Title

Sharing a River to Save It – an Experimental Course in “Wicked Problem-Solving”

Item Type

Poster

Location

Elaine Langone Center, Terrace Room

Start Date

13-11-2015 8:00 PM

End Date

13-11-2015 9:59 PM

Description

What happens when a large dam is breached? Historically, eastern rivers were seasonally inundated with millions of fish, migrating upstream to spawn in an amazing display of fecundity. Dams provide power but block these fish migrations. Last year only 8 American shad made it past the dams on the lower Susquehanna to the spawning grounds upriver (the target was 1,000,000). As we seek “clean” sources of power, viable drinking water supplies, surface water for industry, recreational amenities, sustainable food supplies and healthy ecological systems, how might we obtain a better balance among competing and sometimes conflicting needs and desires? This poster describes a “thought experiment course,” taught simultaneously at two universities. We are trying to re-imagine humans’ use of rivers that could involve “thinking the unthinkable,” and ask whether it would be possible to remove the Conowingo Dam, the lowermost dam on the Susquehanna, for ecological restoration. However, we realize that foregone hydropower will need at least partial replacement. We have begun to discuss the concept of “shared rivers,” whereby if dams are removed, alternative energy installations as well as habitat restorations can be designed in place of the dams. One advantage of putting in alternative energy at these sites is that the transmission infrastructure is already in place. However, serious issues have to be considered beyond power, among them the fact that Conowingo Reservoir is nearly at sediment capacity. Together with students ranging from engineering, to biology, to landscape architecture, to regional planning, we are studying this problem by gathering data, getting expert input, and creating designs for possible scenarios involving slow dam removal, sediment dewatering and stabilization, and alternative energy. The ultimate goal of such a removal would be to restore connectivity of the Susquehanna River watershed with the Chesapeake Bay and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean.

Language

eng

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Nov 13th, 8:00 PM Nov 13th, 9:59 PM

Sharing a River to Save It – an Experimental Course in “Wicked Problem-Solving”

Elaine Langone Center, Terrace Room

What happens when a large dam is breached? Historically, eastern rivers were seasonally inundated with millions of fish, migrating upstream to spawn in an amazing display of fecundity. Dams provide power but block these fish migrations. Last year only 8 American shad made it past the dams on the lower Susquehanna to the spawning grounds upriver (the target was 1,000,000). As we seek “clean” sources of power, viable drinking water supplies, surface water for industry, recreational amenities, sustainable food supplies and healthy ecological systems, how might we obtain a better balance among competing and sometimes conflicting needs and desires? This poster describes a “thought experiment course,” taught simultaneously at two universities. We are trying to re-imagine humans’ use of rivers that could involve “thinking the unthinkable,” and ask whether it would be possible to remove the Conowingo Dam, the lowermost dam on the Susquehanna, for ecological restoration. However, we realize that foregone hydropower will need at least partial replacement. We have begun to discuss the concept of “shared rivers,” whereby if dams are removed, alternative energy installations as well as habitat restorations can be designed in place of the dams. One advantage of putting in alternative energy at these sites is that the transmission infrastructure is already in place. However, serious issues have to be considered beyond power, among them the fact that Conowingo Reservoir is nearly at sediment capacity. Together with students ranging from engineering, to biology, to landscape architecture, to regional planning, we are studying this problem by gathering data, getting expert input, and creating designs for possible scenarios involving slow dam removal, sediment dewatering and stabilization, and alternative energy. The ultimate goal of such a removal would be to restore connectivity of the Susquehanna River watershed with the Chesapeake Bay and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean.