Sediment deficit in rivers caused by dams and instream gravel mining. Are view with examples from NE Spain
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Rivers carry sediment almost continuously from headwaters to deposition zones. Dams and gravel mining interrupt such continuity, causing severe damages to downstream fluvial and coastline ecosystems. Sediment deficit is not only an environmental issue, but also a socio-economic problem. Sediment captured by reservoirs reduces their capacity to store water, and infrastructures in rivers and beaches are also strongly affected by lack of sediment. Sediment deficit and its effects are illustrated in this report with examples from NE Spain, focusing on the Ebro River and rivers in the Catalan Coastal Ranges and Eastern Pyrenees. Over the long-term, sound programmes must be definitively implemented to monitor sediment transfer in river systems and changes over time. But, in the meantime, short-term correction steps should be undertaken, including a) for gravel mining, prohibition in strongly unbalanced rivers, especially in reaches downstream of dams, adding of environmental costs into the price of product (aggregate), and exploring alternative sources of aggregate (concrete recycling, reservoir deposits), and b) for regulated rivers, sediment-pass through in reservoirs only during high flows, and mechanical removal from reservoirs together with flushing flows for artificial sediment nourishment downstream, to prevent (or restore) lost of fish habitat and delta regression.
Is part ofCuaternario y Geomorfología, 2003, vol. 17, núm. 2, p. 79-91
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as cc-by-nc-sa (c) Asociación Española para el Estudio del Cuaternario y la Sociedad Española de Geomorfología, 2003
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