Impact of Run-of-river Hydro-schemes upon Fish Populations

The main aim of the project was to collect information from high-head run-of-the-river hydroscheme at Scottish sites to asess the effectiveness of current mitigation measures designed to protect fish populations.

Run-of-the-river hydroschemes in the UK can be separated into two main groups: high-head and low-head.

Low-head schemes operate over a relatively short vertical drop, and therefore usually require large volumes of water to provide sufficient potential energy for power generation.

High-head schemes require less water due to the greater vertical difference between the intake and outfall locations.

These are generally built on tributaries and have a greater distance between the intake and outfall. They therefore usually involve abstracting water from a substantial length of stream.

The project collected information from high-head run-of-the-river hydroscheme at Scottish sites to enable the effectiveness of current mitigation measures designed to protect fish populations to be assessed.

This will contribute to the improved regulation of appropriate hydropower development, and will help to ensure that mitigation measures are proportionate and effective.

The intention of the project was to:

  • assess the effectiveness of current mitigation measures to protect fish populations;
  • assess the effectiveness of pre-development monitoring as a means of providing a baseline against which to measure impacts upon fish populations;
  • development a risk-based post-development monitoring protocol which would allow UK environment agencies to direct its monitoring resources upon those sites where there is the greatest risk of environmental harm; and
  • compare UK environmental agencies’ hydro scheme application protocols and polices to help assure a more consistent approach.

Phase 1 – Desk Based Study

  • Literature Review, UK regulatory/policy comparison, and mitigation measure recommendations

Phase 2: High Head Hydro Power Scheme Sampling in Scotland

  • Final report describing the analysis of the whole dataset, assessing the level of success of existing mitigation measures and suggesting future data requirements for new hydroscheme proposals.
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