) presentations will focus on the state and federal regulatory processes involved in dam removals to facilitate planning. Some states have developed a regulatory permitting process specific to dam removals, or have guidelines on both pre- and post- dam removal environmental studies, including mussel studies. Panel discussions will follow each session and will encourage audience participation. A poster session relevant to these topics will be held during an evening reception on the 24th.

Two optional events are offered on Friday afternoon: a site visit to the Penobscot River where two mainstem hydropower dams were recently removed, and a hands-on northeastern mussel species identification workshop led by Dr. Art Bogan.

The workshop will be held at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland, Maine. Located 3 miles west of the Portland International Airport, the Holiday Inn by the Bay provides free shuttle service to/from airport, train and bus station for guests and free parking for guests, and free wireless. The Holiday Inn is located in downtown Portland, within walking distance of shops, restaurants, pubs, the Arts District, and the working waterfront. Portland is a safe, culturally fascinating city, and is highly renowned for its restaurants and micro-breweries. A block of rooms has been reserved at a special rate of $112.00 so be sure to specify the FMCS workshop. You can reserve online or call the hotel at: 1-207-775-2311.

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