Ecohydrology tools to manage coastal ecosystems impacted by dams - 中欧社会论坛 - China Europa Forum

Ecohydrology tools to manage coastal ecosystems impacted by dams

Authors: , Alexandra Chícharo, Radhouan Ben-Hamadou, Pedro Range Luis Chícharo

Estuaries are threatened by a long series of anthropogenic activities. As a consequence, the carrying capacity of coastal ecosystems is exceeded and this has commonly led to a serious environmental degradation of estuaries and coastal waters worldwide. Modification in the freshwater discharge caused by dams and reservoirs, is one of the most influent factors affecting the dynamic functioning of estuaries and coastal ecosystems. In fact, today the more than 45,000 large dams (more than 15 meters high) are responsible for retaining more than 25 % of the world rivers discharge before reaching the ocean, with obvious consequences to estuarine and coastal ecosystems functioning.

At the Guadiana estuary, in south Portugal, significant changes were observed in the productivity, biodiversity and nursery functions of the estuarine ecosystem after the construction of the large Alqueva dam. These changes also affected the coastal zone ecosystem, as reflected by changes in fishes and bivalves assemblages and related coastal fisheries landings.

In this work we present a series of ecohydrology based tools for the integrated management of dams, considering the downstream ecological requirements of estuaries and coastal waters, that allows to control eutrophication symptoms, toxic algae blooms development, alien species spreading and simultaneously sustain estuarine nursery functions and coastal fisheries.

Luis Chícharo*, Alexandra Chícharo, Radhouan Ben-Hamadou, Pedro Range

International Centre for Coastal Ecohydrology/University of Algarve, Portugal

Campus de Gambelas

(005-327 Gambelas-Faro; Portugal

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