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SFS Annual Meeting

Thursday, May 24, 2018
09:00 - 10:30

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09:00 - 09:15: / 430 B DAMS LARGE AND SMALL: ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS ON THE WORLD’S TROPICAL RIVER SYSTEMS

5/24/2018  |   09:00 - 09:15   |  430 B

DAMS LARGE AND SMALL: ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS ON THE WORLD’S TROPICAL RIVER SYSTEMS While in the US and Europe we increasingly contemplate removing our aging dams, the construction of new dams throughout the tropics and subtropics has increased greatly in the past decade, a trend that is expected to grow. These include mega-projects such as Brazil’s Belo Monte dam but also numerous medium sized and smaller dams, many representing the first impoundments of free-flowing river systems. I provide an overview of the trends and issues associated with dams on tropical rivers, some of which are unique to lowland floodplain rivers in tropical climates. Rather than focus further on the well known impacts of large dams, I will also discuss the burgeoning development of small hydropower facilities on lower order streams. This talk introduces a session about how research can contribute to better decision-making about when and where to build dams in the Amazon and other tropical river systems.

Stephen Hamilton (Primary Presenter/Author), Michigan State University, hamilton@kbs.msu.edu;


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09:15 - 09:30: / 430 B MAKING THE CASE FOR CONSERVATION OF FREE-FLOWING RIVERS IN THE ANDEAN AMAZON

5/24/2018  |   09:15 - 09:30   |  430 B

MAKING THE CASE FOR CONSERVATION OF FREE-FLOWING RIVERS IN THE ANDEAN AMAZON Andes-to-Amazon river connectivity is critical to numerous natural and human systems across the greater Amazon. Andean rivers contribute massive quantities of sediments to Amazonian lowlands, thereby controlling river meandering and floodplain dynamics far downstream. An estimated 671 freshwater fishes inhabit Andean Amazon rivers >500 meters, and numerous fish species migrate between Amazonian lowlands and the Andes. River connectivity also influences cultural traditions, indigenous cosmologies, and rhythms of life for the >30 million people that inhabit the Amazon Basin. Recent studies documented 142 dams existing or under construction and 160 proposed dams for the Andean Amazon. Existing dams have fragmented tributary networks of all Andean Amazon river basins, except for the Caquetá (Colombia) and Putumayo (Colombia/Peru) Basins. However, under the current scenario of existing dams, the mainstems of all major Andean Amazon river basins remain largely un-fragmented by dams. Here, we make the case for conservation of free-flowing rivers in the Andean Amazon, especially in light of potential hydropower expansion. We examine specific examples of how natural and human systems depend on river connectivity and highlight recent experiences (Colombia, Costa Rica) to recognize rivers as important conservation objects.

Elizabeth P Anderson (Primary Presenter/Author), Florida International University, epanders@fiu.edu;


Clinton Jenkins (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), IPE - Instituto de Pesquisas Ecologicas, clinton.jenkins@gmail.com;


Sebastian Heilpern (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Columbia University, s.heilpern@columbia.edu;


Javier Maldonado-Ocampo (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, gymnopez@gmail.com;


Aldo Farah (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Florida International University, farahaldo@gmail.com;


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09:30 - 09:45: / 430 B POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF NEW ANDEAN DAMS ON SEDIMENT AND NUTRIENT SUPPLIES OF THE AMAZON RIVER

5/24/2018  |   09:30 - 09:45   |  430 B

POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF NEW ANDEAN DAMS ON SEDIMENT AND NUTRIENT SUPPLIES OF THE AMAZON RIVER Increased energy demand has led to plans for building many new dams in the Western Amazon, mostly in the Andean region. Historical data and mechanistic scenarios were used to examine the potential impacts of six of the largest dams planned for the region on downstream sediment and nutrient supplies. Together, these six dams are predicted to reduce the supply of sediments, phosphorus and nitrogen from the Andean region by 69, 67 and 57% and from the entire Amazon basin by 64, 51 and 23%, respectively. The effects of these changes will be greatest near the dams, but are expected to extend to the lowland floodplain and delta regions. The large reduction in sediment supply will have major impacts on channel geomorphology, increasing channel depth and reducing channel migration and material exchange with the floodplains. It could also contribute to the submersion of the Amazon Delta. The decline in nutrient supplies is expected to significantly reduce floodplain fertility, causing declines in both agricultural and aquatic productivity, and also reduce the final export of nutrients to the ocean, resulting in a decline in coastal productivity.

Bruce Forsberg (Primary Presenter/Author), National Institute of Amazon Research, Manaus, AM, Brazil, brforsberg@gmail.com;


John Melack (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA, melack@lifesci.ucsb.edu;


Thomas Dunne (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA, tdunne@bren.ucsb.edu;


Alexander Flecker (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA, asf3@cornell.edu;


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09:45 - 10:00: / 430 B THE CHANGING ECOHYDROLOGY OF A DAMMED AMAZON BASIN

5/24/2018  |   09:45 - 10:00   |  430 B

THE CHANGING ECOHYDROLOGY OF A DAMMED AMAZON BASIN Developing countries around the world are expanding hydropower to meet growing energy demand. In the Brazilian Amazon, >200 dams are planned over the next 30 years, and questions about the impacts of current and future hydropower in this globally important watershed remain unanswered. In this context, we applied a hydrologic indicator method to quantify how existing Amazon dams have altered the natural flow regime and to identify predictors of alteration. The type and magnitude of hydrologic alteration varied widely by dam, but the largest changes were to critical characteristics of the flood pulse. Impacts were largest for low-elevation, large-reservoir dams, however small dams had enormous impacts relative to electricity production. The "cumulative" effect of multiple dams was significant for some aspects of the flow regime. This analysis is a first step toward the development of environmental flows plans and policies relevant to the Amazon and other mega-diverse river basins.

David Kaplan (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Florida, dkaplan@ufl.edu;


Kelsie Timpe (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Florida, katimpe@gmail.com;


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10:00 - 10:15: / 430 B GREENHOUSE-GAS EMISSIONS OF AMAZON HYDROPOWER

5/24/2018  |   10:00 - 10:15   |  430 B

GREENHOUSE-GAS EMISSIONS OF AMAZON HYDROPOWER Greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions from reservoirs account for ~ 2% of the global anthropogenic CO2-equivalent GHG emissions. Despite common perceptions that hydropower is cleaner than fossil fuels as a source of electricity, evidence indicates that the GHG emissions from some existing Amazonian hydropower reservoirs exceed those of thermal power plants of equivalent power generation, due particularly to methane emission. Nevertheless, reservoir emissions continue to be overlooked in the environmental licensing process for hydropower facilities in South America, and this is of particular concern considering that over 180 large dams are planned for construction throughout the Amazon basin. In this talk we discuss how we can predict GHG emissions from Amazonian reservoirs, and we identify proposed hydropower facilities that may be particularly high in GHG emissions compared to conventional thermoelectric sources.

Rafael Almeida (Primary Presenter/Author), Cornell University, rafaelmarquesjf@yahoo.com.br;


Alexander Flecker (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA, asf3@cornell.edu;


Bruce Forsberg (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), National Institute of Amazon Research, Manaus, AM, Brazil, brforsberg@gmail.com;


Roosevelt García-Villacorta (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Cornell University, roosevelt.garcia@gmail.com;


Stephen Hamilton (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Michigan State University, hamilton@kbs.msu.edu;


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