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Hydropower Dams Threaten Freshwater Chilean Fish Species: What Dams and What Species?

Author(s): Anita Laborde; Evelyn Habit; Oscar Link

Linked Author(s): Anita Laborde, Oscar Link

Keywords: No Keywords

Abstract: Hydropower is experiencing a development boom worldwide. However, at the same time, challenge sustainability, mainly due to synergistic effects of several projects in the species distribution area. What and how hydroelectric projects will affect species, depends on a number of attributes. We analysed Chilean freshwater species distributed over 10major basins of Central Chile threaten by 1124 plants (12,338 GW) planned in a hotspot of biodiversity. The exposure of the species to the planned hydropower projects was analyzed at the scale of species and as an assemblage. The hazardousness was evaluated by type, according to characteristics of planned hydropower plant: size, dam height and turbine type. Finally, considering species and assemblage exposition the most threaten genera were defined. Project analysed compile 45% of the exploitable potential, with a total of 198 (75.5%) project with capacities< 20MW, and 280 (88.1%) with low head dams (< 20 m). 22.6% of the species are not exposed to planned plants, 54.8% are exposed to a small number of plants (< 5), and 22.6% are frequently exposed to plants (> 60). The latter species pertain to genera Trichomycterus, Percilia, and Diplomystes, defining a critical fish assemblage that facilitates the management of an important part of the cases (40.4%) through mitigation technologies.


Year: 2018

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