Environmental Management

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 249–263 | Cite as

Effects of Dam Removal on Fish Community Interactions and Stability in the Eightmile River System, Connecticut, USA

Article

Abstract

New multivariate time-series methods have the potential to provide important insights into the effects of ecosystem restoration activities. To this end, we examined the temporal effects of dam removal on fish community interactions using multivariate autoregressive models to understand changes in fish community structure in the Eightmile River System, Connecticut, USA. We sampled fish for 6 years during the growing season; 1 year prior to, 2 years during, and for 3 years after a small dam removal event. The multivariate autoregressive analysis revealed that the site above the dam was the most reactive and least resilient sample site, followed in order by the below-dam and nearby reference site. Even 3 years after the dam removal event, the stream was still in a recovery stage that had failed to approximate the community structure of the reference site. This suggests that the reorganization of fish communities following dam removals, with the goal of ecological restoration, may take decades to centuries for the restored sites to approximate the community structure of nearby undisturbed sites. Results from this study also highlight the utility of multivariate autoregressive modeling for examining temporal interactions among species in response to adaptive management activities both in aquatic systems and elsewhere.

Keywords

Dam removal Ecological restoration Fish conservation Multivariate autoregressive models Adaptive management 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of the EnvironmentWesleyan UniversityMiddletownUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Biology and Earth and Environmental StudiesWesleyan UniversityMiddletownUSA

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