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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 609, Issue 1, pp 59–70 | Cite as

Regulated discharge produces substantial demographic changes on four typical fish species of a small salmonid stream

  • Michaël OvidioEmail author
  • Hervé Capra
  • Jean-Claude Philippart
EIFAC 2006: DAMS, WEIRS AND FISH

Abstract

A hydroelectric power plant (HPP) started operation in December 2002 on the River Lhomme, (mean annual flow: 1.78 ms−1; mean annual water temperature: 9.9°C). The new HPP bypasses the river over a length of 1.2 km. The minimum flow allowed in the bypassed section is currently fixed at 0.220 ms−1. Before the construction of the HPP, two contrasted 150-m-long reaches of the Lhomme were selected to estimate their total fish population abundance and to analyse their fish population dynamics. Electrofishing was carried out in each of these two reaches on 23 April 2002 in a natural flow situation to remove the fish. Other inventories were carried out in late April or early May in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 in minimum flow conditions. The results revealed a prompt and severe decrease in the total fish biomass (up to 81% for grayling from 2002 to 2006) combined with severe changes in the fish community structure that were not observed in a reference site. The effects of the flow reduction varied considerably depending on the size of the individuals, the species concerned and their habitat availability, which was modelled using a classical physical habitat simulation (EVHA method).

Keywords

Minimum flow Fish community Habitat modelling Size composition Biomass Salmonid stream 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This project was financially supported by the Ministry of Walloon Region-DGRNE-Water Division-Unnavigable watercourses (represented by F. Lambot and P. Orban) and by a bilateral collaboration project (Tournesol project) between the University of Liège (financed by the CGRI) and the Cemagef of Lyon (financed by Direction de la Cooperation Scientifique et Universitaire). The manuscript was mainly written during a post-doctoral research stay of Michaël Ovidio in the Quantitative Hydroecology Laboratory of Lyon, which was financed by the Cemagref (financial support of SREI for reception of foreign researchers). J.C. Philippart is a research associate of the Belgian FNRS. The authors wish to thank Yvan Neus, Gilles Rimbaud (ULg) and Pascal Roger (Cemagref) for field habitat measures as well as the Walloon Fisheries Service and the Ministry of Walloon Region-Water Division for electric fishing surveys. We also thank the HPP owners and M. Champagne (local organisation of fishermen) for their kind collaboration. Anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. and FAO 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michaël Ovidio
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hervé Capra
    • 2
  • Jean-Claude Philippart
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology of Behaviour Unit, Laboratory of Fish Demography and HydroecologyUniversity of LiègeTihangeBelgium
  2. 2.Biologie des Ecosystemes AquatiquesCemagref of LyonLyonFrance

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