Recommendations for monitoring freshwater fishes in river restoration plans: a wasted opportunity for assessing impact

Autores: Angulo-Rodeles, A.; Galicia Paredes, David; Miranda Ferreiro, Rafael
ISSN: 1052-7613
Volumen: 27
Número: 4
Páginas: 880 - 885
Fecha de publicación: 2017
Lugar: WOS
1. Many human activities in and on rivers cause the loss of freshwater biodiversity, especially fish, which now are one of the most endangered vertebrate groups. River fragmentation caused by the construction of dams is one of the main threats to fish species. In Spain, which has the highest number of dams per square kilometre in the world, more than half of all fish species are threatened by these constructions. The government has initiated the National Strategy for River Restoration, a plan to restore rivers and preserve their inhabitants, which includes the removal of dams. 2. An information search and query was conducted to determine if fish monitoring was performed before and after dam removal, and the result was negative. Therefore, an assessment of the effects of dam removal on fish communities at a large spatial scale was not possible. Instead, an analysis was carried out to measure the effects of dam removal on river connectivity using a geometric network. 3. The analysis of river connectivity improvement showed that 66% of removed dams had one or more dams less than 5km away. The removal of dams increased the connected river length by an average of 6.4km per dam removed, with the range varying between 1.04km and 9.48km, depending on the river basin. 4. These results show that, although monitoring programmes are strongly recommended after restoration actions, they are not usually performed. This is a wasted opportunity to gather large datasets to understand better the effects of human actions on fish communities and on rivers. 5. River connectivity results may reflect a demolition strategy based more on economic and social opportunism rather than on ecological considerations. It is strongly recommended that dam removal plans should be based on ecological selection methods to achieve greater river improvements with less investment.