Coupling Ecological, Economic, and Engineering (E3) Studies to Formulate Guidelines for Dam Removal and River Restoration in Great Lakes Watersheds
This team produced general guidelines for river restoration and dam removal projects, as well as a toolbox of public domain software to assess the physical, ecological and economic impacts of prospective removal options. The team also created an interactive website to provide access to the guidelines, tools, automated dam removal application forms, and links to technical sites and funding sources. The project team developed a conceptual model that estimates non-market benefits of a dam removal, and they applied it to the Ballville High Head Dam (Ohio) and Fort Covington Dam (New York). The team also monitored and collected data on the St. John’s Dam on the Sandusky River (OH) before its 2003 removal, as well as on the removed Coho Dam and the breached Sturgeon River Dam. In addition, the team developed and tested a new remote sensing method to simultaneously collect field data on channel morphology and flow. The team also applied knowledge gained from pilot dam removal sites to other sites in the basin by hosting a dam removal workshop at The Ohio State University in 2004. This work could advance the design and approval of dam removal projects in the basin, re-establish more natural flow regimes, increase fish passage and reconnect spawning grounds.