Regulated waterways provide important services such as flood regulation, power generation with low greenhouse gas emissions, and energy storage. Nevertheless, the damming and regulation of rivers incurs ecological costs via the operation of reservoirs and alteration of downstream flows, combined with the often permanent loss of valley bottom habitat. Regulation affects both upstream (reservoir) and downstream environments, and does so at a range of scales. An increase in smaller hydro-electric (i.e. run-of-river) projects has led to a spike in research around their unique impacts, and many of these projects are concluding their 5-10 year monitoring programs. Several multi-year studies on large reservoir systems (e.g., Arrow Lakes and Kinbasket) in the Columbia River basin are also now nearing completion and these results may play a role in determining future operational scenarios under the Columbia River Treaty. Despite their large footprints, considerable ecological function remains in these regulated systems. The wealth of research that continues to emerge increases our understanding of ecosystem processes within regulated rivers with the potential to mitigate footprint and operational impacts to plants, fish, and wildlife. This 2019 conference, which is a follow-up to the 2015 “Regulated Rivers: Environment, Ecology and Management” conference held in Castlegar, will provide a platform for the dissemination of findings to peers, First Nations, stakeholders, students, and community members from studies that are nearing completion or have been completed since 2015. Through a keynote address, 2 days of presentations, a poster session, networking opportunities, and field-trips, this conference will provide a cutting-edge opportunity for scientists and managers to share results of recent research on regulated river environments, processes, and operations in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere. A conference summary will be available on the CMI website after the event.
PRESENTATION THEMES • Regulated river environments (e.g., impact of flow regime on lotic, riparian, and delta habitat, ecological responses/processes relative to hydro-electric operations) • Measuring and mitigating footprint impacts on plants, fish, and wildlife • Biogeography of plants, fish, and wildlife in regulated river systems • Projected ecological/biological impacts on ecosystem-based function from future operational scenarios • Columbia Water Use Plan (WUP)-related topics and studies • Invasive species • Species at risk • Restoration projects and watershed planning within regulated river systems • Community outreach and grant funding for regulated river systems that apply to research, education, restoration, etc. • First Nations perspectives/knowledge pertaining to regulated rivers • Climate change and how the changes in our watersheds will impact regulated rivers and their management or operation • Optimizing reservoir operations and managing upstream and downstream habitats to improve ecological function of reservoirs and rivers • De-fragmenting rivers (e.g., challenges and solutions to fish passage, entrainment, restoration)
Pre-approved for 7 CECs under SER's CERP program