Watershed Restoration: Principles and Practices

Chapter 12: Using Hydroelectric Relicensing in Watershed Restoration: Deerfield River Watershed of Vermont and Massachusetts

K. D. Kimball

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569049.ch12

Hydropower dams can adversely affect rivers in many ways, including fragmenting free-flowing freshwater ecosystems, impeding the flow of nutrients and sediments, blocking fish migration, destroying streamside habitat, slowing and overheating the river, and compromising flows downstream. Reservoir construction can also catalyze extensive shoreline development within the watershed.

At the turn of this century, electricity became an important source of power, and hydropower became a primary source of electricity. In the northeastern United States, existing hydromechanical-power dam sites were altered and many new dam sites were created to harness the region’s water for hydroelectric power. Because of the uneven rate of runoff during the course of the year, large headwater storage reservoirs were also built to capture major runoff events and to provide more consistent year-round flows.