A review of recent advances in ecohydraulics

Christos Katopodis

Tuesday 30 june 2015

8:30 - 8:45h at Amazon (level 1)

Themes: (T) Hydro-environment, (ST) Ecohydraulics and ecohydrology

Parallel session: 4G Environment - Ecosystem

Recent ecohydraulic advances in both quantitative ecology and hydraulics have enabled the development of effective measures to mitigate or compensate for negative environmental impacts of water resources projects. Determining what drives aquatic species abundance and distribution is a central theme in quantitative ecology, while quantifying species abilities and behaviour is pivotal in biology. Progress and innovation in instrumentation, especially in tracking and observing aquatic life in field and laboratory settings, as well as the more quantitative integration of ecological, biological and detailed hydraulic aspects, have accelerated ecohydraulic advances. The ecohydraulic trinity, dealing with (1) aquatic animal migrations, (2) e-flows (i.e. instream, environmental, or ecological flow regimes), and (3) river restoration, has made important contributions to the engineering and management of many projects around the globe. Notable advances have been made with upstream and downstream movements of biota, especially different species of fish, as well as fish behaviour observations in rivers, fish passage systems or controlled experiments with fish and velocity fields of high definition. Sophisticated e-flow methods based on improved scienti_c understanding have been developed using more complex ecohydrological statistics, morphodynamic and ice related aspects, as well as thermal, hydrodynamic and habitat suitability modeling, for different species and stages of aquatic life. Furthermore, advances in habitat enhancements, rehabilitating or re-naturalizing degraded rivers, or dam removal, have also been made. As a result of scientific advances and developed technical tools, the interdisciplinary science of ecohydraulics, has made considerable strides forward. Ecohydraulics, which integrates physical and ecological aspects, even in its present state, enables water use and management, while meeting conservation objectives for ecosystem health, biological diversity, sustainable populations and recovery of aquatic species at risk. With further research, particularly on increasingly quantitative ecological and biological aspects, including large-scale field experiments and climate change outlooks, ecohydraulics is emerging with new paradigms to meet the growing water management and aquatic conservation challenges.